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New Information About Job Market; Fair Pay for CEOs?; Discussing MBA Programs in Wisconsin

Aired September 6, 2009 - 15:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CO-HOST: Bouncing back from the brink, the U.S. economy struggling to rebuild, but where are the jobs? Bank CEOs seem to be doing more than OK. Wait until you see their paychecks. Didn't we just bail these guys out? And why you might not see your favorite football team on TV this year. Get ready, time to talk to your money.

Hello everyone and welcome to a very busy Labor Day edition of "Your Money." I'm Christine Romans. Ali Velshi will be joining us in just a minute. He is in on the CNN Express, stopped now in Madison, Wisconsin on his cross-country tour, listening to Americans about your stories about how the economy is affecting your money.

For most of us, our personal economy starts with our job. New information about the shrinking American labor market. The jobless rate jumped to 9.7 percent in August, the highest unemployment rate in 26 years. But the pace of layoffs is slowing, down from the dark days last winter. In August, 216,000 more jobs shed, the fewest number of job losses in a year.

Little relief, though, in the hardest hit sectors. More than 120,000 jobs shed from manufacturing and construction. Financial services trimming jobs as well. But look here, 28,000 positions were created in health care. That trend continues.

Lakshman Achuthan is managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute and Rutgers professor Bill Rodgers is the former chief economist for the Department of Labor. Gentlemen, first off, 10 seconds, each of you, one, it's bad but getting better?

LAKSHMAN ACHUTHAN, ECONOMIC CYCLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Absolutely and that means a lot. We were losing 750,000 jobs at the beginning of the year. Now we're losing on the order of 250,000 jobs. If that trend continues, you will see jobs growth in the U.S. economy this year outside of the manufacturing sector. That's the recovery.

ROMANS: Still hurts but it's getting better?

BILL RODGERS, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: Sure. This was a report that culminated the weekend -- or the week with less bad news. The economy is edging towards a recovery.

ROMANS: All right. So Lakshman, tell me, what do we do from here now? What is the economy telling us because we have a 9.7 percent unemployment rate. That really hurts. We have 25 to 30 million people who are ready, willing and able to be working a full-time job and they aren't. Think of how many people that is. That's a population of Illinois, New Jersey, South Carolina, Iowa, all wrapped into one.

ACHUTHAN: It hurts and first, a couple of things. Rising unemployment rates into recoveries are not unusual. The last two recoveries saw that trend. This one will be no different.

Also remember, it is indeed darkest before dawn. And when you're at the bottom of a business cycle at the end of a recession, this is the worst part. This is why it feels the worst. And even when the dawn comes, it's still really, really cold but because you know the sun is about to come out, you can handle it and I'm telling you, the forward-looking leading indicators are pointing to recovery and jobs growth for the non-manufacturing sector this year.

ROMANS: And you have been telling us all summer that the whole thing is ending this summer, this recession is ending this summer. And you're on the record with that. I want to talk about job growth, Bill. Shrinking the unemployment rate down by demographic. Walk us through this. You call it the he-cession, the man-cession. You can see for adult men, 10.1 percent. Adult women, 7.6 percent, where we've seen job creation has been in health care and education, typically lower paid jobs predominantly or at least more than half women in those fields.

RODGERS: That's right. Two months ago, the unemployment rate for adult men did hit 10 percent. Last month it fell back down but this month it did jump back up to over 10 percent. And there is a psychological barrier around that 10 percent rate. When you look at the unemployment rates by race and ethnicity, African-Americans, their unemployment rates stayed really stationary over this period but as we have talked about in previous conversations, there is that two to one persistent ratio that's being maintained there.

One thing that is important to look at about the unemployment rate's rise to 9.7 percent this month is it gets back to your point about that this is again, a part of the dynamics and what we did see was that layoffs, it was largely due to layoffs but also to new entrants, people who were out of the labor force in the last few months, new high school graduates, college graduates who have been trying to enter.

And if you look at the other demographic by education, again, it continues, so education really is your best hedge against job loss. That the increases within education were amongst high school graduates, high school dropouts and also people with some college.

ROMANS: Wrap it up for us before we go to Ali. Just give us your last take on the labor market here.

ACHUTHAN: Well, look, you have one-tenth of Americans out of work, 10 percent approaching unemployment rate. If you look for people who are underemployed, it almost goes to one-sixth of Americans who are under employed. That is nasty. That is because we have just lived through the worst recession since the Great Depression. However, that is not a trend that is going to continue indefinitely. The leading indicators which are the way to forecast what's the future direction --

ROMANS: This is what you do for a living. This is what you do for a living.

ACHUTHAN: I am telling you --

RODGERS: You have to be careful that one-tenth of those in the labor force are out of a job.

ACHUTHAN: And one-sixth are underemployed, a broader definition.

ROMANS: We have to leave it here. Lakshman Achuthan, Bill Rodgers, thanks. You're both sticking around. Thanks guys.

Ali Velshi is on the CNN Express, which has pulled over -- he wasn't pulled over, they have pulled over at the University of Wisconsin. Have you been pulled over yet, Ali? I hope not.

ALI VELSHI, CNN COHOST: I have not and the bus has not been pulled over.

ROMANS: Drive the speed limit, my friend. You know, one of the reasons the jobless rate --

VELSHI: Let me tell you something, though. You see the bus behind me, right?

ROMANS: I see it.

VELSHI: That's 13'6". We were in Chicago the other day. You know that. And we couldn't get under some of the overpasses, I guess they were built in the 1800s and there wasn't really anything that was 13'6" back then. So we did have the assistance of some law enforcement there in reversing the bus. Our captain of the bus, Dale, managed to steer it around. But that was the only interaction we've had with law enforcement on this trip. There has been no sirens and no pulling us over.

ROMANS: With a hair cut like yours, right, if they kept going under there too closely.

VELSHI: That's right.

ROMANS: All right, take it away, Ali.

VELSHI: All right. Well, listen, you have been to Madison. This is a remarkable, remarkable town with a great university, University of Wisconsin Madison. I am spending much more time in the Midwest than you are, even though this is your native land.

But listen, we stopped here, it's a little different from what we've been doing on our town hall meetings. We decided to talk to some students. We have been in farming towns, in industrial towns, in larger centers. We haven't done a college town so we came onto this campus and we talked with some students. I've got with me Blair Sanford, she's the assistant dean of the MBA program here. And she also oversees career services. Now Christine, earlier this week we discussed one issue and that is women are going to be forming more than half the labor force within the next few months but there's still this disparity in pay between men and women, often for the same work.

Interesting, you're saying that when your MBA graduates are placed in jobs, you don't see that disparity.

BLAIR SANFORD, ASST DEAN, MBA PROGRAM: We have seen no, no disparity at all. Our men and women are going out into the same industries, same functions, receiving the same base salaries, same sign-on bonuses.

VELSHI: But there are some industries even within the world of business that men gravitate to or where they employ men and others that employ women more primarily and there is a disparity in those industry choices.

SANFORD: You will see the difference there. We have definitely more men going into the financial fields, heading to Wall Street, going to the East Coast. And you will see higher salaries on that end. More women are going into consumer package goods companies, education, government, positions like that. And that's where there is some disparity. So if you looked by industry.

VELSHI: We were talking to a number of the students earlier and something that came up was the ability to get internships, a lot of competition for internships. You're saying that the way companies recruit your graduates has changed, has evolved over the last few years. Tell me a little bit about that.

SANFORD: Strategies and budgets have changed tremendously in the past year or two. And we've seen a high conversion of interns into the full-time placement market right now. It's good for us because we had 99 percent internship placement this past summer. We have always achieved high placement there. But we are definitely seeing less on campus recruitment for full-time positions. I'm saying that, and we have a number of people who have already booked for spring internship recruitment.

VELSHI: So would you say that translates into non-business students as well, if you can get job experience, you can get internships in this environment, a good thing to be doing?

SANFORD: Absolutely. You know, employers are treating an internship as a three-month interview.

VELSHI: Right.

SANFORD: They really are wanting to see the skill set of students, they're wanting to see their passion for the industry area. We have also benefited from the fact that in our MBA program, we have an average of five years work experience.

VELSHI: Right.

SANFORD: So our MBAs are going out not just learning what they're doing but actually adding a lot of value during the summer.

VELSHI: We're going to come back and we're going to talk to some of those MBA students. We are also going to talk about how a curriculum at a business school has changed, given as Lakshman described, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Christine?

ROMANS: Ali Velshi in Wisconsin, we'll talk to you again very soon. All right, next, are you an optimist or pessimist? Why expecting the worst could actually pay off on the job.


ROMANS: All right, welcome back to "Your Money." Time now for "The Ticker" where every week we take you through all of the important headlines with a couple of our good friends. Ali Velshi is at the University of Wisconsin traveling on the CNN Express. Bill Rodgers is a professor at Rutgers University, he's also the former chief economist for the Department of Labor in the Clinton years. My friend Bill Tucker is a correspondent with "Lou Dobbs Tonight."

Gentlemen, for here on out, you will be Tucker and you will be Rodgers. No more Bills. We will all get confused. Let's start, I want to start here at the top here. The average salary for CEOs from the 20 bailed out banks, 436 times the typical American worker last year. The Institute for Policy Studies looked at CEOs from 20 banks that received the most federal aid and found they made 37% more than their counterparts in S&P 500 companies.

With stock prices on the rise, stock options could cause compensation to soar even more in 2009. Bill Tucker, fair or unfair?

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's totally unfair. What's the message here? The industry that needed the biggest bailouts, they got the bailouts, they performed the worst, get the best pay and are going to recover the fastest? I don't even see where there's equity in that.

ROMANS: I don't see how anything has changed. To me, what this says is nothing has changed. These are not just banks. These are the 20 biggest bailed out banks. Their CEOs paid on average $13.8 million. That's a lot of money.

RODGERS: But this is something symptomatic to a lot of our public policies. Lot of public outrage, comes and goes, and then there's a little hand waving, some reform. We move on.


ROMANS: But I think, but the economist in me really feels we live in a world of the economy, capitalism, and so you have to reward that initiative. However, though, if you're getting money from the federal government such as a federal contract, where you have to provide some information back, you need to either pay it back but also, you probably have to provide some kind of additional sweetener for the cause and the pain that you created.

ROMANS: Velshi, how does it play in Wisconsin?

VELSHI: You know, I've got to tell you, one of the consistent themes that I have been getting across the country is a lack of trust both in what government is doing in terms of pay and making corporate America behave properly, and obviously, a lack of trust in what corporate America has done.

So you know, the problem is when you make that much money, when you make a range that is hundreds of times what the average American makes, whether you do a good job or a bad job, the incentive to make sure you don't do a bad job is just not there, because the CEO of a major bank or corporation that is going to make more money in one year than most of us will ever make in our lifetimes, you know what, if you have a bad year, so what. You've still made more money than anyone is ever going to make around you.

So I just think it's unfair. I agree with Bill, there's no economist in me, but I agree we do work in a market dominated economy. There should be fairness, but it just doesn't seem that we are rewarding people for the right things right now.

ROMANS: You can't say I agree with Bill because I have two Bills here, Ali. You have to be more specific. Let's move along. I actually have more than two Bills. I've got purse full of bills right below me too.

Economists have called the end of the recession, but when will you feel it? A study from the -- is it called the Heldrich Center?

RODGERS: Heldrich Center.

ROMANS: Heldrich Center at Rutgers where Bill Rodgers is a professor, finds that more than half of respondents feel depressed or have borrowed money from friends or relatives. One in four are skipping their rent or mortgage payments. This jives with the CNN/Opinion Research poll that shows nine out of 10 Americans believe we are still in some form of recession. Bill Rodgers, let me start with you. Well they keep telling us that maybe we're nearing the end of the recession, but it sounds like the American people aren't feeling it.

RODGERS: Well, this is something, there's the two economies. There's the Main Street economy and the Wall Street economy. And what my colleagues picked up here is they have interviewed, over the last -- people have been unemployed for the last 12 months, 40 percent of them don't have unemployment insurance so these are individuals who are really, really having difficulty.

ROMANS: And you think we haven't seen the peak of that, by the way? You think that we are going to see even more people needing to get -- RODGERS: Yes, that's right. There are several estimates out there, I believe by the National Employment Law Project where they estimate like this month, half a million Americans are going to come up to the end of the exhausting of their unemployment insurance benefits and these aren't even just the regular program. This is the extended, the emergency programs. And then by year's end, you're looking at about a million and a half.

TUCKER: And what we're really looking at here Bill and Christine and Ali is we're looking at more than 30 million people in this economy who don't have work or who are working --

ROMANS: Ready, willing and able to work full-time but they aren't.

TUCKER: So it's probably a good sign that they're feeling kind of depressed. Those are not normal economic numbers. You should probably feel depressed. As a matter of fact, and pessimistic.

RODGERS: But several points here --

VELSHI: May I --

RODGERS: One is that yes, I think people are definitely feeling depressed and that's very real but society has changed. It is much more I don't want to say fashionable but I see it amongst my students. I'm taking my meds, I missed my meds, and so people talk about it much more and are willing to express themselves.

ROMANS: What do you think, Ali?

VELSHI: Let me tell you one thing and I'm going to disagree with Bill, either one.

One of the things that I have been finding across the United States is as much as people are very clear, you know, a year ago there was still discussion about whether there's a recession or not. Nobody's got any doubt about whether there's a recession.

But boy, when you push Americans into a corner, they really do become very adaptable. They really do change. So we are now in a mode where everybody gets it, and they are doing what they have to do, whether it's living a life of new frugality or as I saw in Missouri, a rural lifestyle where people are growing more things and canning their food or a caveman mentality, as some people call it. There is a lot of coping going on that may not be reflected in the studies.

I'm sure that the idea of depression because of this economy is real, but the reality is, it is pushing people further than they thought they could be pushed and they are responding in some cases quite positively. They're realizing they've got to make a future for themselves and I think you're going to see a lot of Americans re- inventing themselves.

ROMANS: All right, I think that's a really good point. And I think we are already starting to see it in a lot of numbers, in things people are buying and things they're doing with their money.

Another story we want to get to amid all this doom and gloom, a story in "Business Week" making the case for pessimism, making the case for pessimism. It cites studies that found that those people who go around preparing for the worst often produce better results. In the wake of the bubble bursting, do we agree that irrational optimism takes a back seat to constant worrying? So think of it, if you're in your office and you're not the Pollyanna, you're like wow, you know what, they're going to be laying people off, they're not -- they're buying less coffee for the coffee machine, you kind of can tell what's happening.

TUCKER: Anecdotally, Ali just confirmed all of that because he's out there with people who are going and seeing this and going OK, well I've got to grow my own vegetables, I've got to do whatever's necessary. I got to do the things that I need to do to get by. And then just on a practical basis, Christine, the people we knew who were pessimists a couple of years ago --

ROMANS: They were right.

TUCKER: They were right. They got out of stocks.

ROMANS: This is good news for all the nervous wrecks in the world. Right, Bill Rodgers, it's bullish to be a nervous wreck.

RODGERS: It causes you to question, right? It causes you to ponder and to also hedge for failure or for the downside. On one level, I kind of feel like there's a bunch of economists who were probably interviewed for that from day one, we are really taught question that assumption. Come to an economic seminar sometime and you'll see.

ROMANS: Never ask an economist what keeps you awake at night, you'll have a whole day of talking about what keeps an economist awake at night. So Ali, what do you think? This is the rise of the nervous wrecks.

VELSHI: There's a lot of trust to be rebuilt, whether it's in government or corporations. People are realizing they can trust themselves. I even have some people telling me the media is to blame for the whole thing. So the bottom line is I think what we're learning is people are learning to trust, who they trust, and they trust themselves.

ROMANS: All right, Ali Velshi, the Bills, Ali Velshi between the Bills, thanks. Bill Rodgers, Bill Tucker, thanks, everybody.

Millions of American manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to China, to Mexico, to lots of other countries, anywhere the labor rates are cheaper, but get this. We found a company bringing those jobs back to the U.S. Meet the man who is doing it and find out where those jobs are.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROMANS: All right. American jobs are disappearing, many of them to China, 2.3 million jobs were outsourced to China between 2001 and 2007. Most of them, in manufacturing. It may be the exception to the rule, but we found some jobs coming back. You may not have heard of Farouk Shami, but chances are, you know his products. He's the founder and CEO of Farouk Systems, a billion-dollar manufacturing company that produces a popular line of hair irons. And he's moving all his production from China back to Houston. He's with us right now. Welcome to the program.

Why do you want to make these hair irons as they're called, these flat irons, as I call them, here in Houston? How many people you going to be hiring?

FAROUK SHAMI, CEO, FAROUK SYSTEM: We are going to be hiring over 1,200 people. My brand name, is the Chi, is the number one Chi. And let me start by saying, I'm privileged to be American, to live in the United States of America, and live in the American dream. With privileges come responsibility and responsibility to defend United States of America and to stand to our responsibility as manufacturer and business people.

Let's think about it. We are in the recession. Why are we in a recession? Because we are exporting our money and we are exporting our jobs to the orient, to China and different countries. It's time to get responsible. It's time to be true American. It's time to manufacture in America and it's time to buy American-made products.

ROMANS: But this is -- sounds like good patriotic loyalty but also this is going to make good business sense for you, right? You're talking about your production lines in China, you say you were starting to lose control of some of the oversight and the management and the control of that line, to counterfeiting and to other things.

You think that you might have to raise prices or it will cost you a little bit more to make them in the United States but you will more than make that up for the error rate and other things happening in the Chinese manufacturing?

SHAMI: Well, you know, Americans, we are known for technology and advanced technology. So what we did, we did automation, we upgraded the manufacturing facility and we are not paying more in America than what we were paying in China, absolutely. This is a myth that cheap labor is the answer. Cheap labor is not. Advanced technology, automation, this is the answer. We are paying $8, they pay $0.50 there, but we have better American sales employees here. You know, employees are more loyal, hard-working people and we are very successful, you know.

Look at the counterfeit that we are faced with, the bad quality, the shipping, the duties, all of that. If you take that into account, we can match the prices made in China and we are set in the prices. We have not raised the price of the Chi iron or the Chi drier. We advanced the technology and we are very proud of what we do and hope all American manufacturers will follow what we are doing in Houston, Texas. ROMANS: I'll tell you that a lot of the concern is that as the economy starts to recover, the first place that some companies will try to add labor is not in this country but it is somewhere else. You write on the box that says "Made in the USA." Do you think that this is going to be a marketing tool for you? Do you think that people will pay a little more or will seek out, maybe, a made in the USA product?

SHAMI: Absolutely. I think Americans love America and they actually, also overseas, you know, I do business in 106 countries. People love American products. And they believe in the quality of American products, and they believe in American lifestyle. They want our products. They don't want Chinese product. It's our fault as Americans that we exported or jobs.

So really, get back to making in America and let's build the economy together. And we can resolve many issues that we are faced with from health care, education, you know, all of that. Really, what we need is more jobs. That's what really every American is looking to build the economy. That's what everybody's talking about. What can we do without money? What can we do without manufacturing? What made America the greatest? Manufacturing. What is making China greater than us? Manufacturing.

ROMANS: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. We love your enthusiasm.

SHAMI: They are getting the jobs, we are losing the jobs and we go back and borrow the money from China.

ROMANS: We love your enthusiasm for the subject on a Labor Day weekend, no less. We love the enthusiasm for a subject and clearly you're very passionate about this. You referred to yourself as the richest hairdresser in history. We're very pleased to have the richest hairdresser in history joining us on the program. Thank you so much, Farouk Shami, founder and CEO of Farouk Systems. This is why we're talking about hair irons today on the program, OK?

Why the IRS might soon be looking very closely at your mortgage statements and what they're looking for. That's next.


ROMANS: So many money stories, we need another ticker. Ali Velshi is traveling with the CNN Express parked at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Bill Tucker is a correspondent with "Lou Dobbs Tonight" and we welcome in Don Peebles, a real estate developer and CEO of the Peebles Corporation.

Gentlemen, the IRS is looking to combat tax evasion by sifting through mortgage interest data to catch people underreporting their income. The government report says the IRS is potentially losing out on $1.4 billion in missing the discrepancies. Contractors, roofers, small business owners with big mortgage payments but very small income, this might not be good for you. This is the IRS using mortgage interest data to find tax cheats. A good idea? DON PEEBLES, CEO, THE PEEBLES CORPORATION: You know, not necessarily. Look, I think obviously our tax system is based upon a voluntary level of reporting. And there needs to be some form of enforcement to keep people honest. But these are strange economic times and many people are borrowing money, they're going into their savings to pay their mortgage payments. It wouldn't be unusual for someone to have no income and be making a mortgage payment and still be allowed to deduct it. So we've got to be careful. We don't want the IRS in everybody's kitchen sitting in there looking over our bills and looking over our shoulder.

ROMANS: Especially in the very high tax areas, Bill Tucker, where you live. I mean, you can make a case that there would be a reason why you would be paying high mortgage interest but you could have a low income, but they did this audit from the year 2005 and they found all kinds of people who are paying $20,000 a year plus in mortgage interest, reporting like $8,000 in income. It just doesn't add up.

TUCKER: Does my face look red, Christine? Because I have to admit I thought the IRS was doing this anyway. I just assumed that they were doing this. I guess that's because I'm afraid of the IRS and I think that's what they do all the time.

Don makes a very good point. Certainly it's not license for them to go crazy or anything, but I just assumed that there was a relationship there that existed and that the IRS would in fact go hey, we need to check on that to see if these payments make any sense and to see if this income checks out with what's been voluntarily reported.

ROMANS: Hey you know, Ali, something that somebody mentioned to me on Twitter or Facebook about this story said look, before they start raising anybody's taxes, why don't they try to get taxes from the people who are supposed to be paying which is an interesting point.

VELSHI: Yeah, although one thing that I think we have to watch out for as a trend is that a number of people who have lost their jobs, so people are becoming small business people or contractors.

Also with the threat of health care reform, a lot of small business owners have told me if they can't afford to provide health care the way the government wants them to, they're going to switch to using contractors.

So in fact, we may see a real increase in the number of people who are private contractors over the course of the next few years, so the IRS may have to think about how it approaches all of this.

We may have a whole bunch more people responsible for reporting their own income and that's a whole different structure than the corporate or employer income reporting that we've had.

ROMANS: Very good point. OK so speaking of health care, do you want more affordable health care? You can try a retail health clinic. They're popping up in pharmacies and stores like WalMart and CVS. And according to a Rand Study, they offer similar quality of care at lower prices than emergency rooms or even the family doctor.

Look at this. The average visit for the services study at a retail health clinic was about $110. Urgent care centers and family doctors charged about $50 more than that. And the cost for popping into a crowded emergency room, $570. Is it time to start shopping for health care like we would any other service? This is the first real study, Bill Tucker, of whether these little health clinics in the CVS were as good as going to your doctor's office and it's found they are, and cheaper.

TUCKER: I'm not surprised because the people that go in are going in for relatively simple things.

ROMANS: Prevention.

TUCKER: Throat infection, they're screened for diabetes while they're there, they're screened for high blood pressure. There are prevention measures. It doesn't surprise me at all. Yes, I do think it's time.

ROMANS: Is it part of the discussion for health care reform maybe if we look at things like this, where we are delivering lower cost health care and it's working?

PEEBLES: Absolutely and we have to ask ourselves why. You look at the major hospitals, their big cost is the bureaucracy there. It's interesting, I had a test done that was an MRI and I wanted to have it done where it was convenient to me, in a hospital was pretty convenient to me. Well the cost to do it at the hospital was about $4,000. At an MRI center, it was $700.


PEEBLES: And what a staggering difference there. And there's a problem. That shouldn't be the case. We have to answer why it's costing so much more and why our insurance companies and our federal government are paying these absurd rates when you look at a comparison. And I think we as Americans and our government have to shop for the right price for health care.

ROMANS: You know Ali, it's not for everybody but for somebody who needs to take a kid in, they think they might have strep throat, it might be the way to go. Not for everybody, but if it's not serious, it might be the best thing to do.

VELSHI: Well, I was in your old stomping grounds in Chicago but I was on the south side where a lot of people were in favor of health care reform but one of the things they were saying is that people who don't have health care coverage end up going to emergency clinics, as you said, not only costing the system a whole lot more, but gumming up the wait at emergency rooms for things that might be the flu which they can get from these clinics. So I think it's a great development.

ROMANS: You know, one thing about the wait in the emergency room, I just have to say, these guys this last week were floating out in the Gulf of Mexico, these fishermen who were lost, and one of the guys was taken to the hospital, he had to wait so long in the emergency room, after eight days in a boat, he just got up and went home. Think of that. This guy was out on the Gulf of Mexico for eight days and he spent all this time in the waiting room and said forget it, I'm just going to go home and drink some Gatorade. I mean seriously, that's the way we live you guys.

OK now the recession has already cost Americans so much already and now, it could even cost, perish the thought, cost fans of the NFL the ability to watch their favorite team play on Sundays. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says that the league has no plans to change a long-standing policy of blacking out home games in the local television market when they're not sold out at least 72 hours before kickoff. With the money tight for millions of Americans, nearly half the teams in the league reportedly may have to black out some of their home games, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, who might see all their home games blacked out. Should a league consisting of billion dollar franchises cut out the average fan or should they cut them some slack?

TUCKER: Who do they think built them?

ROMANS: Tucker, tell me how you feel.

TUCKER: I don't know, I'm all confused about this and conflicted. I think we're watching sport franchises commit suicide.

ROMANS: Really?

TUCKER: You can't cut out the fan. You can't say to them well, if you don't buy our tickets, it's extortion. If you don't buy our tickets, you can't see our games? We're letting them get away with that by giving them public money to build these stadiums? This is ridiculous. I think it's time that sports franchises, whether they be the NFL or the NBA remember the people who are responsible for them being there and being on TV and being so popular are people.

PEEBLES: Absolutely.

ROMANS: Ali, gosh, it bites if you're in Jacksonville and you love your team.

VELSHI: Yeah, look, it's just bad business in the long run. Organized sports, professional sports, has become so expensive for families to attend. Look, I'm a baseball fan, I go to those Yankees games, they're virtually never full now. It's a very, very expensive venture. I wouldn't bite the hand that feeds you.

PEEBLES: Absolutely. In fact, one of the things that's happened in professional sports, basketball, baseball and football, is most of their customers, big-paying customers, are corporations and business owners and entrepreneurs, and companies like mine. And we are not buying any season packages for any professional teams.

ROMANS: You're not? PEEBLES: No. How can we look at our employees or our customers and say we're going to spend $100,000 to watch football or $1,000 to go and watch a basketball game 41 times a year. It's unjustifiable. And I think they have made a horrible mistake with these blackouts because it's the television programming and watching the teams on television that creates the fan base and makes us all want to dream and go to the games.

And now, you know, who cares if I'm living in Wisconsin, who cares how the Jacksonville Jaguars are doing. We want to watch our own home team. I think they're making a horrible mistake.

ROMANS: All right, Don Peebles, CEO of the Peebles Corporation, stick around. We're going to talk about commercial real estate. Bill Tucker of "Lou Dobbs Tonight," Tucker on the Ticker, I see branding maybe here, Tucker. And Ali Velshi, thanks. Ali, talk to you soon.

You know, the meltdown in subprime mortgages took down the global economy. There's another part of real estate melting down. Danger ahead?


ROMANS: The "Wall Street Journal" this week called it a $1 trillion time bomb, a looming crisis in the commercial real estate market. Developers used borrowed money to construct offices, retail stores, warehouses and factories, hotels and apartment buildings, all during the boom. Trouble is, now stores are closing. Offices are anything but full. Vacancy rates for just about everything are rising. Property values for commercial real estate fell 18 percent in the second quarter of 2009.

Now the developers need to refinance their loans with few lenders willing to part with the money at such a risky time. So sales are down, commercial loan defaults are up, spiking, and property values are tumbling. Delinquency rates on commercial property loans have doubled in the past year, with small and regional banks facing the largest risk of severe losses from loans.

Our next guest recently told us it's a nightmare you can't wake up from but it doesn't have to be a crisis on par with the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Don Peebles is the CEO of Peebles Corporation. Don, tell us how big this risk is. We know it's coming and so in a way, we're preparing for it, the banks are preparing for it.

PEEBES: It's a very big risk because right now, $1.3 trillion of commercial loans are held by our national banks, basically our community and regional banks. Over half of those loans are for development and construction loans. So there is a product coming online or that has come online that there's no consumer for, no user for, and ultimately, that means that these loans aren't going to be able to be paid back. The loans aren't going to be able to be serviced.

So these are a significant risk that many banks, community banks that are vital to a neighborhood's economy and our local small business economy are going to be in big trouble and end up closed.

ROMANS: So if they're in big trouble and they're closed, that means they're not lending to people, they're not helping you in your community, they're not growing small businesses in their community. That's the risk. That's how it could affect you and me, if the worst comes to fruition.

PEEBLES: Absolutely. The biggest risk here is to the small business owners and small business entrepreneurs. Right now, there are going to be hundreds of banks that are small community-based banks that will be closed. Small businesses create over half of the U.S. jobs and they created 80 percent of the new jobs over the last decade. So without them, we will never get out of this recession that we've been in, and that's the key to getting out is job creation.

ROMANS: In terms of financial stability, though, this is the shoe that's about to drop that we all know is about to drop. Does it pose the risk in the overall economy that say the sub-prime crisis posed?

PEEBLES: It does, yes, because it's a different element. Sub- prime mortgages really affected individual borrowers. There wasn't a systemic risk there for the banking system, per se. These loans were packaged and sold off around the globe. These commercial real estate loans, though, are held by local and community-based banks who are going to be making loans to consumers and who are going to be making loans to the small business owner like the pizza parlor owner, the small restaurant owner or the shoe store. Those people create jobs for all of us.

And right now, we've lost over seven million jobs with almost a 10 percent national unemployment rate. We need small businesses to kick back in and grow the economy and create jobs. The only way small businesses grow is having access to capital and they don't get their loans from the big money center banks. They get them from the community-based banks. That's why this is a big issue.

ROMANS: Right, all right. Don Peebles, Peebles Corporation, thank you so much, real estate developer, love to have you on the program, thank you sir.

All right, Ali Velshi is in Wisconsin and I think Ali's wearing some fashion to keep his hair from getting all messed up in the wind. Hi, Ali.

VELSHI: I like this lid. It's University of Wisconsin School of Business.

ROMANS: The Badgers.

VELSHI: Listen, some of the brightest minds in the business world that -- go, Badgers, that's right. Listen, some of the brightest minds in the business world had a hand in messing up this economy, so I'm going to talk to a few members of the next generation, some MBA students and their teachers here at the University of Wisconsin School of Business. Stay with us. You're watching "Your Money."


VELSHI: Hey, folks, I'm Ali Velshi. Welcome back to "Your Money." I am in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin on the campus of the University of Wisconsin Madison. We've been traveling with the CNN Express across the country, started in Atlanta, went through Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, Southern Illinois, and into Wisconsin, where we're here in Madison.

Let's talk to some people here from the business school. On your extreme right is Blair Sanford, an assistant dean at the School of Business and responsible for career placement at the university. Next to her, Luis Otero who is an MBA student, graduating in 2011. Mike Knetter is the dean of the business school. Ken Kavajecz is the associate dean and a professor of finance and something else? Finance, OK, there you go. And Kemllen Lee is also an MBA student graduating in 2011.

Mike, I am going to start with you. There are some people and maybe some of them in our audience who think that people with business degrees and MBA graduates who moved into corporate America may have had a big hand in this economic collapse that we're in right now. Has that thought occurred to you and have you done anything in your curriculum to deal with that?

MICHAEL KNETTER, DEAN, BUSINESS SCHOOL: Well, we of course think that we have been teaching the right principles all along but this recent episode certainly highlighted some different examples that we want to draw out of bad behavior and maybe corporate excesses. So there was certainly plenty of blame to go around but we still think that we're a big part of the solution. We think the work that we do is more important than ever. And we think one of the things that the great recession will never change is that skills and knowledge never go out of style. The real source of advantage for companies in the marketplace is really people that can innovate and drive change. And that's what we aim to do.

VELSHI: Now you have an undergraduate business school here, you have a graduate business school. Kemllen, I wouldn't say typical but you are like many of your colleagues in the business school, you worked elsewhere, you worked in health care, in fact, and made a decision to get an MBA. Tell me about your story.

KEMLLEN LEE, MBA, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN: I was in education for 11 years.

VELSHI: Oh, I'm sorry, education.

LEE: No, that's OK. And I decided I wanted to have a greater impact with health and food. And so supply change was an easy -- was a very practical way of creating solutions. My long-term goal is to really think about how I can use my MBA to help communities access healthier foods, healthier consumer products. And that's something when I came to Madison, I could do, with a lot of the connections that they have with people in industry. VELSHI: This school has specialties for their MBA students. These students have to choose what they're doing, one of 12 specialties. Luis, yours is different. You are getting involved in brand management?

LUIS OTERO, MBA, CLASS OF 2001: Brand and product management.

VELSHI: Tell us about that.

OTERO: Well, the reason why I chose that is I have been involved for the past seven years in the operation side. So I was impacting products and services that were getting to consumers on the backhand of the production, of the creation of these solutions.

So, that's how I decided that I wanted to go into brand and product management. I wanted to be an impact to the solutions at the beginning, at the front end of the creation of this product. And that's where you actually get the interaction with consumers and clients and bring in those requirements and needs from them into corporate or creating the solution.

VELSHI: Ken, you are in finance. School has just started for the year. You have got some new students who must have some questions about the role that finance has played in the economy that we're in right now. Is your first week of teaching different than its been in prior years?

KEN KAVAJECZ, WISCONSIN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Well this week, no. But the past 15 months have been an extraordinary learning experience for anyone in finance or anyone in business, for that matter.

Frankly, in my class last year, I had to set aside 20 minutes of every class to talk about who ailed in the last two weeks or two days and what does that mean for the economy? What are we going to do about it? Are the solutions that people are talking about, did it make sense? So we have adapted sort of the curriculum to handle the environment we are watching unfold. But, the foundation of what we talk about and the principles don't change at all.

VELSHI: And Blair, the prospects for these two students and the others in the class, in the environment that we're in, they're graduating in 2011, how does it look?

SANFORD: Well, there's at the beginning of their training. They come to us with an average of five years work experience. They are in applied programs where they will get a strong general management core and then the depth of specialization. The marketplace is going to want these folks.

VELSHI: All right, well thank you all. We wish you the best of luck. And thanks for taking time to watch us. And thanks for hosting us in this beautiful own on this beautiful campus, the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Christine?

ROMANS: All right, Ali, thanks so much. Next, the real green shoots in the economy, 43 million Americans are literally getting their hands dirty all in the name of saving money.


ROMANS: How is this for a return on your investment? Take a look at this. The letter "D" may be of some interest to you, that's today's Romans' Numeral. It's the number 500. And that's the amount of money you can save from growing your own fruits and veggies from a $2 packet of seeds. Call it recession retro, call it slow living, millions of Americans are gardening and growing their own vegetables. Google saw a spike in searches earlier this year for canning recipes and mason jars are flying off the shelf.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some nice ones back there.

ROMANS (voice-over): Here are the real green shoots in the economy. Karen Simonson and Grisella Feliciano work together in the business office at the Queens Botanical Gardens. Before this spring, there wasn't a green thumb between them.

GRISELLA FELICIANO, GARDENER: Since we didn't know how to do it, we figured if we'd do it together it would, you know, save time and just be easier for both of us.

ROMANS: With help from Simonson's daughter Rebecca, they found abundance in a recession.

REBECCA AGURTO, GARDENER: I planted the tomatoes and the string beans and the peppers.

ROMANS: Theirs is one of 43 million food gardens this year. The National Gardening Association says 19 percent of the households growing their own fruits, vegetables and herbs are doing it for the very first time. Vegetable seed sales are up 30 percent. Ball, the popular maker of canning supplies, also saw sales jump 30 percent. And one of the oldest seed catalog companies, a 19th and early 20th century stalwart, is finding new and newly frugal 21st century gardeners.

GEORGE BALL, W. ATLEE BURPEE & CO.: It's not that a vegetable is going to make you money. It's that you're not going to be spending that money in the produce section or the farmer's market or the supermarket. If you spend, say, a hundred dollars on vegetable seeds, you're going to save $2,500, on average, in savings at the supermarket. That's money you can spend on your child's college fund or, you know, buy something, or get the house down payment further advanced.

ROMANS: Saving money, taking control, getting back to basics, and bringing green to your greens.

DAVID ELLIS, AMERICAN HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY: You're controlling how you're growing it. And often, homegrown produce, which you can pluck right off the vine, is very, is really much tastier than vegetables that have been harvested a couple of weeks ahead in the supermarket.

ROMANS: New gardener Simonson says fresh and pesticide-free produce is what got her gardening in the first place.

KAREN SIMONSON, GARDENER: Having my daughter, I've become a little more conscious about what she eats. And being that she's eight years old right now, I thought it was a good activity for us to do together.

ROMANS: And recession or no, next year they'll do it again.


ROMANS: And it is harvest time right now across the country. According to the folks at Burpee, not all vegetables will give you the same return on your investment. Tomatoes are the best value, a $3 to $4 packet of tomato seeds will save you $1,000 worth of store-bought tomatoes. You're going to have to give your friends an awful lot of tomatoes, I don't think you can eat them all. But don't expect that for other vegetables like sweet corn. For every $1 you spend on corn seeds, it gets you about $5 of supermarket corn. Ali, they must be harvesting this weekend in ...

VELSHI: That's incredible.

ROMANS: Isn't that cool? It really is cool. We talked to one woman...

VELSHI: That's really cool.

ROMANS: We talked to one woman who last year they planted a garden in her back yard. This year, she came home from work and her husband had hired someone to till up the entire backyard. They were planting the whole half acre.

VELSHI: Well you know I told you when I was at the Missouri State Fair, that the fair director there had told me the same thing. He said people there are going back to basics. They are planting their own gardens. They're canning their own vegetables. Very interesting, but I had no idea that the difference was that great. That's incredible.

ROMANS: Yes, and the numbers bare it out, they really do, people taking control. All right, we've got to let you take control of your weekend. Thanks for joining us on "Your Money." You can follow Ali Velshi and me on Facebook and Twitter, @ChristineRomans and @AliVelshi. We'd really like to hear from you. Please follow us. Make sure you join us every week for "Your Money," Saturdays at 1 p.m. Eastern, Sundays at 3. You can also log on 24/7 to

Have a great weekend, bye, Ali.