Return to Transcripts main page
Health Care Compromise; Teens Forced to Sell Their Bodies; Shades of 'Green' Jobs
Aired December 9, 2009 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. It is Wednesday, December 9th. And here are the faces on the stories behind the headlines.
Cynthia and Sheila kidnapped and forced into child prostitution. It didn't happen in some far-off land. It happened right here in America.
Magnus Hellgren heating his home in frozen Sweden for $19 a week, if you can believe it, but he is not heating the planet.
And Lady Gaga, flamboyant recording artist and a latex fashion statement, to be sure. Find out what happens when the over-the-top lady in red meets a blue-blooded queen.
Good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Let's start with deal-making by Democrats on health care reform. A group of liberal and moderate senators reach a broad agreement on an alternative to the public option.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: We can't disclose the details of what we've done, but, believe me, we've got something that's good and I think is very -- for us, it moves this bill way down the road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: What's becoming abundantly clear is that the majority will make any deal, agree to any terms, sign any dotted line that brings them closer to final passage of this terrible bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Let's talk about it with Congressional Correspondent Brianna Keilar. And she is joining us now.
Brianna, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid says this compromise moves the bill way down the road.
What is being proposed to replace the much talked about, much discussed on this program public option?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is an alternative, and it is not a government-run insurance plan. It's a little bit public, a little bit in terms of government oversight, a little bit private. And here is how at least the details that we got ahead of this announcement, the details that got from those moderate and liberal Democrats who are coming and going from these meetings.
They said it would be not-for-profit private insurance plans, and those plans would be run by the Office of Personnel Management. This is the same government agency that oversees the federal benefits for federal employees, the millions of federal employees.
And also, because there is not a government-run insurance plan here, this was a bit of a carrot for liberal Democrats in here. It would allow people 55 years and older to buy into Medicare. Right now it's only 65 and older who can have Medicare, so this would allow people between the ages of 55 and 64 to buy into Medicare.
You can imagine that affects a whole lot of people, Tony. If it doesn't affect you, it certainly affects one of your parents or maybe one of your co-workers.
Any way of knowing at this point -- and I know it's way early -- whether this proposal can even hope to get 60 votes?
KEILAR: You know, it's hard to tell.
KEILAR: There's a couple of -- it's really a matter of a few different people. And Tony, we've been talking a lot about this.
Senator Ben Nelson, who's one of those moderate Democrats, he is sort of -- the issue that complicates his potential support is this abortion issue. He wanted some toughened-up abortion language because he is anti-abortion.
He didn't get that. Remember that vote failed yesterday. So, whether he's going to support this bill, that is in question.
So, then you want to know, OK, well, what about the Republicans? What about the ladies from Maine, right, Senator Olympia Snowe or Senator Susan Collins from Maine?
I spoke yesterday with Senator Snowe, and this whole idea of expanding Medicare, she had serious misgivings about it. The cost of it she thought would be just way too much, and she really, really seemed to pooh-pooh that idea. So it's really threading a needle here and we just can't really tell at this point.
HARRIS: But it looks like she is getting some language that she can agree to in terms of this idea of a trigger to the more robust public option, correct? KEILAR: Yes, that's right. So, if this wouldn't work, basically the idea is that -- and this is one of the things that she's been talking about. She doesn't really like that flat-out public option. But if there were to be a trigger, meaning if certain states were not competitive or they weren't providing that low cost or affordable insurance, that a full-on government-run insurance plan could be triggered. But it wouldn't just go into effect automatically.
HARRIS: Now, to address all these concerns, the congressional cost, anyway, the Congressional Budget Office is going to t take a look at this proposal and score it, correct?
KEILAR: That's right. So, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, they do all the number crunching. And right now the reason that we're not getting the exact official details on what this plan is, is because that Congressional Budget Office -- if this plan is made public, then they can make their number public. And you know that becomes such a huge political issue. If it's a big number, if it's over a trillion dollars, then opponents can lambaste it as really bloated.
And so right now we're waiting to see what that number is. A lot of the support of these people that we're talking about, Tony, is contingent on that number.
HARRIS: All right. Brianna Keilar for us.
Brianna, appreciate it. Thank you.
Let's do this -- let's check the wire now and the day's other big stories.
President Obama spends much of his day focused on the economy, his meeting with congressional leaders from both parties to discuss his proposals for getting more Americans back to work. The president is proposing using some financial bailout funds to spur job creation.
We expect to hear from the president this hour, 11:50 Eastern Time. Live coverage for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
A yearend report on the TARP program, the Troubled Asset Relief Program. An oversight panel says TARP worked. It halted the financial panic and headed off a second Great Depression, but the report says TARP hasn't spurred lending on Main Street and hasn't stopped a landslide of foreclosures.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH WARREN, CHAIRWOMAN, TARP OVERSIGHT PANEL: We've been raising concerns about the foreclosure portion of the TARP plan almost from the beginning. And our deepest concerns is that the program itself is just misdesigned, that it can't scale up, that it doesn't have the kind of scope it needs, and that it doesn't provide permanent solutions to the problems, but just kicks the can on down the road.
We have a program right now to deal with foreclosures that largely is directed toward the subprimes that were going into default about a year ago, so it's a program to fix the problem as it existed back then and not a program to deal with the problem as it exists now. And that is -- frankly, we didn't get ahead of the problem, the mortgage more closure problem back then, and get it stopped, and so what it's done is ballooned. And it's gone into prime mortgages, it's gone all the way across the country, and it keeps getting larger. And the government response is simply not big enough, not fast enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
The race for Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat is down to two. Primary voters actually chose Democrat Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general, and Republican Scott Brown, a state senator. The special election will be held January 19th. Coakley would be the state's first female senator.
It is rich versus poor today at the climate change conference in Denmark. Delegates trying to figure out how developed and developing countries can share the load in cutting greenhouse gases.
Former vice president Al Gore addresses the conference next week. The Nobel Peace Prize winner tells CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING" green jobs are key.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the best ways to create millions of good, new jobs and stimulate the economy is by investing in green infrastructure. When the world went into this global synchronized recession, from which we're now, thankfully, beginning to emerge, interest rates were so low, that economic policymakers couldn't use that tool, so stimulus spending was the instrument of choice all around the world. And infrastructure spending was the favored option.
Many countries devoted even larger percentages of that stimulus to building green infrastructure in China, South Korea, et cetera. They see these industries as the key industries of the 21st century.
China will overtake the United States in wind next year, soon thereafter in solar. They're building the largest smart grid or super grid in the world.
We have an opportunity to take these new jobs that are going to be created and plant them in local communities here in the United States and create millions of them. They can't be outsourced.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: CNN Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis will tell us about those green jobs later this hour.
(WEATHER REPORT) HARRIS: Forced into prostitution, teen victims treated as criminals for selling their bodies. Now some survivors speak out to try to save others from the horror. And you will hear plenty of horrors.
But first, let's take a look at the latest numbers on the New York Stock Exchange, the Big Board.
We're in positive territory after a bit of a sell-off yesterday. We are up 30, 31 points. We will be checking these numbers throughout the day.
Felicia Taylor is in for Susan Lisovicz in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: You are about to meet some young women who are our faces of the story today. Cynthia and Sheila, former child prostitutes, they were victims of sex trafficking, sold on the streets, then jailed as criminals. Now they are speaking out in hopes of helping other young girls.
The story from CNN's Nicole Lapin.
SHAQUANA (ph), CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING SURVIVOR: My shame is Shaquana (ph). I'm 19 years old and I got into the life when I was 14.
SHEILA, CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING SURVIVOR: I name is Sheila. I'm 22 now. I was in the game when I was 15.
CYNTHIA, CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING SURVIVOR: My name is Cynthia. I'm 21 years old. I got in the life when I was 17.
NICOLE LAPIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The life. These young women don't call it child prostitution because at the time they weren't old enough to consent to sex, much less selling it.
CYNTHIA: I didn't choose this life for me. I didn't choose to go and be sexually exploited. I got kidnapped into it.
SHEILA: Well, I know exactly how that feels, because at, like, one point in time I just wished I wasn't here anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's watching me like a hawk. And every time I go one place and he sees me making money, he takes the money from me. If I didn't make that money, I was still out there.
CYNTHIA: This is somebody's little sister. This is somebody's daughter. This is somebody's child that this is happening to, and really nobody knows and she's keeping this inside of her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, it happens a lot. Like, more than what you think about. LAPIN (on camera): How does something like this happen in New York, in New York City?
RACHEL LLOYD, FOUNDER, GEMS: I think because you've got a bunch of vulnerable young people that we're not doing a good job of protecting.
LAPIN (voice-over): Rachel Lloyd has taken it upon herself to do that protecting.
LLOYD: Every young person, just by nature of being a teenager, wants to feel accepted and belong.
LAPIN: She started GEMS. It's an organization that helps girls who are victims of sex trafficking like she was transition back to a so-called normal life in New York City.
LLOYD: People, when they think about sex trafficking of girls, they think about it happening in Thailand or the Ukraine, and yet it's happening on 42nd Street. It's happening in just about every neighborhood that you could name.
American children are being sold on our streets, sometimes a few blocks away from where we live or where we work. It's really critical for people to understand.
LAPIN (on camera): Even in the middle of the bustle of New York City streets, girls like these tell me they worked right around here, right near Times Square, for their pimps instead of going to school.
CYNTHIA: They know you're young. They know, like, it's easy to confuse you and say things that would scare you, so they take advantage and use that to their advantage.
SHEILA: Even though you get arrested, they know that you're not, like, 25. Like, I'm 15 and you can tell that I'm 15.
LAPIN (voice-over): Even as preteens, these girls are arrested. They are jailed. They are treated not as victims, but as criminals.
LLOYD: In 10 years, 15 years, we will be looking back saying, really? We used to arrest girls who were trafficking victims? Like, what?
I would hope that that's the place that we get to, that it seems ludicrous. Like, you don't arrest domestic violence victims, you don't arrest rape victims, you don't arrest victims.
LAPIN: And now they don't in New York. Because of Rachel's work, the Safe Harbor Act is now on the books. So, instead of getting locked up, these girls go to GEMS to get housing and help while on their road to recovery.
(on camera): Are you still tempted sometimes? Do you think the recovery process is ever over? SHEILA: You just don't know when, oh, I'm recovered. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. And I really believe in that, because if it wasn't for the things that has happened to me and all of the bad stuff, the real bad stuff that I went through, then I wouldn't be the voice for so many other young girls who aren't ready to speak out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're strong. You just have to find it within yourself.
SHEILA: Then once you get up there, nobody is going to not take you down again.
HARRIS: Wow. All right. And Nicole joins me live here.
And Nicole, so, clearly what we need here is more of these Safe Harbor Acts around the country, because the situation has certainly changed in New York. But my guess is there are still plenty of underage young women who are being arrested.
HARRIS: Jailed. Put into -- and at the point at which the authorities realize they're underage, they're being placed in the juvenile system.
LAPIN: Here's what we need to realize, Tony. These girls are victims, they are not criminals.
The average age is 12 years old.
HARRIS: Twelve years old?
LAPIN: Twelve years old that these girls are lured into sex trafficking. It is not child prostitution. They can't even consent to sex.
Two hundred thousand to 300,000 of our young people in the United States are at risk for this, so this is such an important issue. We hear the statistics. These are the faces, these are the stories, these are the girls. These are our girls in society that are dealing with this.
HARRIS: Yes. Next hour you're back.
LAPIN: Next hour we have an amazing story of a girl who went from the streets to stardom. We have her story coming up.
HARRIS: Yes. Can't wait, Nicole. Appreciate it. Important work. Thank you.
Let's do this -- let's get a check of our top stories right now.
Across the country, folks are getting hammered. Rob just showed you some of the stats here from this fierce storm.
The National Weather Service is warning of dangerous blizzard conditions in parts of the Midwest. Hundreds of schools are closed, including the University of Wisconsin, which hasn't had a snow day in 20 years.
The climate conference heats up. Developing countries and activists stage a protest in Denmark over a leaked document. The proposal would allow rich countries to cut fewer greenhouse gases while poorer nations face tougher limits on emissions and more conditions on money to adapt.
Jobs and the economy on the agenda at the White House this hour. President Obama is meeting with congressional leaders from both parties. The president wants to use some financial bailout funds to spur job creation.
We expect to hear from him live at around 11:50 Eastern Time.
And as more than 100 nations are meeting to discuss climate change, we are looking at those places that are actually creating green jobs. Could this be your next career?
Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis has your "Top Tips." That's next.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Green jobs are a big part of President Obama's latest strategy to jump-start the labor market. Do you see yourself in a green job one day?
Your personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, is here.
And Gerri, what kinds of positions are we talking about that fall under the green jobs umbrella?
GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, Tony, green jobs, the phrase -- you know, there's a lot of jargon when you look at this area. The phrase isn't really very specific, so we wanted to demystify the phrase, digging down into the sectors, the actual job titles. But you've got to understand that green jobs, Tony, are really a tiny, tiny proportion of the total workforce, just 770,000 jobs, and that is just a half a percent of all jobs.
The good news, they're growing at a fast clip, nine percent. Nine percent year-to-year growth versus 3.7 for all jobs. That's actually over several years, nine years, not just a single year.
Now, the biggest sector fuelling 65 percent of green jobs, it's what they call conservation and pollution mitigation. What does that mean, you may be asking yourself? Well, that's just recycling, conserving water, cutting greenhouse gases. Look, people who remove hazardous materials from industrial sites are in this sector, as are scientists who develop products to treat pollutants.
Environmentally-friendly production jobs, that's another category. They typically are in transportation and manufacturing. They make hybrid diesel buses and develop traffic monitoring software.
Energy efficiency and clean energy, another group. These are jobs that help find new sources of energy or better use of the ones we already have. Jobs include electricians and engineers. Experts expect this sector to be the fastest growing -- Tony.
HARRIS: Got you. And Gerri, what kind of, pardon me, green can you earn in a green job?
WILLIS: All right, let's look at some specifics here.
Say a smart grid engineer. What is that? Well, this is somebody who develops a faster network for electricity using digital technology. You can make $50,000 to $100,000 a year, depending on your background, but you need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering to land that job.
Or, say, you might become a green architect or builder, designing and constructing buildings that use sustainable materials or renewable energy sources. Earnings here would be about $50,000 to $105,000, 10 bucks to 30 bucks an hour for builders.
And both of these groups, they need accreditation. Leads (ph) accreditation is the most common. You're going to have to get some training in there to make that dough.
There's also energy auditors. They conduct examinations of buildings, houses, commercial buildings to determine just how energy efficient they are, and they figure out how to fix that when they decide how energy efficient they aren't. They make about $12 to $14 an hour.
So there's some, like, real-life jobs out there that are green jobs and salaries, so you get a better picture of what we're talking about.
HARRIS: This is awesome. I'm so happy that we're doing this.
Gerri, one more for you. Does a green job necessarily mean back to school?
WILLIS: It might. You probably need some extra training, right? But you may not need a degree.
And the good news here is that experts say that green jobs have a lot of opportunities for folks who are lower income. Of the 1.7 million new jobs that will be created, it's estimated that 870,000 will be available to people with high school degrees, so that's very good news for people out there looking for a job who are trying to find something new to get into -- Tony.
HARRIS: That is terrific. All right. Great tips, great information. Thank you, Gerri.
Still to come in the NEWSROOM, global warming, climate change. Just what does it all mean? A quick science lesson, thank you very much.
HARRIS: With delegates from 192 countries gathered in Denmark right the now to try to slow global warming, it begs the question, what exactly is the problem? What's really happening to our planet? Let me try to break it down for you.
HARRIS (voice-over): Climate change is a complicated subject that sill generates plenty of scientific debate. The easiest way to understand it is to think of the earth's atmosphere as a giant greenhouse. Sunlight beams down to warm the surface, then bounces back towards space. Some of that energy escapes, while natural gases in the atmosphere retain some to regulate the global climate.
That's how the planet has worked for thousands of years. However, the industrial revolution of the mid-19th century brought manufacturing and other production that added huge amounts of manmade gases into the atmosphere. Factories, power plants, cars, airplanes, tropical deforestation and other modern developments have increased these gases far beyond the natural levels from sources such as fires and volcanic activity, and even humans and animals breathing.
Most scientists believe the so-called greenhouse gases now trap too much of the sun's energy. They say that trapped heat is changing the climate to raise temperatures in many places, among other things. These scientists warn that if greenhouse gases continue to increase, the result will be melting glaciers and polar caps, rising sea levels, changing weather patterns and other impacts. Some changes could be beneficial, such as increased agricultural production in some regions. Other changes, however, could be catastrophic, including submerged islands in coastal regions, increased drought and spreading diseases.
HARRIS: And as world leaders address the issue of climate change, we also want to hear from you. For the next two weeks we're going to answer your questions on the issue. Just go to CNN.com/tony and leave us a comment with your questions and then we will get you some answers and break it all down for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Or you can give us a call at 1-877-742-5760. And we'll hear from some of you next hour.
Imagine spending $1,000 to heat your home for the entire year -- $1,000 -- using wood chips. We will take you to one city that has cut emissions and kept its economy growing.
HARRIS: The global climate change debate in Copenhagen, Denmark, evoking strong reactions here at home.
Let's hear what some of our iReporters are saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADRIANA MAXWELL, CNN IREPORTER: We can't maintain status quo simply because of the fact that the population is growing and as it grows it requires more energy. So, therefore, it's in our best interests to come up with alternative resources, renewable resources, so that way we can continue growing as a population, growing as an economy.
JASON WYDRO, CNN IREPORTER: Do I think the sky is going to burn up tomorrow and the earth is going to melt? No, I don't think that at all. Do I think that in long, long, long term this is posing a serious problem? Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Boy, if you don't think it's possible to significantly cut emissions and grow the economy, think again. One Swedish city is proving it can be done. Our Jim Bolden takes us there and introduces us to one of our "Faces of the News," homeowner Magnus Hellgren.
JIM BOLDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This small Swedish city started earning its green credentials by cleaning up its lakes 40 years ago, and since then, Vaxjo hasn't stopped. Through multiple initiatives, it has cut carbon emissions by a whopping 32 percent since 1993. Its biggest achievement is here, a power plant tucked away on the edge of the city's lake.
(on camera): In 1979, this power plant only used oil to generate the city's heat and electricity. Now 98.7 percent of the fuel used here is biomass, and the vast majority of that is wood chips.
(voice-over): As the story goes, the city of 81,000 found itself short of oil during a particularly cold winter. So, surrounded by seemingly endless forests, Vaxjo turned to wood chips. Now up to 60 trucks a day roll in here during the winter. Though competition from other biomass plants makes this carbon-neutral wood waste more and more expensive.
LARS EHRLEN, MANAGER, HEAT AND POWER, VAXJO ENERGI: Yes, the price is going up, but still we can say that the price for the biomass is, before tax, one-fourth of the of price for oil.
BOLDEN: This sweet-smelling fuel is used to heat the city's water, which in turn heats the majority of homes. The city continues to dig up streets to give more customers access to the biomass heating grid, but consumers can still choose oil heating or electric, or use what Magnus Hellgren uses, wood pellets.
MAGNUS HELLGREN, HOMEOWNER: My cost for heating the house with pellets is 8,000 Swedish kronas, which is about equivalent to $1,000. BOLDEN (on camera): So $1,000 a year.
HELLGREN: Yes. For heating the house and for tap water.
BOLDEN (voice-over): Vaxjo has cut emissions but managed to keep the economy growing. That's attracted attention from as far away as the United States and North Korea. The flags outside city hall change nearly every day to welcome another foreign delegation.
The goal is to cut emissions by 70 percent by 2025.
Jim Bolden, CNN, Vaxjo, Sweden.
HARRIS: So what is the truth about global warming? Tonight at 8:00 Eastern, a special edition of Campbell Brown looks at the science, the skepticism and the secrets surrounding global warming, "TRICK OR TRUTH?"
HARRIS: Checking our top stories now, a monster storm is plowing across the Midwest through New England right now. Forecasters say more than a foot of snow is expected in parts of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. The National Weather Service warns of extremely dangerous blizzard conditions.
The Transportation Security Administration -- have you heard this story? -- is investigating how an airport security manual ended up online. The 93-page document detailed security procedures and loopholes, but TSA says it is outdated. Critics want an independent investigation.
Here's what Clark Kent Ervin, a former homeland security official, told our Campbell Brown just last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN HOST: Clark, walk us through exactly what was disclosed here. What were the most damaging disclosures do you believe in this document?
CLARK KENT ERVIN, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, Campbell, it goes on and on. It says that, for example, only 20 percent of carry-on bags are hand checked for explosives. It says that at peak travel times when there are lots of travelers and you would think that security would be the highest, that screeners have to check only 25 percent of the time. If they choose to, use these black lights, these special lights to check IDs and authenticate them.
It says that if you're coming through a screening checkpoint, you go through the metal detector and you're in a wheelchair or you're wearing orthopedic shoes and you alarm, that it's discretionary with the screener as to whether to subject that traveler to more scrutiny. And it also lays out the limitations of x-ray technology. So it goes on and on.
As Fran said, I think this is the most serious security breach that TSA has been involved in since 9/11 and since TSA's inception in 2002. It is really incredible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: A Chicago man is in court this morning facing charges that he helped plan the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. The Justice Department says David Headley attended training camps in Pakistan and conspired with a terrorist group to carry out the bombings. One hundred sixty people were killed in the attacks, including six Americans.
The German carmaker Volkswagen is buying a 20 percent chunk of Japan's Suzuki. That gives VW a footprint in developing countries, particularly India, where Suzuki sells low cost subcompacts. The deal valued at $2.5 billion set to close in January.
The Obama administration is extending the sometimes controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, into next fall. So what, if anything, will the administration do differently with what's left of the $700 billion pool of money? Felicia Taylor is at the New York Stock Exchange with details.
Felicia, good to see you this morning. What are you finding out?
FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Tony.
Well, indeed, the Obama administration is going to extend it until October of next year. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner gave official notice to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this morning. Geithner wrote a letter to Congress outlining the success of the TARP program on one hand, but also acknowledged that there is work still to be done.
He reiterated what we had earlier this week that TARP is going to cost taxpayers significantly less than originally projected and that the government isn't going to use all of the available $700 billion. Instead it's really more like $550 billion, so that's great. Geithner also said the administration expects a positive return on the government's investment in those failing banks and financial institutions.
So overall the TARP program has been a success -- Tony.
HARRIS: OK. And now that the program is being extended, what is the administration planning to do with the money from now until, what, next October?
TAYLOR: Exactly. They have got about ten months. And frankly, one of the reasons for the extension is to answer critics of TARP. This gives them the time to accomplish what hasn't been achieved.
Part of the mixed reviews center around not helping out smaller banks, community banks and small businesses. The administration wants to correct those problems over the next almost year. For example, critics have pointed out that not enough has been done to stem also home foreclosures.
Republicans have actually been calling for a shutdown of the program altogether, but the administration wants what they're calling sort of a gradual exit strategy. It's going to begin winding down some of the programs put in place last fall. It will only take on new commitments that will provide capital to small community banks, which are important lenders to smaller businesses, that helps out the smaller businesses as well. It will keep additional funds on hand to increase lending to those smaller businesses. And then finally, the administration is going to hold some funds in reserve in case there are any future emergencies, hopefully not, should they be needed.
OK, so let's take a final check -- a late morning check of the markets. The Dow Industrials right now trending to the up side, but only fractionally. It's still the Nasdaq and the S&P are to the down side but just fractionally.
HARRIS: All right, Felicia, appreciate it. Thank you.
Fourteen months and hundreds of billions of dollars later, did the federal bailout do the job? Read more about Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner extending TARP on CNNMoney.com.
You know, we are looking ahead to the president's remarks on jobs with chief business correspondent Ali Velshi. Where is he? Well, he's just about everywhere right now. He is on CNN Radio and CNN Live right now taking your questions. He joins us next here in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Right now President Obama is trying to sell his refined job strategy to leading members of Congress. He'd pay for it with leftover bailout money, but he needs Congress to OK the plan. We expect a statement from the president shortly.
While we wait, let's talk jobs and the recovery with our chief business correspondent Ali Velshi. He is on CNN Radio right now, CNN Live right now and he's joining us right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
And, Ali, good to see you. Let's talk about small businesses, please, sir, because you were with me yesterday as the president was outlining some new initiatives to help spur small business growth and job development.
Do you agree that small businesses really represent the job creation engine in this economy moving forward?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Tony, I couldn't agree more. I just think that is an absolute that we have to understand. I'm not picking this out of my elbow. The fact of the matter is this is a fact. For years and years and years the evidence has been that most small job -- most new jobs, jobs that weren't otherwise there, are created by small business in America. And that is what we have to continue to plug away.
In the last year, many small businesses I've talked to say we are the engine and we've not been given a fair break. I think what the president is talking about, what he announced yesterday and what he'd like to see Congress do would be the break small businesses need. It really could be really helpful. It does two things, Tony. It gets them credit. Small businesses are having trouble getting credit. So the government is talking about putting more money through the SBA -- you talked about this yesterday -- the Small Business Administration, through banks to get loans to companies.
It's also talking about tax credits for people. Let's say you, wealthy Tony, want to help out your friend's business. You want to buy stock in it. In other words, you want to help this guy by buying half his company. That can be a tax-free investment for you. The capital that you make on that.
So encouraging people to invest in businesses, making more money available to businesses. That's one of the big things that's coming out of what the president is talking about.
HARRIS: Ali, what is going on here with the credit situation? You know, we keep hearing from the Fed chief that the credit markets remain tight for households and small businesses. Loans to businesses fell by 6 percent in the third quarter and those are numbers from the FDIC.
Isn't the truth that businesses can't expand and hire new workers if they can't get loans?
VELSHI: No, and that's the problem. The problem is the Fed chief is right at a level. Right, a year ago the entire universe of credit had frozen, which meant you getting a credit card to auto loan to a student loan to a house to a small business loan, all the way up to IBM trying to get a loan or a country trying to sell its bonds, everything was frozen.
What's happened is, starting from the top going down things have unfrozen, but they still remain a little bit cold at the small business level and at the mortgage level and at the student loan level and at the auto loan level. Now, people I talked to have credit scores in the 700s or the high 700s say they have got no problems. But small businesses are by definition risk enterprises and we don't survive without taking some risk and they are having trouble raising money.
Now, when a small businessman hires two workers, Tony, who are unemployed, that's two workers who are not getting money from the government. They are two workers who are consumers who then go buy other things and create work for maybe two more workers. They are two workers who are paying taxes and thereby helping us pay down the deficit, giving the government more money to use on other things. So do not underestimate the power of a single job created by a small business and why we should all be behind that sort of idea.
I don't know how the president is going to get it through Congress, but the bottom line is now we're talking turkey. This is actually stuff that is going to get America moving again.
HARRIS: All right, Ali, appreciate it. Thank you, sir.
And did we put that number up for you so folks can call if they -- well, we will get back to that in just a moment, because we're getting close to the president's remarks. We expect to hear from President Obama shortly on his plan for getting more Americans back to work. Live coverage of the president's remarks in a just a minute. It's right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Very quickly now we want to get to Rob Marciano just ahead of the president's remarks on job creation. He's in the Severe Weather Center, and, Rob, give us an update on all of this weather you're following.
HARRIS: All right, Rob, appreciate it. Have a good day, doc.
In the next hour in the CNN NEWSROOM, we'll continue our focus on the green jobs. Gerri Willis has the list of the ten states leading the way in green job growth.
Plus, Nicole Lapin has part two of teens being forced to sell their bodies. She will introduce us to a young victim who has turned her life around, pretty dramatically, too, and she is now a successful artist.
We're back in a moment.
HARRIS: Well, today's "Survival of the Fittest" story is also a toy story. A mom who spent months looking for work was inspired to start her own small business by a drawing her daughter brought home from Girl Scouts. Meet Denise Garlow.
HARRIS (voice-over): Denise Garlow has turned her garage into a virtual Santa's workshop.
DENISE GARLOW, TOY ENTREPRENEUR: Well, it's done.
HARRIS: This 48-year-old mother of two is designing a doll she hopes will give children comfort and expand her family's budget.
D. GARLOW: A lot of things come to me when I'm sewing.
HARRIS: She stumbled upon this entrepreneurial adventure last summer after looking for a job for months.
D. GARLOW: I worked in corporate communications for Hewlett- Packard for years and I just assumed I could find something, and get back to work.
HARRIS: At the same time, her husband's consulting business dried up.
Denise was inspired by a drawing on a plate her daughter made in Girl Scouts.
D. GARLOW: She said, mommy, they're my representatives.
GRACIE GARLOW, DAUGHTER: They come as souls who are sad and lonely. They need a friend or need happiness in their life.
D. GARLOW: It just resonated deeply with me.
HARRIS: Denise came up with "The Representatives'" story lines and started writing a children's book.
D. GARLOW: Every day I would sit at the computer doing work and rewriting my resume and cover letters, and then in between doing that, I'd go over to my drawing table and work on this project. And slowly over time, it just felt like this was what I really wanted to do.
HARRIS: Ultimately, she visualizes a cartoon.
D. GARLOW: I imagine that they come to children and they flutter in front of the child's heart and they listen very carefully to what the child needs. And then their ears flush with color. Bling, bling.
HARRIS: A friend convinced her to turn it into a business.
G. GARLOW: It's pretty amazing to see something that I'd just been doodling come to life.
HARRIS: Denise bought the book "Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks for Dummies" and got started. She registered the terms, "The Representatives," "A Place of Good," which is the name of her business, and the term "song ears."
D. GARLOW: They actually listen, and their ears have notes of harmony so they hold concepts of song ears.
HARRIS: And she incorporated. The next step?
D. GARLOW: Figuring out to manufacture them and distribute them.
HARRIS: We asked her to share what she's learned about starting her own business. One, do what you can with what you have where you are. A line she stole from Teddy Roosevelt.
D. GARLOW: Friends in the legal profession will help me and guide me and help me set up the LLC.
HARRIS: Two, don't be afraid to have fun.
D. GARLOW: I started saying to myself, just start having fun again. Be -- be creative. Get back in there, start painting, start drawing.
HARRIS: Follow what she calls your heart intelligence.
D. GARLOW: If nothing comes of this in the marketplace, one of my original intentions was to just show my children how to honor their creativity, how to nurture an idea, how to take it out into the world, and to try.
HARRIS: OK. Denise hasn't brought the representatives to market yet. A group of potential investors are shopping the doll around with hopes to mass market it.
On a side note, she spent about $2,500 on materials forming a company and registering her copyrights.