Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

GOP Rep. Liz Cheney Faces Tough Primary After Criticism of Trump; Economists Remain Optimistic On U.S. Economy Amid Recession Fears; Labor Bureau: 300,000 Public School Teachers Left The Field Between February 2020 And May 2022; Study: Extreme Heat Belt To Impact 100+ Million In U.S. In Next 30 Years. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 15, 2022 - 15:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: How, Sarah, if she loses this primary tomorrow, is it clear what's next for her?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, look, she's still going to have a huge stage. She is still presiding over the January 6th Committee, these hearings. You know, she's an important member of that committee, an important voice on that committee, and we expect they are going to have more hearings in the coming months, so she's still going to be a big voice.

And it's clear she wants to be a voice for abutting Donald Trump even after that. She has not knocked down the possibility of a run in 2024. Whether she could actually get any traction I think is a big open question. But it is very clear she wants to be a voice in the Republican Party that continues to stand up to the lies Donald Trump has spread about the 2020 election.

BLACKWELL: Sara Murray for us there in Cheyenne, thank you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK Victor let's talk about the economy. Economist mark Zandi is more confident than ever, he says, that U.S. economic recovery is intact. He told CNN, quote, this is not a recession, it's not even in the same universe as a recession, it's just patently wrong to say it is.

CNN's Matt Egan joins us now. Matt, why is he so optimistic?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Alisyn, recession fears, they've been running rampant for months now, and some are even arguing that the U.S. economy is already in a recession. But the last few days we've actually had a lot of positive developments that suggested this gloom and doom is probably overdone.

First off you got to start with the jobs market. It is still booming right now. Look at this, we actually had a stronger number in July. It's accelerating. You don't -- economies that are in recession don't add half a million jobs in a single month, and that is exactly what happened in July. We also have to talk about inflation. It's still hot, but it is starting to chill out a bit relatively. Look at the consumer inflation report, 8.5 percent in July. That is

still a very high number, but it is actually down a bit. Gas prices have been one of the biggest pain points. The national average at 3.96, not cheap. But that is certainly down from a month ago -- 5.02 is the record high set in mid-June. We're down from there.

Also, consumer sentiment, it is still low, but it is starting to pick up, and the stock market for whatever that's worth, the longest weekly winning streak since last year. So, if you put all of this together, it doesn't mean the economy is in good shape, right, it's not. There are still risks out there, but it does suggest that the idea that the recession has already begun is premature.

CAMEROTA: OK, not to be Debbie downer, but what are the bad signs that you're seeing in the economy.

EGAN: Well, you've got to start with GDP. The block buster China like growth last year, 6, 7 percent. This year, we've had no growth, back- to-back quarters of negative GDP, and every time that has happened since 1948, you have had a recession. Now that alone is not enough to declare a recession has actually happened.

But there are some concerning signs, layoffs are starting to gain steam, Peloton, Soul Cycle, Best Buy in just the last few days have announced layoffs. Jobless claims are historically low but they're picking up. Manufacturing weakness, we learned just today that New York manufacturing unexpectedly collapsed in August. That's just one region, one report. But if that continues, that would be a concern.

We also have these red lights flashing, the bond market, a section of the Treasury yield curve has inverted, that has been an eerily accurate predictor of recessions in the past, and of course, the Federal Reserve is really aggressive trying to fight inflation.

What they wanted to do was raise interest rates like this. This is what they did last time, just a stair step gradual increase. What they have had to do because inflation is so hot, they've had to rapidly raise interest rates, and the risk is that they accidentally slow this economy right into the recession that everyone's trying to avoid.

CAMEROTA: OK, Matt Egan, thank you for helping us understand all of that.

EGAN: Thank you, Alisyn.

BLACKWELL: All right, the Labor Department says that 300,000 teachers have left the profession since the start of the pandemic. We'll talk about what some districts now are doing to cope.


CAMEROTA: The superintendent of the country's second largest school district is sounding the alarm on the growing teacher shortage plaguing public schools this fall. It's prompting some school districts to come up with creative incentives. CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik joins us now. So, Alison, tell us about some of these incentives.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so you're seeing school districts in different pockets of the country needing to recruit teachers. When you think about Florida, they're recruiting military veterans with no teaching experience to get them into the classroom.

You look at Texas in some rural school districts, they're actually changing the school week to a four-day school week. And then you look at Des Moines, Iowa -- love this one because it's the biggest school district in the state, and it's offering $50,000 to teachers who are currently in their positions and looking to retire.

But they're saying wait, let us convince you to stay. We'll dump $50,000 into your retirement account if you agree to stay until June 30th. These are the kinds of dire straits that a lot of these school districts are in right now.

CAMEROTA: Why are they in a teacher shortage?

KOSIK: So, this hasn't really -- this hasn't just something popped up. This is something that's actually been going on for quite a while. The American Federation of Teachers put out a report last month showing that 300,000 teachers were actually leaving the profession each year.


And this is really crazy because teachers are the backbone of our country, but for some reason, they are just leaving. Why? Well, the top reason is because of subpar pay. Teachers don't feel like they're being paid enough commensurate with other industries and it's a hot job market.

So, they're realizing that they can get paid more if they change industries. Another big reason why we're seeing teachers leave, R-E-S- P-E-C-T. They're not getting enough professional respect. They're saying treat us the way we should be treated and then we will stay.

CAMEROTA: That's reasonable.


CAMEROTA: All of those reasons are reasonable. Alison Kosik, thank you very much for explaining all of that -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Now one of the states sending students back to school this week with fewer teacher is Florida. Andrew Spar is the president of the Florida Education Association. Andrew, good to have you with us. First let's start with just the deficit there of teachers. How deep is it in Florida?

ANDREW SPAR, PRESIDENT, FLORIDA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: It's pretty bad, Victor, and, you know, right now what we're seeing in Florida is about a week and a half ago, there were 8,000 teacher vacancies, as students were preparing to come back.

There's also nearly 6,000 vacancies among our support staff, our bus drivers, our cafeteria workers, our paraprofessionals and others, who really support, and make sure our that kids are getting that education they deserve and need.

BLACKWELL: And that's important because it's not just about the staff inside the classroom. It's everyone around the student that not just Florida but states across the country, they're struggling with. I imagine you heard the report from Alison Kosik there about why generally teachers are leaving. Is that the focus of what you're hearing from teachers across the state of Florida?

SPAR: Absolutely, you know, here in the state of Florida -- and Alisyn hit it right on the head -- low pay. You know, the more experience you have in Florida -- we call it the teacher experience penalty -- the more experience you have, the smaller your pay increases are, and we literally have situations here in Florida where teachers with 25 years of experience are making less today than teachers with 25 years of experience made 15 years ago.

So, we have really seen this compression of salary, this reduction in pay, which is driving people out of the profession, and then as Alisyn said, respect is vital in this work, and when you have a governor who's literally going around the state on a regular basis, maligning teachers, vilifying teachers and staff who work in our schools, it's no wonder people are leaving in droves.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we know money can't fix everything but it can fix some things. Beyond the individual pay -- and you've made that clear is that the salaries for teachers needs to be higher. What about the funding of schools? Has that played some role in to it and into teachers leaving?

SPAR: Definitely here in Florida. Florida right now ranks 45th in the nation in funding for our schools. Down from 40th in the nation in 2010. So never in a great spot here in Florida, but we're going in the wrong direction. It means teachers don't have the resources they need to make sure that every child is getting that education they deserve and need. Of course, it impacts pay.

But it really also gets at the fact that if we are truly going to change what's happening for the education of our students, if we truly want to invest in the future of our state and our country, then we have to invest in the funding for our schools. Florida, one of the richest states in the nation is one of the worst in supporting its schools.

BLACKWELL: Florida is moving forward on this plan to allow military veterans with what's called an alternative temporary teaching certificate, but no bachelor's degree to teach. We of course thank our veterans for their service, but that doesn't mean that anyone is qualified to teach algebra any more than I am, really. So, what's your view of this proposal to bring veterans in to the classroom to fill this gap?

SPAR: So, like you said, Victor, we absolutely honor our veterans who have done amazing -- made amazing sacrifices for our country to ensure our freedom and to keep us safe. But let's be real, currently veterans come into schools here in Florida, they go through the standards that we would expect.

As a parent myself, I want to make sure that the teachers in front of my daughter are teachers who are highly trained, well credentialed and are getting the support they need to ensure that my daughter and every other child is getting the education they deserve and need. And so, I really think this also misses the mark.

You know, at the end of the day when people aren't coming into the teaching profession, look, we have lots of certified teachers in the state of Florida who have chosen to leave the profession because of the climate, because of the working conditions, because of the low pay.

If we actually come together as a community, lift up our teachers and our staff who work in our schools, respect them, pay them what they're worth or at least come closer to that, then I think we can begin to address this massive teacher and staff shortage.


We can't do it by trying to find shortcuts, and devaluing the profession even more, and that's what this really does.

BLACKWELL: And these are all the longer term solutions, you're talking about culture and pay and funding. What fixes it for this school year?

SPAR: So here in Florida, we have a primary election next Tuesday. The first thing we can do is ask every candidate running for office, what are they going to do to address the massive teacher and staff shortage in the state of Florida. From school board to state house, state Senate and even the governor's race, let's ask that question.

If they come back and talk about -- and are talking about issues that aren't directly related to keeping teachers and staff in our schools, then don't vote for them. If they're not talking about pay and investment and making sure we get young people to go into the teaching profession, then don't vote for them.

We can actually turn this around quicker than most people think. But we've got to start by having people in place that are committed to solving the challenge.

BLACKWELL: I hear that, that still, though, is a long-term challenge and kids are going back to school this week. Andrew Spar, maybe there are no easy answers here for the very short-term. Thank you so much for the conversation.

SPAR: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Well, a new warning today about what scientists call an extreme heat belt. We're going to explain why 100 million people across the U.S. could endure the hottest temperatures yet.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CAMEROTA: So, if you think this summer's heat wave has been

unbearable, brace yourself for what scientists say is on the horizon. The climate research nonprofit First Street Foundation says an extreme heat belt will bring dangerous heat indices to millions of Americans over the next 30 years, and we're talking temperatures of 125 degrees in large swaths of the country.

CAMEROTA: CNN meteorologist Tom Sater is with us now. 125 degrees -- Tom, what are we talking?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, just a couple weeks ago, Cape Girardeau, Missouri hit 126 degree heat index. This is the same group of climate scientists in the last couple of years have done reports of where in a good 30, 40 years you will not be able to live -- parts of India, Northeast China, in the Middle East. Well now they're detailing it here in the U.S.

These are counties in red that can have one day where the heat and humidity give us a heat index of 125 or higher. Now you jump a little bit and you get up a little bit more, and it goes from 8 million to 107 in just the next 30, 40 years. So much of the Midwest, a big difference from Miami-Dade County to the Mid-Atlantic. I mean, this is tremendous. This is just one day.

But if you look at these cities, there's a problem here. The human body is not changing like the climate. We can only stand so much. We have regulators, we have to keep cool. This is looking at the number of days above 100.

Now the hottest week you may have in Texas, last seven day, well now it's going to last a month. So, the duration, the number of days grows. If you have three days above 100 look for to be a week to two weeks long. Again, this is just in the next 30, 40 years.

And then out to the West you've got problems with the consecutive number of days and that's where you see hospitals get filled up with heat related illnesses. And then, how about this? These are the states where you're going to have more emissions from your air conditioning units. We're trying to reduce greenhouse gases. Are they taking this into consideration with the need for more cooling centers around the country?

CAMEROTA: Honestly Tom it's so apocalyptic. I mean, it's hard for people to hear. It makes everyone feel very helpless. I'm even reluctant to ask you about the other story but I need to because it's in the news. And that is that there's a study indicating that mega floods are now more of a threat to California than earthquakes.

SATER: Yes, this is a good one. In fact, of all the reports that have come out lately, this is my favorite because it makes a lot of sense. You know, the last seven years have been the hottest on the planet. Temperatures are going up as the temperatures rise and we're 1.2 Celsius above the industrial time, it's adding 7 percent more humidity in the air.

So just like the other report, heat and humidity, now these atmospheric rivers are dropping more rainfall. We've had three 1 in 1,000 year flood events in the last three weeks.

California in a drought, so it's like concrete, this rain hitting, you know, urban cities. This talks about the Valley. We have these atmospheric rivers. This is simulation. This is not just going to last day or two.

They're predicting in the next 40, 50 years or by the end of the century, this could last up to three to four weeks. The atmospheric rivers that move in are dropping rain at the coast and valleys but snow in the mountains.

But it's going to be too warm for snow in the mountains so it's all rain. It happened in 1861. This is amazing -- 500,000 people lived there at the time, now there's 37 million. 43 days of rain, 30 feet of water everywhere. The capital was under 10 feet, equivalent of $1 trillion.

The next disaster, if this happens again and floods the entire Central Valley, will be five times more expensive than hurricane Katrina, the most expensive that we've had. But these models, they are frightening -- like you said Alisyn.

BLACKWELL: Yes, they certainly are. Well, we've got to prepare. Tom Sater for us, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Well, prosecutors in Georgia say Rudy Giuliani is now a target of their investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. We have all the latest for you just ahead.



BLACKWELL: All right, Alisyn's favorite story of the day. New family member and the Cincinnati Zoo, his name is Fritz. He's the park's new baby hippo. He was born August 3rd. Fans around the world were invited to come up with a name, more than 220,000 people cared enough in 60 countries to vote for Fritz.

CAMEROTA: He is kind of cute. Now, zoo officials say that Fritz fits the young hippo's spunky personality. But they also, Victor, found the name funny because Fritz is here only because his mom's birth control failed or was on the fritz.


Since when is that funny? Why is that humorous?


CAMEROTA: But he is cute.

BLACKWELL: He made it into the show. I'm so happy for him.

CAMEROTA: The other possible name was Ferguson, but Fritz is, you know, more fitting. BLACKWELL: I like Fritz. I like Fritz.

CAMEROTA: I do like the back story.

All right and I apologize for this segue, but "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.