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CNN 10

Terror Plot Uncovered; Deficits Explained

Aired October 19, 2012 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Fridays may be awesome, but we are asking about a different day of the week in today`s "Shoutout." A lot of ground to cover before we get there, though, so let`s go ahead and get started.

An alleged plot to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, that`s where we start today. Federal authorities say, they`ve broken it up and arrested the suspect as part of an undercover investigation. The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States. This one in New York is a regional branch of it. Officials say the suspect was planning to set off an explosion there with what he thought was a 1000 pound bomb. No, it wasn`t real. The false explosives came from an undercover agent. Quazi Nafis is 21 years old. He`s from Bangladesh, came to the U.S. on a student visa. But prosecutors say, his real goal was to carry out a terrorist attack. He was arrested after he tried to set off the device.

There are a lot of ways to pay for college. Scholarships, financial aid, savings, working through it. Another option is student loans. Now, those have to be repaid, and a new report says today`s college seniors are graduating with more student loan debt, more money that has to be repaid than ever before.

This report says, the two thirds of the class of 2011 had student loan debt, and the average borrower owed nearly $27,000. Part of this depends on what school you go to. At the colleges this study looked at, the low into the average debt per graduate was 3,000, the high end, more than 55,000. A couple of explanations were offered for the debt increase from previous years. One is rising tuition prices, the other is the tough job market for college graduates looking for work.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s the word? The amount by which spending exceeds income.

Deficit. That`s the word.


AZUZ: Right now, the U.S. government is running a deficit, it has been for years, it`s the topic that comes up a lot in politics, and as you might expect, it`s come up a lot in this year`s presidential campaign. In fact, during this week`s debate, between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the word deficit came up nearly 20 times. Both candidates have plans for how to do with it, Tom Foreman compares their ideas.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Both candidates have made it a cornerstone of this election to talk about the deficit, the difference between how much money our government is spending and how much it is taking in in taxes. This is the deficit right now, $1,090,000,000,00. If we all wanted to pay it off, every man, woman and child in the country would have to kick in about $3500. That`s a lot, and yet each candidate says confidently, I can reduce the deficit. How would they do that? Well, first, let`s talk about what they agree on.

They all say that we`re going to have to contain the spending of the government and control it, but we`re also going to have to rewrite the tax code, and we have to get the economy moving again, because that`s what going to produce money and revenue, and really solve the problem, but beyond that, they don`t agree on much.

Let`s look at the Romney plan first. If these were to represent everything he wants to spend money on, and he needs this much to cover it, he knows he`s not going to get it, because he has a deficit. So, how is he going to deal with that deficit? He says he is going to do it with tax cuts. Now, tax cuts initially are going to make the deficit worse, so he needs to offset them. He says he is going to do that by looking at deductions and loopholes, things that people use to avoid paying taxes. Says, he won`t go after things like the mortgage deduction, or the health care deduction, things that many middle class people rely on, at least he suggests he won`t go after those, but that`s the problem. Economists say, if you grab up all the other deductions that you might put on wealthier people and you put them all back in this pile, it`s not going to be enough, you are going to end up eventually having to tax the middle class or watching the deficit just get bigger, at least based on the plan as I know it right now.

Barack Obama, he has different version of the same song. He`s got all the things he wants to pay for, he also will not have all the money he needs for it. He is going to have a deficit, too, and he says you can deal with it by taxing the wealthy. This is a popular plan with many voters, but it also has a fundamental flaw. There are just not that many wealthy people in the country. If you define wealthy as being people who individually make more than $200,000 a year, as he often does, for every one there is like that in the country, this is how many there are who don`t make that much money. You would have to tax these person at a much higher rate than the White House is talking about to solve this problem, and even then you probably wouldn`t get enough money to really make up the deficit. The simple truth is, both of these plans are woefully short on important details to tell us if they would really reduce the deficit.


PELLEY: All right, discussing politics with your friends, that can be kind of tricky, especially if you don`t agree on every issue. It could lead to some arguments, it could lead to some hurt feelings, but doing it online? That could lead to some downright unfriendingness. Karin Caifa takes a look at how this year`s presidential election is effecting some people`s friends and followers on social media.


KARIN CAIFA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: While the candidates have squared off here and here and here, another intense debate has played out here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you get a chance to watch debates, you can kind of just go on Facebook and figure out exactly what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we go back and forth, I don`t know, I mean there are statuses in mind, we do, we do that a lot.

CAIFA: Social media traffic during the major political events has exploded during the 2012 campaign season, and soak in emotions as Facebook and Twitter feeds get jammed with more political statements than ever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are some times entertaining, I just usually ignore them most of the time.

CAIFA: Some time it`s too much to ignore. A survey from the Pew Research Center earlier this year found roughly one in five social media users has cut someone off for a political post that went too far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got personal, I said, no, no. You are out! You are out!

CAIFA: But for every post that makes you want to hit delete, think about this, Kelly Fincham, assistant professor at Hofstra University, says that not having any debate among connections may not be good either.

KELLY FINCHAM, HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY: It does act a little bit like an echo chain. You are usually following people who they are already your friends. It`s harder to hear other opinions. So it`s harder to seek out alternative opinions and voices.

CAIFA: Users can always hide updates from friends or followers during big political events, or until the electoral overload stops after November 6th. In Hempstead, New York, I`m Karin Caifa.


AZUZ: So, this brings up an interesting question, would you un-friend someone for making political statements you didn`t agree with? Would you just hide their posts or would you just ignore it. We are asking on our blog today, if you head to CNN STUDENT NEWS.COM you can tell us what you think, but only if you use your first name, no last initials, no classes.

If you`ve never been in a plane and flown over a landmark, the captain might get on the speaker and draw your attention to it. It`s kind of what happened on an Air Canada flight this week. The plane was almost at the end of a 14-hour flight to Australia when the captain dropped down from 37,000 feet to 4,000 feet. Then he asked people to peek out the window and see if they could find something. This yacht, it was stranded out on the water, no fuel, broken mast, the sailor set off an emergency signal. Officials asked the Air Canada flight if it could help out, and the people onboard did. Passengers and crew spotted him, authorities eventually arrived to pick up the sailor. Total time from when he set off the signal to when he was spotted by the plane, 25 minutes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Mrs. Rader`s social studies classes at Warren Hills Regional Middle School in Washington, New Jersey.

The U.S. presidential election is traditionally held on what day of the week? Here we go, is it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. You`ve got three seconds, go!

The presidential election is held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: Tuesday is also when new video games are traditionally released. The new "Halo" comes out on Tuesday, November 6. That date, the day of U.S. presidential election.

This was the kind of line that formed when "Halo 3" came out in 2007, people going to stores for midnight release parties. Some folks are wondering if this year`s release could impact the election. One point of view says people who are motivated to vote, are going to vote. Another says, people might skip voting to dive into the new game. What do you say? If you are already on Facebook, talk to us at

And finally, that old cliche about being sent to bed without your dinner? I think this is the exact opposite. These twins are so totally tuckered out, they are slipping in their sleep, as they slurp up spaghetti. The one on the left gave in pretty quickly, the one on the right keeps chewing, even as he nods off. Youtube video is great, and it`s understandable: you`ve got kids who are obviously ready for bed. Even with the temptation of delicious spaghetti, you can`t expect them to stay awake pasta certain point. All right. How do we come up with brilliant puns like that one? You just got to use your noodle. That eats up our time for the day. Have a great weekend, and we`ll see you on Monday.