(CNN Student News) -- November 12, 2008
How it Hurts - Explore how rising unemployment is affecting the U.S. job market.
Leading by Example - Discover how a Japanese airline executive keeps himself grounded.
Scalping History? - Examine the controversial cost of tickets to the U.S. inauguration.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Not only do we honor those who have worn the uniform, those who are wearing the uniform, we honor their families, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts. We have a moral obligation to support our families, and we have a moral obligation to support our veterans.
First Up: Salute to Veterans
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: President Bush, paying tribute to the nation's veterans yesterday. Hi, I'm Carl Azuz. Welcome to CNN Student News. Americans honored members of the U.S. armed forces in ceremonies all across the country. Mr. Bush's successor, President-elect Barack Obama, marked Veterans Day by taking part in a wreath-laying ceremony in Chicago. He pledged that America should serve all those who have served the country in uniform.
AZUZ: Turning to the economy now, and an insurance giant that's getting some heat over a conference in Arizona. The controversy here is that AIG received a federal bailout back in September, and this conference it had cost more than $340,000. The company says the event was aimed at boosting income, and that sponsors covered most of the bill. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is looking to help the real estate market. They're planning to adjust mortgage payments on loans owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The government took over both those companies earlier this year.
Word to the Wise
ERIC GERSHON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
severance (noun) money or benefits given to an employee who has been laid off
AZUZ: Those layoffs are happening all over. Last month, the country's unemployment rate hit 6.5 percent. That's the highest it's been in more than 14 years, and it's left more people competing for jobs that just aren't there. Ed Lavandera examines the shrinking market.
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ED LAVANDERA, CNN REPORTER: If there's a silver lining to unemployment, this is it for Alan Cannefax: helping coach his son's football team. Cannefax lost his job as an Internet creative director six months ago. The severance package runs out next month. He and his wife are making a list of what will be cut from the family budget. The stress is building.
ALAN CANNEFAX, UNEMPLOYED WORKER: A couple of days ago, I just went through a bout of anxiety, thinking, you know, "Oh my gosh, where are we going to go? What are we going to do?" This is my Web site.
LAVANDERA: Cannefax created a Web site to showcase his work: ThisDudeRocks.com. He networks and picks up freelance work. He's only been invited to two interviews. He finds companies are laying off just as quickly as they might hire.
CANNEFAX: It's tough. Once the door you see is open, all of a sudden, you walk up to it and it's suddenly shut.
LAVANDERA: Business doors across the country are closing, tens of thousands of jobs disappearing, leaving workers everywhere feeling desperate, like at this job fair.
JOB SEEKER: My usual response that I'm getting these days is that my resume looks good, but that people don't have the money to hire me.
JOB SEEKER: I've already consoled myself to the fact that I'm not probably going to find the same type of paying job.
LAVANDERA: Many people looking for work say they're amazed at how so many different types of people are hurting. And those who do have jobs say they constantly worry that they'll be the next victims of the latest rounds of cutbacks or layoffs.
ASHLEY PORFILIO, JOB SEEKER: I know it may be entry level.
LAVANDERA: Ashley Porfilio has seen her commission-based income cut in half. She works in the mortgage industry. And even with a masters degree, the job hunt is dismal.
PORFILIO: I'm not hearing back from anybody. I've applied for 150 jobs.
LAVANDERA: Alan Cannefax says he'll look for temporary retail work this holiday season. So, until the next job comes around, Cannefax will enjoy football season.
CANNEFAX: Connor. Connor. Connor. You've got to wait. It's ok, son, come on.
LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: As the economy struggles and employees lose their jobs, some lawmakers have criticized executives at the top of major companies who are getting large salaries and bonuses, even when they're laid off. Kyung Lah introduces us to a corporate executive in Japan, though, who's leading by example.
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KYUNG LAH, CNN REPORTER: After his morning commute on the city bus, Haruka Nishimatsu heads into the office and gets busy at his desk with the rest of his Japan Airlines coworkers. At lunch, he lines up in the cafeteria and hopes lunch doesn't get too cold as he waits to pay. Not exactly the glamorous life you'd expect from the CEO of one of the world's top ten international airlines. Is it so strange, asks Nishimatsu.
HARUKA NISHIMATSU, JAL PRESIDENT & CEO: I don't think so. So strange, deska.
LAH: Perhaps that's why when JAL slashed jobs and asked older employees to retire early, Nishimatsu cut every single one of his corporate perks, and then for three years running slashed his own pay. In 2007, he made about $90,000 U.S., less than what his pilots earn.
LAH: "The employees who took early retirement are the same generation and age as me. I thought I should share the pain with them, so I changed my salary." Nishimatsu shrugs it off, saying it's not a big deal.
LAH: But that certainly stands in contrast to this: CEOs in the United States being grilled by Congress over perceived corporate excesses, ballooning salaries and bonuses. When we mentioned to Nishimatsu that the top paid U.S. CEOs make tens of millions, in some cases nearly $200 million a year, and yes, that's in dollars...
NISHIMATSU: (IN JAPANESE) Dollar? In U.S. dollar. Ahhh.
LAH: Can you imagine making that much?
LAH: In Japan, says Nishimatsu, there's less of a pay gap between the top and the bottom. "We in Japan learned during the bubble economy that businesses who pursue money first fail. The business world has lost sight of this basic tenet of business ethics." Nishimatsu says his airline has a long, difficult recovery ahead. As far as his pay, he's dug into his savings like the rest of us.
NISHIMATSU (TRANSLATED): The air conditioning broke, and the water heater, and the car. My wife is still telling me, "This is all your fault."
LAH: But relating to what his employees and his passengers are feeling and living in the global slowdown might be the ticket to his airline's own survival. Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.
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GERSHON: Time for the Shoutout! Where will President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration take place? Is it at the: A) U.S. Capitol, B) White House, C) Lincoln Memorial or D) U.S. Supreme Court? You've got three seconds -- GO! On January 20th, President-elect Obama will be sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: 250,000 tickets have already been printed for that event. Normally, these things are just handed out. But some brokers are asking people to dig deep if they want one, and spend a lot more than you've paid for any kind of ticket. Brianna Keilar explores the issue.
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BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN REPORTER: It's the hottest ticket in town: the 2009 presidential inauguration. And it's free! At least, it's supposed to be.
KEILAR: How much would one of the VIP seats be? $13,000?
KEILAR: Huge demand has turned what's traditionally a giveaway into a thriving online marketplace. Our quick search of the Internet found site after site, many of them legitimate ticket brokers, promising a view of Barack Obama being sworn in as the next president for a precious price.
KEILAR: I'm looking at reserve VIP. $20,377?
KEILAR: Howard Gantman is the Senate staffer tasked with pulling off Washington's biggest event.
KEILAR: Is it against the spirit of the event for these tickets to be sold?
HOWARD GANTMAN, JOINT CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE ON INAUGURAL CEREMONIES: Well, we think it's absolutely insane to be selling those tickets. We understand some people wanna try to make a buck, but for those people thinking of buying tickets, it's buyer beware.
KEILAR: Ticket brokers are middlemen, selling tickets they say they buy from Hill staffers or people who get them free of charge, through their members of Congress. But because those tickets are only given out at the last minute, Gantman says brokers can't be sure they will get as many as they've sold.
KEILAR: You could end up in a hotel room with nothing more than a refund.
GANTMAN: Quite possibly. There are no tickets available now. The tickets will be distributed less than a week before the event.
KEILAR: Congressional staffers caught selling theirs could be fired.
GANTMAN: We are gonna be alerting all members of Congress that it is against the code of ethics for staff or members to sell these tickets to the public.
KEILAR: But ultimately, Gantman says it's inevitable some will be sold, and some people will pay cutthroat prices to witness history. Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.
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Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, it's lights out for NASA's Mars Lander. The craft touched down on the Red Planet's arctic region back in May. Of course, it was summer then, when the sun is constantly in the sky in that part of the planet. So there was plenty of light to fuel the solar-powered lander as it dug around the surface. But with winter's arrival and a big dust storm, there went the sun, and the spacecraft went silent.
AZUZ: And so am I! But just until tomorrow. We'll see you then for more CNN Student News.