(CNN Student News) -- March 2, 2009
Winners & Losers - Consider how the federal budget proposal might impact some Americans.
What Recession? - Travel to a city that appears to be immune from the current recession.
Spices of Life - Discover how some spices might help your health as they flavor your food.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: We are kicking off the month of March here at CNN Student News, though you might not know it from the weather outside our studio at the CNN Center. Hi, everyone. I'm Carl Azuz.
First Up: Winter Storm
AZUZ: Brace yourselves. March is coming in like a lion, and it's bringing a heavy coating of winter weather for the eastern U.S. Winter storm warnings stretched from Maine all the way down to the Carolinas this weekend. Snow flurries struck other southern states as well, blanketing parts of Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. Experts predicted the most intense snowfall would take place in the New England area, dumping up to 15 inches between last night and this morning.
AZUZ: Shifting from white to green, we want to take a closer look at that federal budget proposal President Obama released last week. This is not the stimulus package; that's already been passed. The budget is an overall tally of the government's spending and saving. Congress still has to pass it, which could happen later this year. But Candy Crowley looks at some of the potential winners and losers based on this first proposal.
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CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is not a book of numbers; it's a sea change.
ROBERT REICH, FORMER U.S. LABOR SECRETARY: This is a transformational budget. This is the first budget I have seen since the Reagan era, since Reagan's first budget, that really made a fundamental statement: "We are going in a different direction, folks."
CROWLEY: A leading Republican voice actually agrees with that analysis, with considerable less enthusiasm.
NEWT GINGRICH, (R) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: I think it is the boldest effort to create a European socialist model we have seen. I think it's quite clear what his values and his attitude is.
CROWLEY: Losers include upper income seniors who will pay more for prescription drugs; farmers with sales over $500,000 who will lose their subsidies; households making over $250,000 who will get a tax increase. One person with taxable income of $200,000 will pay, on average, $6,000 more. A family of four with a $500,000 income will see their taxes go up, on average, $11,300. Also hitting the upper brackets, a tax increase on capital gains and limits on deductions, including mortgage interest and charitable contributions.
Winners: middle and lower class taxpayers and the poor. According to the Office of Management and Budget, on average, a family of four making $76,000 would see their taxes lowered by $800. The same family making $35,000 would see taxes reduced by $1,200. They will also benefit from huge spending increases in education, energy and, most of all, new healthcare plans as yet unspecified.
It is the end of Reaganomics and the beginning of Obamanomics. Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
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AZUZ: Tax cuts, more than $200 billion worth, are part of the government's stimulus package as well. Of course, the goal of that measure is to help get the country out of recession. But as Gary Tuchman explains, there are some places that don't need any help because they're not feeling the effects of the recession at all!
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GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Whatever happened to those bullish economic days when the housing market was vibrant, when there were plenty of jobs, when government budgets had surpluses? Those days still exist, but probably not where you are. You have to come where I am, to Fargo, North Dakota, where the typical morning temperature this time of year is around zero, and the unemployment rate isn't much higher. Dennis Walaker is the mayor of Fargo.
TUCHMAN: Is the city of Fargo, North Dakota in recession?
MAYOR DENNIS WALAKER, FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA: No, we are not.
TUCHMAN: The unemployment rate is 3.4%, so low that most economists consider it full employment. At Appareo Systems, an aerospace firm, the 44 employees here are not enough.
DAVID BATCHELLER, APPAREO SYSTEMS: So, we're going to grow more than 50% this year in personnel and more than 100% in revenue.
TUCHMAN: This iron worker is so busy he has no time to talk to me on the ground.
IRON WORKER, FARGO NORTH DAKOTA: And away we go!
TUCHMAN: OK, let's go. So, how's business out here?
IRON WORKER: It's really good.
TUCHMAN: The wind chill temperature in the negative digits doesn't seem to cool the workers' outlook here as they build an office building.
TUCHMAN: So, there's lots of projects now?
IRON WORKER: Absolutely.
TUCHMAN: You can always find work?
IRON WORKER: Absolutely. You can quit your job today and go find another job, easy.
TUCHMAN: Business downtown is booming. The housing market is still decent. So, homes aren't losing value in Fargo?
WALAKER: No, they are not.
TUCHMAN: And North Dakota has the largest budget surplus in the nation, one of only four states with a surplus this year. Yes, North Dakota has oil production and agriculture. But so do lots of places. What seems unique in this region?
WALAKER: We didn't get caught up in the subprime mortgages. And I think our bankers need to be significantly applauded for that.
TUCHMAN: The Gate City Bank is one of the largest in North Dakota.
TUCHMAN: Do you think you make less money because you don't give riskier loans?
STEVE SWIONTEK, CEO, GATE CITY BANK: Yes, I believe we do. But that's OK.
TUCHMAN: North Dakotans seem to believe conservative bankers and savers have helped keep their economy steady over the years. Not too many highs, not too many lows.
SWIONTEK: We have well over 12,000+ mortgage loans that we service, and we had three foreclosures last year. And this year, I don't see it to be much greater. It could be three to five.
TUCHMAN: There is concern here. Business isn't as robust as it was a few months ago, and the unemployment office is a bit busier. But...
BATCHELLER: Somebody I was talking to said, "Well, we're not signing up for the recession."
TUCHMAN: Even in the frigid cold, the iron is still hot. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Fargo, North Dakota.
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ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Which of the following is a spice? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Marjoram, B) Cumin, C) Dill or D) Thyme? You've got three seconds -- GO! Cumin is the only spicy option here; the others are all herbs. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: The difference is that spices are dried and mostly come from plant fruits. Herbs are plant leaves that can be used either fresh or dried. Both can add some serious flavoring to your food. And it turns out, some of those spices might help your health at the same time. Doctor Sanjay Gupta fills us in on the details.
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DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We're here in Old Delhi in the spice market. This may be one of the largest spice markets in all of Asia. Just look around you, all these carts and all these various stalls piled high with spices. I've got to tell you, just being here reminds me very much of my mother. Our house was always filled with the distinctive smell of spices everywhere. She cooked these tasty, delicious foods; they're often served with a healthy dose of "it's good for you." That's what she always said. Well, it turns out she may have been right. Science is starting to catch up with my mom.
Several examples of spices here that have health benefits; cumin for example. Cumin is a very tasty sort of seed. It's thought to ward off prostrate cancer, help with indigestion and asthma as well. When it comes to the star of the spice world, that title may belong to turmeric. It's got that golden, yellow color, so distinctive. It is thought to boost brain power by warding of those plaques that can sometimes cause Alzheimer's. There's also chili pepper. Everyone thinks of chili pepper when they think of spices. They are very, very hot. I've had them. If they are too hot for you, know this, that you can get some of the beneficial effects of chili peppers without ever eating them. They take these chili peppers, put them into a body cream and use the active ingredient, known as capsaicin, to help reduce arthritis. And finally, ginger. Ginger is a staple of just about any Asian diet. One of the benefits of ginger: it can help reduce motion sickness.
So, just some of the health benefits of the spices that we see here. I think I'm going to buy some. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, reporting from India.
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AZUZ: Well, Cody spiced up our blog. He said, "I really think you need to handle Mondays better. You're like a zombie!" I hope this wakes you up, buddy! What's on Jacob's mind is the economy: "It's taking down our standard of living and is always on the news," he says.
From the Official CNN Student News Facebook page: Alex says President Obama's new stimulus plan "is going to put our nation into basically a black hole where we cannot rise from. He's going to create a weak country." But Cailin responds, "Although the stimulus plan will pull us deeper into debt, it's necessary. To avoid major deflation, something needs to be stimulating to our economy." And David noted, "Ever since the crash in the Hudson, I have wondered actually how hard it is to set the plane down the way the pilot did. You listen to the radio, and he seems so calm." Our blog's always open at CNNStudentNews.com, and find us on Facebook by searching "CNN Student News Official." Be sure to make it "official."
Before We Go
AZUZ: We have a new video up on our Facebook page, so log on and check it out. Now, before we go, what is this thing?!? The curious case of a peculiar creature. It's actually a cat whose name is, I swear I'm not making this up, Ugly. You've probably noticed that the furry feline is, well, not really so furry. In fact, he's hairless everywhere except for that massive mane on his chest. The doctor's office where he hangs out says Ugly has a beautiful personality.
AZUZ: With looks like that, he'd better. We'll be back tomorrow with more CNN Student News. Hope to see you then.