Articles on this Page
- 06/21/13--09:14: _In Photos: Brazilia...
- 06/21/13--10:30: _Sunday's Supermoon:...
- 06/21/13--13:44: _Conversation: Novel...
- 06/21/13--15:02: _One Million Protest...
- 06/21/13--15:06: _In Brazil, Enormous...
- 06/21/13--15:12: _News Wrap: Monsoon ...
- 06/21/13--15:15: _Should Immigrants B...
- 06/21/13--15:24: _Exploring the Psych...
- 06/21/13--15:33: _Shields and Brooks ...
- 06/21/13--15:43: _Author Jeff Chu, Ev...
- 06/21/13--15:47: _For One Gay Christi...
- 06/21/13--17:16: _Shields and Brooks ...
- 06/23/13--21:44: _Live Blog of Suprem...
- 06/24/13--03:42: _Austin Musicians Do...
- 06/24/13--05:34: _Border Security Sen...
- 06/24/13--06:37: _Supreme Court Decis...
- 06/24/13--09:26: _When It Might Actua...
- 06/24/13--10:44: _Mexican Amusement P...
- 06/24/13--11:40: _Geek Alert: Why Do ...
- 06/24/13--11:49: _Republican Strategi...
- 06/21/13--09:14: In Photos: Brazilian Protesters Clash With Police
- 06/21/13--10:30: Sunday's Supermoon: Overhyped?
- 06/21/13--13:44: Conversation: Novelist Colum McCann, Author of 'TransAtlantic'
- 06/21/13--15:12: News Wrap: Monsoon Ravages Northern India
- 06/21/13--15:15: Should Immigrants Be Required to Learn English?
- 06/21/13--15:33: Shields and Brooks on Farm Bill Failure, Obama in Berlin
- 06/21/13--17:16: Shields and Brooks LIVE Doubleheader
- 06/23/13--21:44: Live Blog of Supreme Court Decisions Monday
- 06/24/13--03:42: Austin Musicians Don't Let Their Babies Grow Up Without Health Care
- 06/24/13--05:34: Border Security Senate Vote Barometer for Immigration Bill's Fate
- 06/24/13--06:37: Supreme Court Decisions: Affirmative Action Reaction Live
- 06/24/13--09:26: When It Might Actually Make Sense to Take Social Security Early
- 06/24/13--10:44: Mexican Amusement Park Offers Fake Border Crossing Attraction
- 06/24/13--11:40: Geek Alert: Why Do Data Stories?
- 06/24/13--11:49: Republican Strategist Examines Immigration Reform's Chances
View photos of Brazil's protests in the city of Curitiba.
An estimated million people crowded Brazilian streets overnight, capping a week's worth of anti-government protests. Despite attempts to keep the demonstrations peaceful, by chanting "No violence! No violence!", some people smashed windows and burned buildings.
The protesters reportedly don't have a common message, but some are disturbed that the country is pouring billions into preparing for the World Cup and Olympics, while they feel education and health care are being neglected.
President Dilma Rousseff called an emergency Cabinet meeting on Friday to address the unrest.
Vinicius Ferreira of Youth Journalism International, which has a partnership with our Extra student and teacher website, took photos of the clashes between protesters and riot police in the city of Curitiba in southern Brazil, about 210 miles southwest of Sao Paulo.
Related ResourcesIn April 2012, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff met in Washington with President Obama on issues of education, energy and trade: Watch Video
The nearside of the moon. Photo by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera.
A message to the skywatchers: tilt your head back after nightfall on Sunday, and you'll see the closest full moon of the year -- a phenomenon known as a "supermoon."
Except it's not all that super, and it's not really a phenomenon. In fact, the term "supermoon" was coined not by a scientist, but by an astrologer. And unless you're uniquely in tune with the brightness and largeness of the moon on other nights, you likely won't notice a difference.
But, NASA scientists say, any excuse to look at the moon makes up for the lack of geophysical significance.
But let's back up. The moon takes an elliptical shape as it orbits the Earth, which means once every month it is closer to Earth than normal - that's known as perigee. On Sunday, the moon will be 10 percent closer than an average perigee -- the closest all year -- and about 12 percent bigger.
But can the human eye discern a 12 percent difference?
"Not really," said Michelle Thaller, an astronomer at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center. "The human eye can't really pick that out. It's going to be a beautiful, bright, slightly larger full moon."
There is no correlation between a supermoon and any sort of disaster as some have suggested, like an earthquake or tidal wave, she stressed. Though it could make tides about an inch higher.
Still, it's a good excuse for moonwatching. So in the spirit of the occasion, we have some tips from lunar scientists on how to look at the moon.
In the Northern hemisphere, we talk about the man on the moon -- volcanic markings that some say look like a face. But the southern hemisphere -- Australia, for example -- sees the moon upside down relative to the U.S. There, they say it looks like a rabbit or a frog, Thaller said.
The dark spots on the moon are lava flows -- volcanic plains that formed 2 to 3 billion years ago. Asteroids slammed into the moon, cracking it's crust, and lava flowed up, filling huge empty space. That's now made up of big lava plains, dark because they have the reflectivity of a lump of coal.
In the moon's brighter regions, you're seeing the ancient crust that formed 4.5 billion years ago. And then there are the lunar craters, bowl-shaped depressions, formed also by large impacts from asteroids crashing into the moon's surface.
"On Earth, you don't have a lot of old rocks that go back that far," said Noah Petro, a research scientist at the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center. "Because we have wind and weather and rain and plate tectonics, the crust of the Earth gets recycled."
But on the moon, these features are preserved over 3 or 4 billion years.
"Just looking at the moon, you see the history of the solar system," Thaller said. "You see things hitting and cracking the crust of the moon."
So has the supermoon been overhyped?
"As part of the machine that's overhyping it, yes and no," Petro said. Although the supermoon will have no real geophyiscal impact, "it's a day during the year that we can talk about the moon, which is really important."
QUICK BITESFrom Science News: An invisibility cloak hides this goldfish:
And more on how it works here.
From BoingBoing: "So, here's a new writing nightmare. What do you do if, after your book is published, and the reviews start to come in, it slowly dawns on you that you've accidentally written the wrong book ... a book which you would not actually agree with? "
Turns out billion-year-old water doesn't taste so good. Researchers at the University of Toronto said pockets of water isolated far below the earth's surface taste "extremely salty," and have the "consistency of very light maple syrup," the Los Angeles Times reports.
Princeton University sponsored a competition for scientifically derived works of art. An explanation of some of the winning images and thumbnails of the winning slides can be found here:
Check out the interactive panorama from NASA's Curiosity rover. Try full screen mode. Wired reports.
Rebecca Jacobson, Patti Parson and David Pelcyger contributed to this report.
Frederick Douglass traveling through Ireland in 1845 to stir up support for his abolitionist cause. The first non-stop flight across the Atlantic in 1919. Sen. George Mitchell in 1998 trying to forge a peace treaty in Northern Ireland.
Those actual people and events are at the heart of a fictional story in the new novel "TransAtlantic." Author Colum McCann has himself crossed that ocean: born in Ireland, living in New York. His previous novel, "Let the Great World Spin," won the National Book Award.
Watch an excerpt of "TransAtlantic" read by Colum McCann.Watch Video
A transcript will be added soon.
JEFFREY BROWN: Brazil braced today for more mass protests, after crowds filled the streets overnight in more than 100 cities. At least a million people took part, the most since the demonstrations started more than a week ago.
As in days past, it was mostly peaceful, with more than 300,000 people marching in Rio de Janeiro alone. Then, as on some previous nights, trouble started. Masked youths challenged riot police and pitched battles erupted. The air crackled with police firing rubber bullets and lobbing tear gas into the crowds. At least 40 people were injured.
MAN: We have stopped here and we aren't doing anything, but they came out with the horses into us. And now look.
MAN: Who is violent? The police, throwing gas. There are people living here. All of them have families, kids, elderly people, and all of them are fighting for their rights. We want nothing more than justice, just justice.
JEFFREY BROWN: In the capital, Brasilia, protesters smashed windows and broke into government buildings. By daybreak, broken glass and debris littered the streets.
Back in Rio, many said they support the protests, but condemn the vandalism and crime.
RONALDO LIMA, Tax Assistant: The people are right to be demanding their rights, but only up to a certain point. When it's a question of breaking into shops, looting, stealing things, this has nothing to do with the protest movement.
DEISE ALBERTO, Veterinarian: I think that the people are really doing the right thing. Only, things appear to be getting out of control. Someone needs to take the lead of this and guide the people, using all this energy and really achieve a positive change.
JEFFREY BROWN: The protests started last week over a 20-cent fare hike on public transit. When police in Sao Paulo cracked down on a small demonstration, thousands surged into the streets to vent other grievances, as they did last night.
LUIS FELIPE, Student: It's a lot more than simply 20 cents. It's education. It's health. It's a lot of things combined.
VICTOR HASHIMOTO, Student: Just lowering the bus fare isn't going to convince me that they are going to improve Brazil. For me, the 20 cents isn't significant.
JEFFREY BROWN: What is significant for many is the huge public spending to prepare for hosting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. More millions will go to receive Pope Francis when he visits next month.
Many argue the money should be spent to improve schools and bring down the sky-high costs of health care. On Tuesday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff denounced the violence, but acknowledged the protesters must be heard.
PRESIDENT DILMA ROUSSEFF, Brazil: This direct message from the streets is to improve civility, for better schools, for better hospitals, for better health services, and for the right to participate. This direct message from the streets is to demand quality public transport at fair prices.
JEFFREY BROWN: Otherwise, she has said little about the spreading unrest. She held an emergency closed-door Cabinet meeting this afternoon, but made no comment afterward.
Meanwhile, on social media, calls are growing for a general strike next week. For now, the country's top unions say no plans are in the works.
JEFFREY BROWN: A short time ago, Margaret Warner spoke with Matthew Cowley, Sao Paulo bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal.
MARGARET WARNER: Matthew Cowley, welcome.
What is the latest news today after that night of violent protests last night? Have the protests resumed?
MATTHEW COWLEY, The Wall Street Journal: Hi. Good evening.
Yes, the protests have resumed, but on a much smaller scale, very sporadic and not really sort of organized. They're not part of this big movement that we have seen over the last two weeks. I think in the meantime, what we're watching to see is what happens to this broader public enthusiasm that's built up for these protests and how this is going to be channeled, because it will go far beyond just this one issue of the bus fares.
And there are other issues that people are concerned about as well.
MARGARET WARNER: Well, what is at the heart of the discontent? There's a woman in our piece saying it's about health, it's about education. What is she talking about?
MATTHEW COWLEY: Brazil has made enormous progress over the last 10 or 15 years. The economy is far more stable and is in a much better place than it was before.
But what's happened now over the last two or three years is that we have seen quite a sharp slowdown in growth and an uptick in inflation. And I think those two things combined have fed through into frustration, a broader frustration that people have learned, have appreciated and have come to understand the benefits of having an -- economic stability.
They see where the country should be going, and they have had a taste for a bit of equality, a bit more of an improvement in quality of life, and now they're concerned that they're going away, that that is slipping out of their hands.
MARGARET WARNER: And why has the hosting of the World Cup, what, a year from now, and the Olympics become such a sort of rallying cry of this protest?
MATTHEW COWLEY: Well, I think we have to remember that this -- these protests have, by coincidence, come at the same time as a warm-up tournament for next year's World Cup. It's called the Confederations Cup.
These enormous stadiums that were built to host these events are being used for the very first time. And so all of a sudden they're a symbol people can look to and they can see. And I think basically this isn't Brazil -- this isn't Brazilians turning their backs on soccer. Brazilians love soccer.
What this is, is just a frustration that an awful lot of effort and an awful lot of money, of course, has been put into building these stadiums, and they wonder why the same amount of effort and the same amount of money isn't put into things that are going to affect them on their -- in their daily lives, so, health, health care, education, public transportation.
MARGARET WARNER: Well, the president -- well, first of all, how has the president responded, Dilma Rousseff, and her leftist ruling party government?
MATTHEW COWLEY: Well, I think it's very difficult for governments to respond to these types of protests.
Remember, Brazil is a democracy. It's not an authoritarian regime in any way. And so all of a sudden, when a big protest movement like this evolves basically on social networks, on Facebook and Twitter, then, without core leadership, without any particular person you can necessarily sit down and negotiate with, then it's very hard for traditional political systems to respond.
That said, I think the president has come in for criticism in the last couple of days because she's been relatively silent. She did address the nation on Tuesday, and she did discuss the protests at the same time, and she tried to identify herself with the protests, and she said that this was a demonstration of how vibrant Brazil's democracy is.
But since then, there hasn't been -- there has been nothing from the president. And, of course, we had this huge, huge protest last night on Thursday night with more than a million or around a million people across numerous cities all over Brazil, and yet we have had very little leadership from the central government.
And so I think there has been some criticism. And we are expecting the -- the president did meet today with some of her senior ministers, senior advisers to discuss the events. And there is an expectation that she may address the nation on television this evening, though we haven't had any confirmation of that as of yet.
MARGARET WARNER: And, briefly, is there one central demand? Is there any kind of central demand, something that she could respond to in an effort to calm these protests?
MATTHEW COWLEY: I think that's exactly the problem. There isn't a single answer to this. It's a much -- a broader sort of feeling of frustration, rather than a single thing that you can come out and say, right, I'm going to deal with this today.
So I think that's what creates a lot of the uncertainty. And I think that's what makes life very difficult for the politicians of all creeds.
MARGARET WARNER: Matthew Crowley of The Wall Street Journal, thank you.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The death toll soared today in the monsoon flooding that's ravaged Northern India. The chief minister of Uttarakhand state reportedly -- reported nearly 600 people have been killed in the mountainous region. More than 30,000 others have been rescued so far, with another 50,000 stranded in up to 100 towns and villages. The Indian air force used helicopters today to fly in food and medicine to the displaced.
More and more people were forced to evacuate their homes in Calgary, Canada, today as floodwaters there rose. Officials estimated as many as 100,000 people may have to move to higher ground. The two rivers that flow through Calgary have risen rapidly after four inches of rain fell over the past two days in southern Alberta. Only one of the rivers has reached its peak.
In Singapore, air pollution set more records as a thick haze drifted across from forest fires in Indonesia. The fires burned out of control in peat swamp forests on the island of Sumatra, sending large plumes of smog across the sea. The result was the worst haze in Singapore's history for the third day in a row.
The U.S. today upped the military ante in a growing confrontation with Syria's Assad regime. President Obama notified Congress that 700 U.S. troops, plus Patriot missiles and fighter planes, will stay in Jordan until further notice. He said the kingdom asked that they remain after joint military exercises ended yesterday. The decision follows the U.S. move to begin arming the Syrian rebels.
The president nominated James Comey today to be director of the FBI. Comey is best known for blocking Bush White House officials from renewing a warrantless wiretapping program in 2004. At the time, he was deputy attorney general.
Today, the president took note of Comey's reputation, at a time of new debates over surveillance.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: He is that rarity in Washington sometimes. He doesn't care about politics. He only cares about getting job done. Jim understands, in a time of crisis, we aren't judged solely by how many plots or how many criminals we bring to justice. We're also judged by our commitment to the Constitution that we have sworn to defend and to the values and civil liberties that we have pledged to protect.
HARI SREENIVASAN: If confirmed, Comey will succeed Robert Mueller, who took over the FBI the week before 9/11.
On Wall Street, stocks managed to stave off any more big losses, after a two-day plunge. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 41 points to close at 14,799. The Nasdaq fell seven points to close at 3,357. For the week, both the Dow and the Nasdaq fell nearly two percent.
Miami Heat fans savored the franchise's third NBA championship today and second in a row. LeBron James led the Heat to a game seven victory last night, capping a grueling, back-and-forth series with the San Antonio Spurs. James was named most valuable player. A victory parade has been set for Monday.
Those are of some of the day's major stories -- now back to Ray.
RAY SUAREZ: And we turn to the major political issue on Capitol Hill.
With a Fourth of July recess in mind, senators are speeding toward a Monday vote on a border security deal, as part of a proposed bipartisan overhaul of the nation's immigration system.
The compromise was formally introduced today, after Republicans Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota worked out final details.
SEN. JOHN HOEVEN, R-N.D.: This is about securing the border first and doing comprehensive immigration reform and doing it right.
RAY SUAREZ: The proposal was billed as a border surge. It would nearly double the number of Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico boundary and erect some 700 miles of new fencing, all at a cost of more than $30 billion dollars over 10 years.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, some nine million people could receive provisional legal status. They'd have to wait for permanent status until the security measures are completed. The compromise quickly picked up support from five Republicans who had been undecided on the immigration bill. Others, including Jeff Sessions of Alabama, insisted the legislation still doesn't go far enough.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, R-Ala.: If you're holding a bucket of water and it's got a bunch of holes in it, and you close one of the holes, all the water's still going to run out of the bucket. There are other problems with the legislation.
RAY SUAREZ: The Senate's Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid, brushed aside the criticism, and called a key procedural vote for Monday evening.
SEN. HARRY REID, D-Nev.: This amendment will put to rest any remaining credible concerns about the border, about border security. The opposition of a small group is not going to stop this bill from moving forward.
RAY SUAREZ: Reid aims to finish work on the bill next week, before the July 4 recess. Meanwhile, the House is crafting its own bill focused entirely on border enforcement.
Now more on another provision of the Senate bill. The legislation calls for immigrants to prove they're learning English before they can become permanent residents. Florida Republican Marco Rubio has proposed an amendment requiring immigrants to be proficient in English and pass a civics test. Under current law, only applicants for U.S. citizenship, not those applying for green cards, must prove English proficiency.
For a debate on that issue, we turn to Barbara Mujica, a professor of Spanish literature at Georgetown University, and Max Sevillia of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, NALEO.
I spoke to them recently as part of our ongoing series “Inside Immigration Reform.”
Max, currently, if you want to become a legal resident, is there any language requirement at all?
MAX SEVILLIA, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials: No, there's not.
There's a language requirement vis-a-vis, as you were saying, naturalizing and becoming a U.S. citizen. And what Sen. Rubio is proposing, it actually goes contrary to the current proposal, bipartisan proposal, that already calls for people to actually learn English. And it would make it to unique to this undocumented community going through a path to legalization and not a requirement of any other immigrants attempting to get a green card.
RAY SUAREZ: Professor, the Senate proposal currently recommends that people trying to become legal residents demonstrate they're learning English. Is that a useful advancement on current law?
BARBARA MUJICA, Georgetown University: I think it's a useful advancement.
What I like about the amendment that Marco Rubio is proposing is that it provides another incentive for people to improve their English. Having proficiency doesn't mean that you have to speak English like a native speaker. In 1980, we had one percent of the population of foreign-born residents of the United States who said that they didn't know any English at all.
Now we have 8.1 percent of the foreign-born residents who say that they no English at all. But 51 percent of them say that they don't know English very well. And ...
RAY SUAREZ: But isn't that some of the difference in the both the number and the percentage that the average foreign-born person in the United States in 1980 had been in the country longer than the average foreign-born person today? We have had a large number of immigrants arrive in the country in a fairly short period of time.
BARBARA MUJICA: Yes.
But I think that what Rubio is proposing is that before people could apply for the green card, they would have had to be in the country a while, because he set up a number of steps that they have to follow in order to get their green card. They have to pay back taxes. They have to go to the back of the line.
And they have to prove that they have worked in the United States. They have to show a work history. And in addition to that, they have to show proficiency in English and knowledge, some knowledge of American civics.
MAX SEVILLIA: If I may, we're not getting to the core of the issue.
The current bipartisan proposal actually incentivizes individuals, immigrants, to learn English. It now gives them the option of either passing an exam and showing English proficiency or taking -- enrolling in a course.
The Rubio amendment, Sen. Rubio's amendment doesn't provide any tools to empower people to actually learn English and meet this added demand. Therefore, what it's doing, it's actually filtering down and creating an impediment, a barrier for immigrants to actually continue to move forward in the path to legalization.
We know from experts right now that approximately 5.5 -- approximately 55 percent of individuals, anywhere between four million to six million undocumented, will currently not pass the sort of exam that Rubio is trying to impose at this time after 10 years. Therefore, what we support would be for tools to empower, to actually provide English proficiency and opportunities for people to learn English.
There is no need to incentivize the immigrant population. They know that, if they learn English, they earn more money.
RAY SUAREZ: Professor, does this take us to someplace different from what faced earlier generations of immigrants? People came to this country from ...
BARBARA MUJICA: Well, I would like to -- may I respond?
RAY SUAREZ: Yes, go ahead.
BARBARA MUJICA: I think we agree on a number of things.
I think one of the problems that we're facing right now is that we don't have enough classes available. We don't have enough teachers available. We're telling people that they have to learn English, but we really have to provide the mechanism by which they would learn English. So I think, in that sense, Max and I agree.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, there's money -- there's money in the bill. Is it enough?
MAX SEVILLIA: Very little money.
BARBARA MUJICA: It's not enough.
MAX SEVILLIA: It's about $150 million dollars total for a number of opportunities for legal services, for English learning, for public awareness.
It's certainly not enough. We're talking about billions of dollars if we were to truly look to reach the sort of requirement that Senator Rubio is mandating.
RAY SUAREZ: OK.
So, Professor, if you support the language requirement, you would want, what, more resources.
BARBARA MUJICA: I would want courses. I would want -- yes, I would want more resources allocated to that.
I think it's really hard, maybe impossible, to project what will happen, who will pass this exam and who won't pass this exam. The exam has to be created. It has to be geared toward the reality of these people who will be taking it. We can't ask for fluency. That's not realistic. I think -- I don't see this as an impediment. I see it as an opportunity.
This is -- I see it as an incentive that will encourage people to learn English, and when they learn English, they will have an opportunity to get their green card. This seems like a very positive thing to me.
MAX SEVILLIA: The Rubio amendment takes away the belief in the immigrant that he or she wants to actually learn English, because it denies them their good faith effort to engage in a course that teaches them English.
And then again, this is -- this amendment is very particular to the undocumented community. It's the only community going through the immigration process and attempting to become legal permanent residents that will be required to pass this English proficiency exam. It wouldn't apply to agricultural workers. It wouldn't apply to adults going through the business process. It would be unique to these undocumented communities that will be RPIs.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, let me just close with this simple question.
BARBARA MUJICA: Yes.
RAY SUAREZ: It takes what's now a requirement if you would like to become a citizen of the United States and moves it back one step to becoming a permanent resident of the United States. Is that a desirable thing? Is it a workable thing?
BARBARA MUJICA: I think it's a desirable thing, because, as Max has said, people need to learn English. We have statistics that show that when -- that people when immigrants know English, they earn twice what people who don't know English earn.
It's desirable. And people who -- immigrants who know English are making more or less the same hourly salary as native-born Americans or naturalized citizens.
RAY SUAREZ: Professor Mujica, Max Sevillia, that you both.
Online, you can view our entire portfolio of stories on this issue. Watch my discussion series examining the legislation, and track the debate on our Immigration page.
JEFFREY BROWN: Last night the question, was can more money make you a happier person? Tonight, does the amount of wealth you have affect the kind of person you are?
NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman is at it again, part of his ongoing reporting on “Making Sen$e of Financial News.”
PAUL SOLMAN: In California, you're supposed to stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk. And, in a recent study, some 90 percent of drivers did, except for those driving luxury cars, like this BMW. They were almost as likely to run the intersection as wait for the person to cross the street.
PAUL PIFF, University of California, Berkeley: Drivers of those BMWs, those Porsches, those Mercedes were anywhere from three to four times more likely to break the law, than drivers of less expensive, low-status cars.
PAUL SOLMAN: In a country more and more polarized by inequality, UCal Berkeley's Paul Piff led a series of startling studies showing an apparent link between wealth and, well, unseemly behavior.
WOMAN: Oh, by the way, there's candy there. It's actually for children for another study, but you're welcome to take a few pieces if you want to.
WOMAN: Thank you.
PAUL SOLMAN: That's the script an experimenter recited to every subject. And the results?
PAUL PIFF: Wealthier participants took two times as much candy from children as did poor participants.
PAUL SOLMAN: Another experiment tested honesty in reporting dice scores when cash was on the line.
PAUL PIFF: People all the way at the top who made $150,000 dollars, $200,000 dollars a year were actually cheating four times as much as someone all the way at the bottom who made under $15,000 dollars a year just to win credits for a $50 dollars cash prize.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, experimental evidence that rich people are more likely to break the law while driving, help themselves to candy meant for children, cheat in a game of chance, also to lie during negotiations and endorse unethical behavior, including stealing at work.
The academic paper that resulted made headlines everywhere, the Wall Street Journal article leading with the question, "Ready the Pitchforks?"
DACHER KELTNER, University of California, Berkeley: It is very clear that this study of social class touched a nerve.
PAUL SOLMAN: Psychology professor Dacher Keltner is Paul Piff's boss and co-author.
DACHER KELTNER: We publish these studies in relatively obscure scientific journals, and literally the next day were getting hundreds of e-mails from around the world, and a lot quite hostile.
PAUL PIFF: I have gotten a lot of vitriol and hate mail from people calling me out for junk science and having a liberal agenda.
PAUL SOLMAN: Hey, but, wait, didn't those who complained have a point: that the research was done at a famously, some might say infamously, liberal university?
Hey, they're in Berkeley. What other results did you expect them to get?
PAUL PIFF: I regularly hear the Berkeley idiot scientist who's finding what they expect to find. Let me tell you, we didn't expect to find this. Our findings apply to both liberals and conservatives. It doesn't matter who you are. If you're wealthy, you're more likely to show these patterns of results.
PAUL SOLMAN: Results consistent across 30 studies he's run on thousands of people all over the United States. So, what is it about wealth that might make people behave differently?
What are we doing here?
PAUL PIFF: We're playing a game of Monopoly that's rigged.
PAUL SOLMAN: This game is typical of another kind of experiment Piff likes to run. Instead of studying actual rich people, Piff gets subjects to feel rich in the lab. The designated Monopoly moneybags starts with a few legs up, $2,000 dollars vs. the poor man's $1,000 dollars, an upscale playing piece the Rolls vs. an old shoe, the right to toss two dice instead of just one.
Two. I have got snake eyes -- meaning I, assigned the role of rich person, get an extra turn.
So, but I roll again, because I have got ...
PAUL PIFF: Yes, because you rolled doubles.
PAUL SOLMAN: Doubles. Six. One, two, three, four, five, six, and that's Tennessee Avenue, and, of course, I will buy that.
Meanwhile, poor Paul Piff.
PAUL PIFF: I only get to roll one die. And as it says here, when I pass go, I collect a lower salary. I collect $100 dollars.
PAUL SOLMAN: Here's your one die.
PAUL PIFF: Great. Thanks so much. I can't roll doubles. I don't get opportunities to move very far along the board.
PAUL SOLMAN: Piff has run this experiment with hundreds of people on the Berkeley campus. The rich players are determined randomly by coin toss, the game rigged so they cannot lose. And yet, says Piff, despite their presumably liberal bent going in ...
PAUL PIFF: When we asked them afterwards, how much do you feel like you deserved to win the game? The rich people felt entitled. They felt like they deserved to win the game. And that's a really incredible insight into what the mind does to make sense of advantage or disadvantage.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, even though a subject like myself is just play-acting -- you consistently find that I begin to attribute success to myself, even though it's a coin flip that got me on this side of the board as opposed to that?
PAUL PIFF: You, like a real rich person, start to attribute success to your own individual skills and talents, and you become less attuned to all of the other things that contributed to you being in the position that you're in.
MAN: How is the American dream achieved?
PAUL SOLMAN: Piff is part of a team, headed by Dacher Keltner, that studies the psychological effects of both absolute and relative poverty and wealth.
MAN: We can also ask, do people believe in this dream?
PAUL SOLMAN: What they're studying is economic inequality, which, as our viewers probably know, is as high as it's been in almost a century in this country.
DACHER KELTNER: There are new data coming out on a daily basis from top laboratories showing, no matter how you look at it, the effects of inequality are pernicious upon things like bullying on school playgrounds, the quality of your physical health, how you handle disease.
PAUL SOLMAN: What's somewhat surprising, says Keltner, is that even the haves suffer.
DACHER KELTNER: One of the things that wealth and money does is it comes with a set of values, and if you want a deeper ideology, and one of them is, generosity is for suckers and greed is good. But it turns out, there are a lot of new data that show, if you're generous, and charitable, and altruistic, you will live longer, you will feel more fulfilled, you will feel more expressive of who you are as a person. You probably will feel more control and freedom in your life.
PAUL SOLMAN: Of course, there are plenty of wildly generous rich folks. Just look at the growing list of billionaires who've pledged to give the bulk of their fortunes to charity.
And six. I got a doubles again.
But, statistically speaking, there's a significant tendency to look out for number one if you're at the top.
What do I got?
PAUL PIFF: Oh, you got a "get out of jail free" card.
PAUL SOLMAN: Oh, excellent. That's very nice, although I could probably, given the fact that I'm the rich person, get bailed out.
PAUL PIFF: You could.
PAUL SOLMAN: And, as Piff observed when he ran this experiment with hundreds of doggedly friendly Berkeley types, those in the role of top dog began to bark like one.
And so I get $200 dollars for ...
PAUL PIFF: Yes, you get $200 dollars.
PAUL SOLMAN: Well, give me $140 dollars because I'm going to buy Mediterranean.
PAUL PIFF: OK, done.
Now, listen to the way that you just spoke to me. It was very directive, almost like a demand. But we found consistently with people who were the rich players that they actually started to become, in their behavior, as if they were like rich people in real life. They were more likely to eat from a bowl of pretzels that we positioned off to the side. They ate with their mouths full, so they were a little ruder in their behavior to the other person.
PAUL SOLMAN: While I was thanking God no pretzels were present, Piff continued. Those arbitrarily assigned the role of low dog became more nearly man's best friend.
PAUL PIFF: If I take someone who is rich and make them feel psychologically a little less well-off, they become way more generous, way more charitable, way more likely to offer help to another person.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, when people are playing this Monopoly game and they're in the poor person role that you're playing, they, if they were rich in real life, become more understanding, more compassionate?
PAUL PIFF: Not just in this game of Monopoly, but in a whole bunch of other experiments that we have run where we make rich people feel poor or poor people feel rich, you find the same kind of differences.
PAUL SOLMAN: Differences that could conceivably help people understand their subconscious biases and perhaps even moderate the costly effects of economic inequality. But, until that happens, we would suggest you look both ways before crossing.
RAY SUAREZ: We have more of Paul's conversation with psychologist Dacher Keltner about how wealth influences generosity on our Making Sen$e page.
JEFFREY BROWN: And that brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks, syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
And the obvious first question is, do you stop for pedestrians?
MARK SHIELDS: I do.
I do. And...
JEFFREY BROWN: And, David, I have some pretzels for you.
MARK SHIELDS: I do, because David's rich. No, no.
I -- having been a pedestrian enough myself, I do stop.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, on a more serious -- let's start with immigration. Real movement in the Senate this week, Mark, some new hurdles in the House. What's going on?
MARK SHIELDS: New hurdles in the House are this, that the House is out of control, that the leadership has lost control in the House.
And what we basically have is a situation, Jeffrey, that is very analogous to where the Democrats were in the 1970s and 1980s. Between 1968 and 1992, the Democrats had five presidential elections in which they averaged getting 17 percent of the electoral votes and carrying an average of eight states.
They lost -- they got one state in two elections, in '72 and '84. But in all that time, they had the House. And so members of the Democratic House didn't really care. It would be nice to win the White House, but they didn't care. The Republicans right now are in that position. They are -- they have the House. That's all they care about, the House members care about.
And they are different to the plight, as expressed by Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, if we don't do something on immigration, if we don't reform ourselves, if we don't enable ourselves as a party, the Republicans, to be able to speak to Latino voters, we're dead in 2016.
And I think that right now is falling on deaf ears among House Republicans.
JEFFREY BROWN: Do you see that when it comes to immigration?
DAVID BROOKS: Semi-deaf. Semi-deaf.
JEFFREY BROWN: Semi-deaf.
DAVID BROOKS: So what happened this week was the debate got down, funneled down to its core issue. There was a lot of talk in previous weeks that it's all about border security, border security. We had this amendment in the Senate to really spend as much as humanly possible on border security. I'm not sure how much good it will do, but we're certainly spending a lot of money on everything down there.
So then it shifts to the core issue. And you have seen the debate even in the last couple days shift, which is the -- according to the Congressional Budget Office report, right now, we're scheduled to have I think about 20 million people enter the country just under current law. This will increase it another 16 million.
So we will have 36 million new people in this country over the next 20 years. That will fundamentally change the nature of the country. That's a population as large as Canada. And so that's really what this debate is about. All the other stuff is surface for that.
Do we want to have that many new people from different parts of the world? Will it change the character of the country? Will it change the social fabric? To me, that's what the debate is about.
JEFFREY BROWN: But that's a substantive debate. You're talking about a political breakdown that you see.
MARK SHIELDS: I really think so. And David's right about what they did in the Senate . You can't solve a problem by throwing money at it, but you can assemble a Senate majority by throwing money at it.
They throw $30 billion dollars that we don't have at this problem. And what it did, it got northern border senators now on board from North Dakota, Maine. All of a sudden, we're going to keep Dan Aykroyd and John Candy and Martin Short and Leslie Nielsen, all those dangerous Canadian subversive humorists ...
... out of this country.
DAVID BROOKS: Are all Canadians that funny?
MARK SHIELDS: Well, those are four who are pretty ...
But so -- no, that's really what they have done. And it can be helpful. It's what I would call a border surge, it's been called. And I think that's what you're seeing. We have doubled the number of border agents, Jeffrey, in the past 10 years, and now we're going to add thousands more.
DAVID BROOKS: On the politics of it, just the structure of the House, clearly in this farm bill, there was a revolt against the leader.
MARK SHIELDS: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: Will there be a similar revolt on immigration? Possible, but possibly not.
There could be a lot of Republicans who oppose the bill because of their own district, their own conviction, but who know, for the reasons Lindsey Graham described, the party has to get this done. And so they could say, I'm opposed, but I'm going to let you, Mr. Speaker, take this to the floor. I'm not going to really block it, even though I ...
JEFFREY BROWN: You raised the farm bill, though, so pick up on that, because that's one -- that was a surprise to some degree because that's one that usually gets -- goes through fairly easily.
MARK SHIELDS: That's exactly right.
DAVID BROOKS: Well, it's money for everybody. So it's money for rural America, it's money for corporations, it's money for the poor. It's a lot of money for a lot of different things.
And so a lot -- a number of Republicans said, enough is enough. This is big spending as usual and we're against it. And on the substance, I'm about a third with them. The big bulk of the money is food stamps, which has radically increased. The number of people on food stamps has just exploded in the last couple years. Nonetheless, when you look at the data, the people who are getting food stamps deserve to get food stamps.
I think that's basically true. Nonetheless, there are other parts of the bill that are really unattractive, sugar subsidies, commodity price supports, crop insurance. That's corporate welfare. And so I have some sympathy for them. But the two elements here are the substance of it, no more business as usual, and the politics of it, a very in-your-face rebuke of the speaker.
JEFFREY BROWN: And that's another example of what you're talking about?
MARK SHIELDS: Exactly.
I mean, the primary purpose of an agriculture bill, A., is to food -- feed hungry people and to make sure that farmers and farmworkers are lifted up out of poverty and to protect the environment and the land. That ought to be it. And David is right. There are corporate subsidies in there. But -- and he's absolutely right about the food stamps.
People who are getting food stamps need food stamps. This country has through a wrenching economic experience. But the biggest surprise is to me is that the leadership was surprised, the House leadership. Leadership should never be surprised.
JEFFREY BROWN: John Boehner.
MARK SHIELDS: John Boehner. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, voted for an amendment, a punitive amendment on food stamps, that he had been warned would cost them the coalition.
And now he then turned around and said, oh, it's all Nancy Pelosi fault. They lost 62 House Republicans. You can't lose that many on your own side on a procedural vote as to whether you're going to bring up the legislation. It was a terrible blow to the speaker, a terrible blow to the leadership. And I just think it's -- and to the coalition.
There had always been a great coalition between urban liberals and rural conservatives that had worked together to pass the farm bill in the past, and that is obviously not the case.
DAVID BROOKS: One of the interesting reasons it is not the case is because even rural voters have decided, OK, the money is for us, but we'd rather cut spending.
And so the debt as an issue, even in rural America, the money that is going to rural America, people would rather cut spending than continue with their subsidies.
JEFFREY BROWN: But this question of what's happening with the Republicans is a running theme here at this table for a number of years, particularly with Tea Party members coming in, the new class of members coming in, and then John Boehner's leadership.
DAVID BROOKS: Right.
And we saw -- we have seen this before in the budget negotiations. If you remember, Boehner and Obama were engaged in negotiations. Boehner walks out and decides he is going to have something called “Plan B,” which is going be optioned. His own party destroys that.
And so we have been here before. And, basically, you have a group of a large number of people, especially those elected in the last couple elections, who say my loyalty is not to the leader of my party. It's not to Washington. It's to -- I have an oppositional attitude toward all this, and they're eager for chances to show that.
And this was a chance.
JEFFREY BROWN: And is it a threat to John Boehner?
MARK SHIELDS: It's a threat to John Boehner.
It's a -- these are people, let's be very frank about it, whose districts overwhelmingly do not have Latino voters. I mean, that's part of the reality. So they're not being responsive on -- in terms of immigration, the fact that they have constituents who are concerned in this sense.
It is a problem that John Boehner -- John Boehner three times already has violated what the Hastert rule is. The Hastert rule, named for Speaker Dennis Hastert, was that you only bring up legislation when you're in control of the House when a majority of your own caucus is on board in support of it.
He three times, on relief for Hurricane Sandy victims, on the Violence Against Women Act, and on the fiscal cliff at the beginning of the session, he three times brought up legislation and passed it with a minority of his own party and Democrats providing the margin of victory.
And, you know, that -- I think, in all three cases, it was in the interest of the nation, certainly it was in the interest of the party not to go on record against violence and women and not to be against Hurricane Sandy victims, but it does jeopardize his leadership, or his -- I think his speakership. I think he's under siege right now.
DAVID BROOKS: It's hard to believe there's anybody else who could be doing any better.
MARK SHIELDS: I agree.
DAVID BROOKS: This is in the structure of the party right now. And we're going to have a presidential election, and somebody like Rand Paul will represent a certain wing of the party, and maybe something like Marco Rubio or somebody else will represent the other wing.
And once again, it will be argued out. But that structure has yet to be resolved within the party. I suspect the Marco Rubio establishment side is still going to win at the end of the day.
MARK SHIELDS: And, earlier, when I mentioned the Democrats lost all those elections, save one, the 1976, after the Republican vice president had resigned, rather than be convicted of crime, and the Republican president had resigned, conviction of the Senate pending, they won one election in all that time.
The House didn't do anything, until all of a sudden it looked like the House might be in jeopardy. And that's the problem with the Republican House is just exactly like the Democratic House was then. They were winning. And they were -- they wanted the national party to win, but they continued to apply litmus tests.
They had to pass a labor test, a teachers test, an environmental test, a women's test, a gay test, which meant all those caucuses ...
DAVID BROOKS: It's corrupting to have a majority, but no actual power, because they can't actually get anything passed because they don't control the White House or the other body. But they have a majority, and so that leads to this kind of fight.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, last minutes, I just want to go overseas ...
MARK SHIELDS: Sure.
JEFFREY BROWN: ... because the president was overseas this week at the G-8 summit and in Berlin giving a speech.
What did you make of his -- and then he ran into Vladimir Putin, all kinds of thing this week.
DAVID BROOKS: Right.
JEFFREY BROWN: What did you see happening?
DAVID BROOKS: I confess I found myself a little underwhelmed by the speech. I don't think it was up to the problems we have.
And this is a general thought I have about politics these days, especially in global affairs. There are all these gigantic, very amorphous, extremely difficult issues, the Arab spring, globalization, the decline of authoritarian governments around the world, global warming. And these are just epic of size.
And I'm not sure we have solutions big enough for them. And, therefore, we're sort of fuddling around. And so when I looked at the president's speech, there's some worthy nuclear initiatives. In Syria, we're probably getting in enough to make ourselves semi-responsible, without actually making any difference.
And so there's a lot of little tepid gestures, and some of them are very sensible. I think the Syria gesture is probably sensible, but, somehow, it doesn't feel up to the moment. And that was my general action to speech in Berlin and to the whole trip really.
JEFFREY BROWN: What did you see, especially in that speech at the Brandenburg Gate, right, which has all kinds of symbolic power too?
MARK SHIELDS: No, exactly.
First, on Putin, he really is writing a book, Dale Carnegie was wrong.
He has to be one of at least two or three least pleasant people, I mean, the body language, everybody about him.
JEFFREY BROWN: He does let you know what he's thinking, doesn't he?
MARK SHIELDS: Yes, he's not a great poker player.
And I will tell you, and I felt for the president trying to get -- forge any kind of relationship with him or cooperation. As far as the Brandenburg Gate, that, to me, it's such a marvelous icon. It really is, and it's -- there's so much history to it. But you don't do that speech before 4,500 people, and especially when you have got footage.
I mean, you have got footage of President Obama as a candidate getting 200,000 people in Berlin just five years ago, to say nothing of the President Kennedy "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, or President Reagan's "Tear down that wall" speech.
I mean, just the idea -- the first rule of an advance man in politics is, you always have a crowd bigger than the room, so it looks that there's enthusiasm and overflow. And this didn't. I do think the president addressed the subject that's of concern to the Germans, and that's loose nuclear and Russia's problem with them. And he is on the defensive, quite frankly, on the NSA listening.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Mark Shields, David Brooks, as always, thank you very much.
MARK SHIELDS: Thank you.
JEFFREY BROWN: And every Friday, Mark and David show a slightly different side, if you can imagine, talking about the sport of politics and the politics of sport with Hari in our newsroom. Tonight, they took your questions live, discussing everything from climate change to songs they love.
Stop laughing while I'm saying this.
Here's a sneak preview, a clip where they weigh in on which cities have the best baseball stadiums.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Best ballpark to watch a baseball game?
MARK SHIELDS: I'm going to be a total heretic here, and I should say Fenway and Camden Yards, and I think the Colorado Rockies stadium ...
HARI SREENIVASAN: Yes, it's a beautiful stadium.
MARK SHIELDS: ... is the best stadium I have ever been in. Why? Because when you go to the stands to get a Coke or a hot dog or a beer, the sight lines are such that you can watch the game while you're there. And that to me is as viewer-friendly and fan-friendly a place as you are going to find.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes. I like that stadium. The people are too nice, though. I would like a little tension in the ...
A little tension in the crowd.
MARK SHIELDS: Well, the higher ...
... the nicer...
DAVID BROOKS: That, and the Arizona Diamondbacks have a fantastic stadium, again, a little too nice.
HARI SREENIVASAN: It's already high altitudes, so the nose bleeds ...
DAVID BROOKS: I'm going with the Pittsburgh Pirates stadium.
... downtown stadium.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Really, Pirates stadium?
MARK SHIELDS: You know, and I have never been there, and I have heard nothing but good things about it.
DAVID BROOKS: Great stadium. Great stadium.
JEFFREY BROWN: You can watch and you will want to watch the entire special Doubleheader on our website. It will be posted at the top of the Rundown later tonight.
Friday on the NewsHour, Ray Suarez talks to Jeff Chu, author of "Does Jesus Really Love Me?", about being gay and a Christian. Chu profiled several people who had experiences with Exodus International. In this extended interview, Chu reacts to news of Exodus International ending its operations.
Earlier this week Exodus International made headlines when it decided to close its doors and issue an apology to the gay community.
For decades Exodus International has been the leading practitioner of the "gay cure" movement. Based in Orlando, Fla., the organization has grown to over 260 member ministries worldwide. Exodus and their affiliates hold fast to a strong evangelical Christian belief that homosexuality is a sin and not a part of the life God intended them to live. Marriage, they believe, is intended to be between one man and one woman. They offered services to people who wanted to overcome their same-sex temptations. The organization strove to assist people with same-sex attractions "surrender their sexual struggles to Jesus Christ and live a life that reflects the Christian faith."
In an unexpected statement Alan Chambers, president of Exodus, wrote:
"I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn't change. I am sorry that I ... failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine."
Shortly after his statement was released, Exodus' board of directors unanimously agreed to close the ministry. Chambers wrote: "For quite some time we've been imprisoned in a worldview that's neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical."
The move reflects a public view of same-sex marriage that is radically different today than it was in 1974 when Exodus opened its doors. Now a majority (51 percent) of white, evangelical Protestants under 35 support same-sex marriage according to a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute. That's compared to only 15 percent of their elders.
Yet other conservative evangelical ministries are not convinced that closing Exodus reflects a change in perspective from Christians.
"I think it's easy to overblow this story into a parable of evangelical shift. I don't think that's the case. I see this as the end of a church ministry that had been confused for some time about its own views," Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, told the PBS NewsHour.
Moore thinks the utopian and therapeutic approach by Exodus was reflective of an American culture that wanted a quick and easy fix to something that ultimately is non-negotiable.
"In terms of the morality of human sexuality, we don't have the option to evolve, we have the option handed down to us by Jesus. This isn't a teaching that we can negotiate away each generation, it's something that has been given to us," said Moore.
Exodus' member ministries are autonomous from Exodus International and will choose independently whether to keep operating.
Since the member organizations have that independence, author Jeff Chu thinks the end of Exodus is symbolically important. "The significance is not so much in practice, because those ministries are still going, the therapies are still continuing, but Exodus, the figurehead, is what's gone."
Chu thinks that this shift is important for the larger debate.
"There has been an incredible amount of suffering," he said."I think we can start to have conversations because of what's happened with Exodus, where we look at whether there is a better way to handle this, even if you are theologically conservative."
Chambers plans to open a new ministry that will seek to make churches become "safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities."
RAY SUAREZ: Finally tonight: a personal tale about coming to terms with being Christian and gay. The subject was in the headlines again this week.
The president of Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry seeking to curb or eliminate same-sex attraction, announced he is shutting down the group. Alan Chambers apologized for Exodus's past work, saying: "I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts."
The choices made by gay Christians trying to reconcile their lives and identities to their Christian faith are explored in a new book, "Does Jesus Really Love Me?" by journalist Jeff Chu.
And, Jeff, welcome.
JEFF CHU, Author, "Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America": Thank you so much.
RAY SUAREZ: So many Christian denominations have had really divisive family fights about the status of gay people. But others have been pretty categorical: It's a sin, it's irreconcilable with the Christian religion, and must be judged.
Where does that leave gay evangelicals?
JEFF CHU: I think it leaves a lot of people in a confused place, because we look at a situation where so many people are interpreting a very ancient document and have fundamentally different views about what the Bible says about human sexuality.
Who do you listen to? Most of the voices are well-meaning voices, but the conclusions they come to are so radically different.
RAY SUAREZ: You wrestled with this yourself as a young man coming out and then headed across America to talk to people in all kinds of -- who've made all kind of conclusions about how to proceed. Did you know what you were going to find out there in the “out-there”?
JEFF CHU: I think it's always dangerous as a journalist to presume that you know what you're going to find.
I was surprised at much of what I found. My goal was to uncover stories that hadn't been told before. And even in some cases where the subjects were familiar, say Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas with "Their God Hates Fags" protests signs, I did uncover things that I didn't expect to find.
RAY SUAREZ: I came away from some of the stories in your book with sadness, sometimes admiration, and sometimes just head-shaking wonder at the sort of schematics that people make for themselves, the compartments they build for their lives so they can just keep on living.
JEFF CHU: I think faith is such a core thing to so many people that they construct elaborate arrangements to make sure that they can hang on to that.
When you grow up in church and then you're told because of another part of your identity, you can no longer belong, people do try to find ways in many cases to get back to God, if not to church.
RAY SUAREZ: A lot of people made the choice to leave altogether, rather than finding a church that would love them. That's kind of a sad conclusion. They threw the whole deal out when they were in a place that wouldn't welcome them and wouldn't find them in fellowship.
JEFF CHU: I think, for some people who have ended up on the atheist/agnostic part of the religious spectrum, they feel a sense of triumph. They feel like reason has won out.
That's not where I have ended up. I have tried to hang onto my faith, because it is very important to me. I think the conclusion that I have that is that we can't make these decisions for anyone else. We're not talking about something that's rational when we're talking about faith. There is an element of the absurd in it. Kierkegaard talks about that in his writings. Faith is not a rational process.
RAY SUAREZ: But you went out to these people, having already in some way come to terms with who you are, how you want to live your life. Did you have to resist the temptation to judge some of these people who've made some very different choices?
A gay man, for instance, who marries a woman and tries to live the straight life, even though he's fully aware that he's still gay?
JEFF CHU: There were moments where, internally, I was judging. And at that point, I had to put on my journalist hat and remind myself there is an element of objectivity that I have to maintain here.
I have to tell this story so that when my subject opens the book, they recognize themselves. That was the commitment that I made. At the same time, I have a stake in this game, too. And I think every reader who approaches these stories, whether it's the story of the gay man who marries a woman, or the story of a man who chooses to be celibate for 30 years, or the story of the congregation that gets kicked out of the Lutheran Church for calling a gay man to the pastorate, and then has to decide whether to rejoin or not when the church comes in its direction, everybody will read these stories in different ways, because we all have our own biases and we all have our own baggage.
And I think that's OK. We just need to have a more gracious conference about those biases and about that baggage.
RAY SUAREZ: Is the whole thing, the whole story, in motion? Is this just a capturing of a moment in time? Will "The Church," capital T., capital C., big institutional church, be somewhere different in 10 years, 20 years?
JEFF CHU: I hope so.
I hope that we're constantly growing and evolving. But you look at American families and how there isn't one that's untouched by this issue. The conversations are happening -- happening at kitchen tables in a way that they weren't 10, 20, 30 years ago. The church has to respond in some way to that conversation.
And it will be shaped by that response. People will choose to leave if the church is not candid, if the church doesn't learn to deal in some constructive way with this issue, or people will stay if it feels like the church is being relevant.
RAY SUAREZ: We're going to continue our conversation online, taking a closer look at Exodus International.
The book is "Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America."
Jeff Chu, thanks.
JEFF CHU: Thank you, Ray.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, thank you so much for participating in a special live edition of the Doubleheader, the show where we talk about the sport of politics and the politics of sport with syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
In our traditional examination of politics and sport we tackled the farm bill and the NBA finals, and then we took question (LeBron or Michael?) after question (Will climate change become a leading issue among politicians?) after question (Favorite ball park?) from viewers across different social media platforms. Many of you had submitted questions through our website, some of you tweeted at us and some of you let us know on Facebook.
Everyone who got a question on our air will get a prize, most likely a PBS NewsHour hat or notebook. We'll be getting in touch with you throughout the week. For Mark and David, I can tell you we had a ball.
Have a great weekend.
A larger than usual team to make all this happen today. Joshua Barajas shot this video, Travis Daub and Justin Scuiletti helped switch sources, Cindy Huang brought us the audio. Colleen Shalby kept tabs of the social streams and Meena Ganesan edited. You can subscribe to Hari on Facebook, Google Plus and on Twitter @Hari.
The Supreme Court could make landmark rulings on three major issues this week, weighing affirmative action in higher education, the Voting Rights Act section 5, and California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which both involve same-sex marriage.
The ritual of a justice reading decisions from the bench begins at 10 a.m. Monday. SCOTUSblog's live blog, below, starts around 9 a.m. The Court still has 11 cases for which to announce decisions.
For NewsHour coverage featuring National Law Journal correspondent Marcia Coyle, visit our Supreme Court page.Live blog of orders and opinions | June 24
Austin's music industry brings in about $2 billion a year to the local economy, but a lot of musicians themselves do not earn enough to cover their basic health care needs.
Get close enough to downtown Austin, Texas, and it's not hard to hear why it's called the "Live Music Capital of the World."
Get a little closer, and the musicians themselves tell a quieter story.
Take John Pointer. He's a beat-boxing, boot-stomping singer-songwriter who also happens to have Type 1 diabetes. Like most musicians in Austin, he makes less than $16,000 per year, and he can't afford health insurance.
"So many people said, 'Well, then just get a job,'" Pointer said. "But I think the 10 Austin Music Awards, and the national television commercials, and the stages on which I've performed, and the audiences that come to see me would disagree that I should just quit and get a job that gives me health care."
Having diabetes made it difficult for Pointer to find an affordable primary care doctor in Austin. He was paying several hundred dollars a month for coverage in the state's high-risk insurance pool -- an amount that consumed much of his take-home cash.
Listen to John Pointer's "The Flame":
Then one day, Pointer decided to check into an unusual program designed for people like him. It's called the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, or HAAM.
Similar in some ways to an insurance company, the group connects with area health providers, works out reimbursement rates and helps keep out-of-pocket costs for members manageable.
HAAM executive director Carolyn Schwarz says it's the least this city can do.
"The music industry brings in about $2 billion to our economy," she said. "The musicians themselves are very low-income, and our businesses rely on music."
Schwarz helped launch HAAM in 2005 and continues to run the group today. She's quick to point out that despite the similarities, HAAM isn't health insurance.
Musicians making less than 250 percent of the poverty level are linked directly with health care providers offering reduced rates for everything from primary care to vision and hearing. HAAM pays for most of the extra costs through grants and fundraising.
"What we've done is we've leveraged resources that were already in the community, serving working poor and we've carved out some spaces to serve the musicians," Schwarz said. "So it does only help the musicians while they're here in Austin but our musicians had nothing before HAAM."
Listen to Ginger Leigh's "Better Than Well":
The noteworthy result, according to musician Ginger Leigh, is knowing that an unexpected health disaster won't lead to financial ruin. Before HAAM, she spent many years uninsured and hoping for the best.
"I was mostly terrified," she said. "And I wouldn't go to doctors as much as I probably should have because when you can't afford it, you're afraid they're going to find something that's a really big problem and all of a sudden your entire life is going to change because you're going to be strapped with hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills if it is something."
That very easily could have been Leigh's story. But she discovered HAAM a couple of years before she found a lump in her right breast.
Many procedures followed, including a lumpectomy, a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. But to Leigh's relief, most of that was paid for through small copays, the charity care donated by a local health group and HAAM.
"I would have financially been completely devastated to have had to walk away with $130-$150,000 in medical expenses," she said. "And I certainly couldn't keep doing music to pay for that."
Leigh is now cancer-free.
So could this kind of setup be replicated in other parts of the country? Soul singer Akina Adderley doesn't see why not. She's one of 3,000 musicians who have accessed HAAM's benefits so far. More join every day.
Listen to Akina Adderley & The Vintage Playboys' "Say Yes":
Even though some young adults say they don't need health coverage, most of those enrolled in HAAM are 40 or younger, healthy and hoping to stay that way.
"Because being able to get up and get out and perform in shows and record on albums, that's our livelihood," Adderley said. "Without access to medication or treatment or therapy or things of that nature, when it comes right down to it, when you get sick, you are just out and not getting any income in or taking proactive steps to make yourself better."
It's not clear what the impact will be on organizations like HAAM when the rest of the health care reform law goes live. In Texas, the future is especially murky because officials say they won't expand Medicaid to cover more low-income Americans.
But whatever happens, for the musicians of tomorrow, there's a health care option out there they can afford -- if only within Austin's famous city limits.
Videography by Lizzie Chen, Chase Martinez, Jason Kane and Matt Franklin.
Hear More from These Artists:
Republican Sens. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Bob Corker of Tennessee discuss their immigration agreement outside the Senate chamber on June 20 in Washington, DC. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.
The Senate is scheduled to hold a pivotal test vote Monday afternoon on a package of increased border security provisions, with the outcome a barometer of how the comprehensive immigration reform plan will perform when it comes up for final passage later this week.
The border security agreement, reached last week by Republican Sens. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Bob Corker of Tennessee, was aimed at boosting support from conservatives skeptical the bipartisan Gang of Eight proposal did not go far enough in securing the border. The Hoeven-Corker amendment would require the hiring of 20,000 additional border patrol agents and the completion of 700 miles of fencing along the southern border at a cost of roughly $30 billion.
Supporters of the overhaul predicted Sunday that the Hoeven-Corker amendment would help them clear Monday's procedural hurdle.
"The bill will pass," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on "Fox News Sunday." "I think we are on the verge of getting 70 votes. That is my goal. It's always been my goal. We are very, very close to 70 votes."
"We're about at two-thirds of the Senate right now," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told CNN. "Our momentum is growing. So I believe we'll be in the neighborhood of 70 votes by the time the vote occurs at the end of the week."
Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul announced Sunday that he will not vote for the measure in its current form. "Without some Congressional authority and without border security first, I can't support the final bill," Paul said on CNN's "State of the Union."
Paul added that the additional border security elements contained in the Hoeven-Corker amendment were not sufficient. "We've thrown a lot of money at a lot of problems in our country. To me, what really tells me that they're serious would be letting Congress vote on whether the border's secure."
And Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has been an outspoken critic of the Gang of Eight plan from the start, continued to blast the legislation and the process for moving it forward in a Monday column posted on the conservative Red State website:
"Given only a weekend to review the language, we will now vote on whether to end a debate that never really began," Cruz wrote. "To be clear -- this is not a difficult vote. On process alone, we should all vote 'no.' This was by design -- the President, Harry Reid and the Gang of 8 preferred all along to ram through a 'deal,' and not have a real debate - just like Obamacare."
Even if the Senate bill receives upwards of 70 votes, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has pledged he will not bring a bill to the floor of his chamber that does not have the support of a majority of GOP lawmakers.
Democrats warned that Republicans could face a backlash from the public if they block the legislation from coming up for a vote.
"This has the potential of becoming the next major civil rights movement," Schumer said. "I could envision in the late summer or early fall, if Boehner tries to bottle the bill up or put something in without a path to citizenship -- if there's no path to citizenship, there's no bill. But if he puts something, if he tries to bottle it up or do things like that, I could see a million people on the mall in Washington."
"I think they're going to have to act whether they have a majority of Republicans or not," he added.
A new Pew Research Center/USA Today poll released Sunday found that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. who meet certain requirements should be allowed to stay in the country. Seventy-one percent responded they supported that approach, while 27 percent said the immigrants should not be allowed to stay.
The survey also revealed that 49 percent of Americans backed the idea of undocumented immigrants applying for legal status while border security provisions are being implemented. Forty-three percent of respondents said that immigrants should be able to get legal status only after effective control of the border has been achieved.
And the pressure continues from groups that want to see legislation reach President Barack Obama's desk.
At the world premiere of "Documented" at AFI Silver Docs on Friday, journalist-turned-advocate Jose Antonio Vargas told the crowd he is hopeful about the prospects for passage. Vargas, who two years ago revealed in the New York Times Magazine that he is in the country illegally, said his documentary on immigration and the DREAM Act is "unfinished, because Congress is unfinished."
"Our lives, all 11 million of us, are in limbo," Vargas said Friday.
Advocates in the crowd also said they are optimistic about the prospects for the bill making it through Congress, even if they find it imperfect.
Maggie Haberman reports in Politico that the Chamber of Commerce is spending money on a new ad starring Gang of Eight member Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., backing the bill.
Mr. Obama will meet Monday with business leaders at the White House to promote passage of the bill and to talk through why he thinks immigration reform would boost the economy. The CEOs attending are affiliated with both political parties and represent a broad spectrum -- from technology icon Steve Case of Revolution LLC to Ethan Allen President and CEO Farooq Kathwari and Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya. He is expected to laud the Congressional Budget Office estimate that suggests the measure would reduce the deficit, a message he also used in his weekly address.
Janet Hook reported Saturday in the Wall Street Journal about the deep divisions in Boehner's Republican Conference, suggesting that the failure of the farm bill "provided fresh evidence this past week of how easy it will be for the GOP's most conservative wing to shrug off even commanding support for any legislation emerging from the Senate."
Hook wrote that "[i]t isn't even clear that Mr. Boehner could win House passage of all the Judiciary Committee's more narrowly focused bills, a leadership aide said. Some conservatives are set against any immigration bill passing the House, fearing it would give the Senate a vehicle to attach provisions they oppose."
And the speaker won't need to face that question until after the July Fourth recess. He plans to speak with his conference about the options for immigration reform on July 10.
Reid Wilson writes for the National Journal about the prospect of rowdy town hall meetings over the summer August recess deflating the bill's chances:
Several Republican aides on Capitol Hill said they were conscious of the time crunch Congress faces. With just five legislative weeks left before the August recess, the Senate is only now getting around to voting on the full immigration reform package. Action in the House has been even slower. There is no announced timeline for immigration legislation; there isn't even an agreement on whether the House should take up a comprehensive bill or a number of smaller measures in a piecemeal approach.
Two House leadership aides said they expect the House to act on immigration before the August recess. But, they said, it's unlikely a conference committee, in which the House and Senate iron out differences between their respective bills, would be underway by the time Congress breaks for the summer.
On the NewsHour, Ray Suarez continued our "Inside Immigration Reform" discussion series Friday with a look at proposals requiring English proficiency to get citizenship. He spoke with Georgetown University's Barbara Mujica and Max Sevillia of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
Watch the segment here or below:Watch Video
A DOUBLE DOUBLEHEADER
Mark Shields and David Brooks do a little thing in our newsroom on Friday nights called the "Doubleheader," chatting with Hari Sreenivasan about the Sport of Politics, and the Politics of Sport.
And it got a little wild Friday when the guys sat down for a live version that was twice as long. They took your questions, ranging from their favorite state for political travel to which one of them is taller.
Watch here or below:Watch Video
And in their regular Friday night segment, Mark and David weighed in on Republican leadership, the farm bill's failure and the president on the world stage.
Watch that segment here or below:Watch Video
The president will deliver a speech on efforts to battle climate change on Tuesday. He previewed his remarks in a weekend web video.
The Edward Snowden saga continued Monday when a plane landing in Havana did not, as believed, have the leaker of information about the government's surveillance program on board.
Vice President Joe Biden paid a last-minute visit to the Bay State Saturday, to give a boost to Democratic Senate nominee Rep. Ed Markey ahead of his Tuesday faceoff against Republican Gabriel Gomez. The Boston Globe lays out the stakes for the race.
The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe highlights the divide on immigration by telling the story of two Republican senators named Jeff. That would be Flake, of Arizona, and Sessions, of Alabama.
The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Mascaro writes that lawmakers selling immigration legislation are increasingly using personal stories of people back home to stress how important the measure is for changing the status quo.
Christina talked about immigration from 30 Rock Sunday on "Up with Steve Kornacki." Rep. Hakim Jeffries, D-N.Y., argued in this clip that people seeking a stronger border are "moving the goal posts" when it comes to the numbers of agents and length of the fence.
Roll Call's Emily Cahn finds House Republicans working hard to recruit female candidates for the 2014 midterms.
First Lady Michelle Obama and the couple's daughters Malia and Sasha will be along for the president's trip to Africa Wednesday. Mrs. Obama will meet with youth and highlight "the power and importance of education," according to the White House. The Hill looks at her "high-profile" role.
Continuing to keep the intrigue alive, Hillary Clinton said in Toronto Thursday night she hopes to see a female president in her lifetime.
Democratic consultant and former Clinton aide Mo Elleithee continues the conversation about his daughter and a woman's chances to become president in an essay for Salon.
ABC News has the story of a Mormon mom who fought for California's Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage, and the emotional turnaround she faced when her teenage son came out.
The Supreme Court now has 11 pending decisions. The NewsHour homepage will host SCOTUSblog's live coverage beginning at 10 a.m. We're watching a few major topics still outstanding: affirmative action in higher education, the Voting Rights Act section 5, and Prop 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which both involve same-sex marriage.
Don't miss the updates to our Oral History Hotline page, which collects audio memories from when the Voting Rights Act passed. And for more in-depth Supreme Court coverage of the 2012-2013 term, visit our page.
When data journalism is supremely awesome: Yahoo News has a terrific interactive charting all the ways White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dodges questions, avoids answers or refuses to speculate.
Historic trinkets, neckties and suffrage-era mementos: Ari Shapiro details for NPR what the president gives as gifts to his closest aides.
Remember Journolist? Gawker posts the entire archive of the group that got a bunch of press folks in hot water for expressing political opinions.
Bad News Babes co-captain Abby Livingston writes for Heard on the Hill that Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., is the "Rudy" of the members' softball team.
Relatedly, Roll Call put together a Fantasy Softball project for Wednesday's game. And yes, Christina finds that terrifying.
NEWSHOUR: #notjustaTVshowJason Kane reports on how "Austin Musicians Don't Let Their Babies Grow Up Without Health Care."
Just how super was Sunday's Supermoon?
Ray Suarez spoke with author and journalist Jeff Chu about his experience reconciling being Christian and gay, a journey he recounts in his book "Does Jesus Really Love Me?"
Margaret Warner spoke with Matthew Cowley, Sao Paulo bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, about why a million protestors in Brazil hit the streets. See photos of the protests from Vinicius Ferreira of Youth Journalism International.
Watch Jeffrey Brown's extended conversation with writer Colum McCann and see him read an excerpt from "TransAtlantic" on ArtBeat.
People who have less money tend to act more charitably, Paul Solman explains in his second Making Sen$e segment on the psychology of wealth. Feelings of being well-off, however, can be manipulated.
In the movie version, I need a scene of the NSA director (played by Paul Giamatti) shaking his fist and yelling "SNOWDEEEEENNNNN!"— daveweigel (@daveweigel) June 24, 2013
Lots of enterprising reporters are racking up Aeroflot points but #Snowden apparently not on Havana-bound flight they staked out today.— PETER MAER (@petermaercbs) June 24, 2013
I'd like to read a story about frequent fliers between Moscow and Havana.— Nu Wexler (@wexler) June 24, 2013
This is what the White House & Northwest DC looked like from the top of the Washington Monument in 1945: pic.twitter.com/BhgjRG6ThA— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) June 22, 2013
On this date in 1944, FDR signed the GI Bill, allowing 2.2 million veterans to attend college and 6.6 million vets to receive job training.— Alec Ross (@AlecJRoss) June 22, 2013
Putting the ! in Yahoo! - Obama in Africa "won't be stopping in the country of his birth." http://t.co/6VombQeDcu— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) June 21, 2013
Once they cover the Washington Monument entirely with the second layer of scaffolding, it will be even harder to beat on Candy Crush Saga.— Jared Rizzi (@JaredRizzi) June 23, 2013
Simone Pathe contributed to this report.
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.
Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.
Follow the politics team on Twitter:Follow @burlijFollow @kpolantzFollow @elizsummersFollow @tiffanymullonFollow @meenaganesanFollow @ljspbs
The Supreme Court has sent a Texas case on race-based college admissions back to a lower court for another look. The court's 7-1 decision Monday leaves unsettled many of the basic questions about the continued use of race as a factor in college admissions.
NewsHour regular Marcia Coyle spoke with us shortly after the ruling, outside of the Supreme Court, and gave us her initial reaction. Listen to audio from her phone call or read the brief transcript below. She'll be live on our show later tonight for a deeper look at the justices' decisions.
The court has just issued 5 decisions, this morning including one that was long awaited and anxiously watched by civil rights groups, and that's Fisher v. University of Texas.
At issue was whether the university's use of race as a factor, one of several factors, in its admissions policy, was constitutional. Well, the court today in a 7-1 ruling sent the case back to the lower federal appellate court because it said that court had not done the proper job of looking at whether the university's use of race was "narrowly tailored" to achieve diversity in the university and in particular in classrooms throughout the university.
Narrow tailoring is one of the requirements that the court imposes, under what we call "strict scrutiny" when government entities use racial classification. So, this is really something that's a victory for both sides.
The young woman who challenged the university's use of race can go back and get another shot at challenging it. But civil rights groups as well win here because the court did not as feared go backward on whether universities can use race in higher ededucation in order to achieve diversity. The court said back in 2003 that that is a compelling government interest. And the court reiterated this morning, in the opinion by Justice Kennedy, that it was standing by that decision from 2003 as well as even an earlier decision in which the court first upheld racial diversity as a compelling interest in higher education.
For more reaction on the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin ruling, watch tonight's PBS NewsHour and follow along with our live blog below:
KLRU, our PBS member station in Austin, Texas, produced this documentary, "Admissions On Trial: Seven Decades of Race and Higher Ed" on the background and context behind the Fisher v. University of Texas case, and how universities currently use race in the admissions process.
Watch Admissions On Trial: Seven Decades of Race and Higher Ed on PBS. See more from KLRU.
By Laurence Kotlikoff
It can make sense to start collecting Social Security before age 70 if there are dependent children who can benefit. Photo by Elizabeth Shell.
Larry Kotlikoff's Social Security original 34 "secrets", his additional secrets, his Social Security "mistakes" and his Social Security gotchas have prompted so many of you to write in that we now feature "Ask Larry" every Monday. We are determined to continue it until the queries stop or we run through the particular problems of all 78 million Baby Boomers, whichever comes first. Kotlikoff's state-of-the-art retirement software is available here, for free, in its "basic" version.
Rose -- Sussex, Wis.: My husband is turning 62 in October and we have a 5-year-old son. My thoughts are that in his case, it does make sense to start collecting Social Security benefits early because our son will be collecting benefits for 13 years versus only five years if we wait until my husband is 70. Please let me know if I am thinking about this the wrong way. Thank you.
Larry Kotlikoff: For those who don't understand your question, Rose, a dependent child can collect Social Security benefits on a parent's account through age 17 -- or through age 19 if she or he is still in elementary or secondary school or if she or he became disabled before age 22, so long as she or he remains disabled.
So in your case, having your husband take his retirement benefit early may be best, in part because you can also receive a spousal benefit as the mother of a dependent child of the retired worker, so long as that child is under age 16 or disabled, although if you earn a lot, the spousal benefit could be wiped out by Social Security's earnings test. But, if he does take early benefits, he'll want to consider suspending his own retirement benefit at 66, when he reaches full retirement age and can do so, and then restarting it at 70. This will result in a 32 percent larger real (inflation-adjusted) benefit than if he took it age 66, and suspending won't affect your spousal benefit or your child's benefit.
I recommend you use commercially available software that incorporates your past covered earnings histories as well as your future projected covered earnings to determine which strategy will produce the highest lifetime benefits. Your case is very complex and depends on your past and projected earnings, your age, and how long you and your husband may live. If you are very young, say 30, there will be many years when you will likely be collecting survivor benefits. In this case, it may make much more sense for your husband to file and suspend at 66 and wait until 70 to collect his retirement benefit since this retirement benefit, which will be up to 76 percent higher than had he taken it at 62, will be what you will collect as a survivor (assuming he dies after age 70).
Angela Muniz -- Glendale, Ariz.: My husband and I retired this year. I started collecting my Social Security benefits at 66, my full retirement age, but my husband, who is younger than I am, will be 63 in September. Can you tell me the difference between collecting at 63 and 66, and would it help if we waited until he is 63 1/2? I don't know if we can wait until he turns 66. Paul, I love listening to you on PBS. You are one of my favorites.
Larry Kotlikoff: First, Paul insists that I thank you on his behalf. As we are close friends, and he edits this column, I am obliged to comply.MORE FROM LARRY KOTLIKOFF: How the Government Is Fooling Us About the Solvency of Social Security
Second, is there really no way for you to wait? Draw on a 401k or IRA, for example, on which you pay no penalty after age 59 1/2. Although, of course, you will have to pay income taxes unless it's a Roth IRA on which taxes have already been paid.
Third, the difference between collecting at age 63 and collecting at age 66 is 20 percent.
Fourth, yes, every month you wait to take Social Security after age 62 until age 70 will earn you a higher retirement benefit. As my Social Security expert Jerry Lutz points out, the benefit amount would increase by five-ninths of 1 percent for each month your husband delays taking benefits between ages 63 and 66, so his benefit amount would be 3.33 percent higher if he starts at age 63 1/2 instead of 63.
Moreover, every month you wait between age 62 and the official "full retirement age," which is currently 66, will earn you a higher spousal benefit, assuming you're entitled to receive any spousal money at all.
Now, as to what you should do, you have three "simple" strategies to consider.
Strategy A: You begin by repaying all the Social Security benefits you have received thus far, including, importantly, the Medicare Part B premium subtracted from your Social Security check.
You have one year to repay all your benefits and start over from scratch, and it sounds like you are still inside this window. Next, your husband applies for his retirement benefit now but suspends collection of it.
A further step: you apply just for your spousal benefit now. Finally, you apply for your retirement benefit when you reach 70, and your husband reactivates his retirement benefit at 70. Following this strategy will give you full spousal benefits between 66 and 70 (equal to half your husband's full retirement benefit) and also let your own retirement benefit continue to grow to its maximal age-70 value. Your husband needs to apply for his retirement benefit early in order to let you get a spousal benefit. But by suspending it at full retirement age, he can have it grow by 32 percent between 66 and 70 when he starts it up again. And this suspension won't undermine your ability to collect the full spousal benefit when you are 69.
Strategy B: You repay all your Social Security benefits as in Strategy A. When your husband reaches full retirement age (66), you apply for your retirement benefit but suspend its collection. This will permit your husband to apply just for a spousal benefit and thereby, collect a full spousal benefit on your earnings record (equal to half of your full retirement benefit).
When you reach age 70, you reactivate your retirement benefit. When your husband reaches age 70, he files for his retirement benefit and you file for your spousal benefit. Once someone files for a retirement benefit, the spousal benefit the person can collect morphs into the excess spousal benefit, which is the difference between half of one's spouse's full retirement benefit and 100 percent of one's own full retirement benefit, adjusted for any delayed retirement credits. Note that excess spousal benefits, if taken early, are also reduced due to the early retirement spousal benefit reduction factors.
Once you both are collecting your retirement benefits, the excess spousal benefit may be positive for one of you, so one of you may get more total benefits from this source. Mathematically, both spouses can't qualify for an excess spousal benefit. (One full retirement benefit has to exceed half of the other.) And it's often the case, with two earners who have even modest earnings histories, that both excess spousal benefits will be zero. This is because the formula that translates one's earnings history to one's full retirement benefit (called the primary insurance amount or PIA) is highly progressive.
Strategy C: You don't repay Social Security. When your husband reaches full retirement age, he applies for just his spousal benefit, which will be his full spousal benefit. Then he waits until 70 to collect his retirement benefit, at which point you apply for a spousal benefit, which will be calculated as your excess spousal benefit and could provide some extra shekels.
Which strategy will generate the highest lifetime benefits? This depends on your maximum ages of life and how you discount (as in assign less value to) money coming in the future compared to money you receive in the present. My guess is that strategy B is best. But there are also variants on these three strategies to consider. There are so many possible scenarios that to evaluate them all, you'll need to use one of the commercially available software programs out there.
Final point: Even staunch supporters of Social Security, like Paul, have to admit that designing Social Security such that you have to consider, by my best guess, over 20,000 alternative options, is absolutely nuts. With me, Paul?
Paul Solman: No, Larry, not with you. Social Security's rules, like the rules of any complex public policy, were not fully designed; they evolved. In your and my debate over the complexities of Social Security, I have never said that it ought not be simplified, any more than I would oppose pruning the tax code. I simply observed that it's a lot easier to complain about "crazy" complexity in the vast and therefore inevitably byzantine bureaucracy of a democracy than it is to fix it.
Barb -- Vancouver, Wash.: I retired at age 57 and am divorced. If I continue not to work, what is the best age to start collecting Social Security?
Larry Kotlikoff: Regular readers of this column will recognize that I have given the same advice before that I am about to give now. Apologies to those readers, who should of course feel free to skip ahead, but there are many new readers of Ask Larry every week, as evidenced by a question like this one.
Your best option, Barb, if you were married 10 or more years, is likely to wait until full retirement age (66), and then collect just a spousal benefit on your ex's work record, then wait until 70 to collect your own retirement benefit. It will be as much as 76 percent larger at 70, in today's (inflation-adjusted) dollars, than if you take it at 62. And if you take your own retirement benefit, you'll preclude your ability to take a full spousal benefit at full retirement age. Instead, you'll have to take both your retirement benefit and spousal benefit early, and your spousal benefit will be calculated as the excess spousal benefit, which could well be zero.
Teresa -- San Diego, Calif.: I work for a city with its own retirement system. I understand that I may not have access to Social Security when I retire, but I'm wondering if my husband could get access to the spousal benefit of my Social Security. He will be 62 this December, but I will not reach 62 for another seven years. Thank you.
Larry Kotlikoff: If I understand you correctly -- and maybe I don't -- you're not expecting to collect any Social Security benefits yourself. That is, you have worked for a city with its own pension system instead of Social Security. This is usual for state and local government workers. To be eligible for Social Security, you would also have had to work 40 quarters -- the equivalent of 10 years -- in a job where you and your employer paid Social Security taxes.
So no, if you aren't entitled to your own Social Security, your husband isn't entitled to yours either.
On the other hand, I at first thought you meant you had worked 40 quarters -- or that you will have by the time you reach retirement age. In that case, you should be aware that your own retirement benefit may be reduced due to something called the Windfall Elimination Provision. Your husband's spousal benefit may also be reduced -- or even wiped out -- by the Government Pension Offset provision.
Visitors to the Parque EcoAlberto in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo await instructions for their fake illegal broder crossing. Photo by Irina Zhorov/Fronteras
An unusual amusement park attraction in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo offers visitors the thrills and chills of an illegal border crossing. The attraction takes visitors through a fake United States-Mexico border, complete with fake smugglers and fake border patrol agents.
The aim is to dissuade would be migrants from making the trip. The coyote, or smuggler, leading this simulated illegal border crossing used the name Simon and wore a face mask. Before setting off, he addressed his charges that evening, about 40 students from a private school in Mexico City.
"Tonight we're going to talk about migration," Simon said in Spanish. "But for us it isn't just something rhetorical, but rather the opposite. Because we have endured, we have suffered, of hunger, thirst, injustice, heat, cold, we have suffered from everything."
Then, under the cover of night, Simon herded them into the woods, toward the fake frontera.
Listen to the report, including sounds from the Parque EcoAlberto.
The actual U.S.-Mexico border is nearly 800 miles away from the Parque EcoAlberto. The park is part of the indigenous HñaHñu community. Tourist can enjoy other recreational attractions like hot springs and rappelling, in addition to the recently added fake border crossing.
But for those who want to simulate the experience of fleeing across the border, without the real danger, the latter attraction is for you. For three hours, tourist groups endure sirens, dogs, chases and the fake border patrol yelling threats.
Maribel Garcia works as an administrator for the park. She says the purpose of the Night Walk is simple.
"Our objective is to stop the immigration that exists amongst our citizens, principally from the state of Mexico to the U.S.," Garcia said in Spanish.
Garcia says traditionally this region subsisted on agriculture, but that wasn't bringing the community what it needed.
"Because we didn't have sewer systems, light, telephone, roads," she said.
So people went north. The HñaHñu community has lost about 80 percent of its population to the U.S., Garcia estimates, mainly to Arizona and Nevada. Garcia says it was the HñaHñu youth returning home after crossing the real border who thought up this tourist attraction as a way to create income for the community and encourage others to stay in Mexico.
During the tour, participants have an encounter with the fake border patrol. Photo by Irina Zhorov/Fronteras
Titi, who also works as a coyote on the Night Walks, was emphatic that it was not training for future generations.
"We try to help people so that they won't leave," Titi said in Spanish. "It's time to create some employment, to work with our own and regenerate everything, or at least what we can, even though it might be slow going."
The HñaHñu's efforts are well timed. According to one estimate, for first time since the 1960s there is net-zero migration from Mexico to the U.S. Increased border patrol, stricter laws in the U.S., rising smuggling fees, violence in the desert and the struggling U.S. economy are keeping more Mexicans at home.
Garcia, the administrator, is hoping the Night Walks convince youth in particular to put their energies into their home communities.
"The youth that already have something figured out, that already have something visualized for the future, they're the youth that in that moment think, 'How difficult,'" she said.
Students get on the ground during an encounter with a fake violent drug smuggler. Photo by Irina Zhorov/Fronteras
The tours cost the equivalent of about $20. The visitors are typically middle-class Mexicans or, like tonight, students from private schools -- in other words, not the most likely group to attempt an illegal crossing into the U.S.
Still, there were some who had been thinking about it. Over tea and sweet breads at the end of the walk, Jazmin Arely Moreno Alcazar said she got the message.
"It's not worth risking it because if we can't stand a few hours, we won't be able to stand days. Because it's very ugly," Alcazar said in Spanish.
Garcia said it's difficult to quantify how effective the tours are for other visitors. But as the park's tourist offerings expand and the number of visitors grow, she said there is a new hope that enough money will come in and that the attraction will encourage more community members to stay put.
This story was reported by the Fronteras: Changing Americas Desk, a multimedia collaboration among seven public radio stations. It is led by KJZZ in Phoenix and KPBS in San Diego and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as part of its Local Journalism Center initiative.
Political editor Christina Bellantoni interviewed data producer Elizabeth Shell about the in-depth interactive, New Adventures for Older Workers, on the lessons learned, pitfalls, whys and hows of the project.
People are putting off retirement. More workers are punching timecards well past their 60s and into their 70s. Pensions, a once-relied-upon staple for the American workforce, are a reminiscence of the good ol' days for most.
You're probably saying to yourself, "no kidding, genius." After all, a recent poll shows that 92 percent of us think we're in a retirement crisis. But we were curious in the whys and hows of working longer. What does that look like? What can we learn from people who do work later in life? And based on all this, what can we expect for future workers and non-retirees? (Read: anyone not yet retired.)
It became clear very early on that this was an information-intensive story, a data-journalism story. And like every story we pursue we needed to carefully cover the facts and decide what we were trying to do: Simply inform? Create empathy? Kickstart social change?
Data journalism is like every other type of journalism, whether it's being told via videography, written word, broadcast or illustration. As we delved through the numbers and statistically analyzed them, we knew we would need to be creative in our approach to presenting this story we were uncovering.
We needed to not only identify trends but analyze them for what's new and interesting -- show how it all fits together and give it perspective.
We wanted to do something totally new as we tied together nearly a half-dozen mini-documentaries, data visualizations, character profiles, expert interviews, quotes and trends. So we partnered with the boutique agency Ocupop* to design and develop a befitting website. We also knew it needed to be more than pretty. We decided to make it interactive, and we wanted to include you in the exploration. Going through the project you can see how, in real time, you fit in.
We wanted New Adventures for Older Workers to do more than answer the questions we started out with. We wanted readers to see their own personal stories mirrored in the various folks we interviewed and explore the data and trends we unearthed.
We present all the data and highlight the relevant bits: what that means and how it's relevant to you. What do we want you to do with all of this? Share it. Plan for your future. Ask questions and arm yourself with information and options. See how older workers are experiencing their own second careers long after they thought they'd be retired.
In New Adventures for Older Workers we gathered, compared, correlated, crunched and, hopefully, visualized all of it in a way you find compelling. Because (unless you're a data geek like me), who finds databases of spreadsheets irresistible?
* The NewsHour also partnered with Ocupop to create Ad Libs, our interactive tool that helps you create your own political ad using content available from your Facebook page, during the 2012 election campaign.
Video shot by Tiffany Mullon, Joshua Barajas and Justin Scuiletti; produced by Elizabeth Shell.
Photo by Karen Bleier/ AFP/ Getty Images.
As the Senate floor buzzed Thursday afternoon over the Republican-sponsored border security amendment aimed at expanding the GOP vote for immigration reform, veteran GOP strategist Whit Ayres wanted to know if the deal had been well-received by Democrats.
I spoke with Ayres by phone in the mid-afternoon, and filled him in that the GOP-written compromise, indeed, had Democratic support.
"Interesting. That will make it the toughest border security measure ever passed by the U.S. Congress," Ayres said from his Capitol Hill office. "I mean, if that passes, I can see the bill getting north of 70 votes."
Senate Democrats generally favor the immigration bill which would allow some 11 million undocumented people to earn citizenship. Republicans are less supportive, citing the need for a more secure southern border as the priority.
Ayres long has noted that the GOP lost Latino voters three to one to President Barack Obama in last year's election and must support immigration reform to break out from that deficit among the fastest growing group in the nation. Reform would benefit the largely Hispanic undocumented community.
In the Senate, the 70 votes Ayres envisions would mean about 35 percent of Republicans voted for the immigration bill. He and other advocates say that would send a strong message to House Republicans that they should vote yes later this year.
But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says he wants at least half of his members in the House majority to support any immigration bill he brings up for a vote. Some House Republicans demand that be the standard and one said recently Boehner will lose his speakership if he doesn't adhere to it.
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus met Wednesday with Boehner about the immigration bill. Afterward, leading advocate Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., said the speaker reiterated the "majority of the majority" stance.
"I left that meeting understanding that there needs to be a majority of Republicans and a majority of Democrats. And let me emphasize, a majority of Republicans and a majority of Democrats need to come together so that the will of the House of Representatives can be done," Gutiérrez told The Hill newspaper.
Currently, there's great doubt that House Republican support for immigration reform can reach 50 percent -- far more than the expected vote in the Senate.
According to some analysts, most House Republicans have little incentive to support reform because they have very few Hispanic constituents in their Congressional districts and many in their largely white districts consider a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented an unacceptable amnesty.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., whose district is about 4 percent Hispanic, told Politico Thursday, "You certainly have people who want no amnesty, and that's the end of the discussion. [But] for folks who are willing to look at immigration, I think it's a tremendous opportunity for us Republicans to make the case that this is good policy for everybody, not just good politics vis-à-vis the Hispanic community."
Ayres acknowledged there's a friction between the priorities of national Republicans concerned about the Hispanic vote in a presidential election and the political needs of individual House GOP members.
"Oh, sure. No question. That's why there are a number of Republicans who need to be persuaded this will be good for the country on balance and your district on balance. They have to be persuaded of that and should be persuaded of that and not all of them will be. The question is whether there will be enough," Ayres said.
He was not willing to predict success this year for immigration reform.
"I think it's very much up in the air at this point. I'm hopeful that significant immigration reform along these lines will pass. But I think the outcome is very much hanging in the balance," he said.
He also said failing to pass the bill this year is not the end of the road: "I don't think all hope ends by any means. But I think it'll be easier to get it done this year than next."