March 16th, 2009
12:15 PM ET

Morning Buzz: Anderson's Road Trip

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/13/art.mayorvilla1.jpg]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

Our theme this week is, “Road to Rescue: A CNN Survival Guide." Anderson travels to 5 cities in 5 days and sees how the economy is affecting YOU in your neck of the woods.

Tonight, he begins in LA, where he meets with Mayor Villaraigosa and gets a tour of spots in that city in need of stimulus money and reform. He also talks to strong-spirited Californians who show how they are fighting back in this dire economy.

Our poll shows that 63% of you believe the economy is the most important issue facing the nation, and breaking it down even more- it’s about jobs. More than a third of folks surveyed said unemployment is the most important economic issue facing us today.

Ben Bernanke is feeling less gloomy. In a rare interview last night he said, “We do have a plan, we’re working on it. And I do think that we will get it stabilized, and we’ll see the recession coming to an end probably this year. We’ll see recovery beginning next year.” Do you believe we'll see recovery next year?

President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announce administration plans to make lending to small businesses more attractive today. We'll tell you all about this plan tonight.

Another big story we are following: insurance giant AIG sheds light on who benefitted from the bailout money they received from Uncle Sam. 2 European banks, along with Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, took the most: $11 billion.

In the meantime, Congress and the WH are bristling over huge bonuses paid to AIG execs totalling $165 million. As the struggling insurance giant lost a record $62 billion in the 4th quarter and got $170 billion in government bailout money, this news is causing outrage.

For its part, AIG says it could lose top performers to higher paying jobs and the company could go under, if they do not pay the bonuses. We’ll have this story and more, on tonight’s Special Edition of AC360. See u at 10pet!

Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Don, WA

    It would be some cool AC if he hitchiked from town to town across the country, rode in the back of some pick-up trucks along the stretches of highway, stopping at diners and truck stops as well as visiting with big city mayors too about the economy and jobs and debt. I would give a big thumbs up to that. Oh, that's probably what Jack Gray's doing right now – what a team.

    March 16, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  2. Lisa from Buffalo

    They say they have to pay it to keep the "best" people around. I thinking after "these" people lost their company 61 billion dollars in one quarter, I don't think they really have to be worried about losing the "best".

    March 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  3. EJ (USA)

    What are the other 4 cities Anderson is visiting?

    March 16, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  4. Isabel, Brazil

    If these improvements were experienced, already next year, once again I applaud the America.
    I am not pessimistic, but for what I experienced in a crisis, it goes fast, the consequences are terrible, and visibility of improvement is very slow and difficult. But we will keep hope! If the good news arrives, will better for us all!

    About California, I was aware of some families in Sacramento, who lost their homes with the real estate crisis and they are living in tents, in precarious conditions.

    The city of tents already houses hundreds of people and was growing at a frightening rate. What the government (president and mayor) are doing for these people?

    March 16, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  5. Troy

    Someone needs to know. Politicians are painting it much better than it is. Mesa Az has high end homes and lower cost homes. The "average" price drop is a misnomer. The higher end homes may drop a bigger number but a much lower percentage. Many of the higher end people have investments etc. They can keep their homes. The lower end homes and owners are being slaughted financially. More job loss and no back up assets. Look at the ratio of the drop in price for low end homes, those that sold for under 250K compared to those under 180K over the last two yrs. In my neighborhood homes with 225K mortgages didn't sell in the foreclosure price of 83K and sold at auction for around 50K. This is the norm ! Over a 75% drop ! We are so buried, well over 100K we can't see the surface. The stimulus has done nothing. My house is over 50 yrs old, so it isn"t just a new home thing. The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting a little less rich. Many are buying our homes at a fraction of the cost and becoming richer ! Investigate this!

    March 16, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  6. Diane N.

    There are other insurance companies, AIG is not the only fish in the sea. They don't appreciate what they are given. What they are doing seems almost criminal and they are committing their crime right out in the open for everyone to see. They also seem to think that what they are given is owed to them at the expense of people who aren't even their clients. They should have to go under like any other business would have to in this sort of crisis. Why is it that this particular company gets preferential treatment?

    March 16, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  7. Katy

    Majority of American, including me, don't get salary raise & bonus for 2 years now due to companies do not do well and no bail out $. Why on earth AIG dumbs get the bonuses. Contractual bounding? BS. Let the Tax Payers view the contracts. The bottom line is congress & senators had been bought by AIG lobbyish, they can't do any thing; including asking they to show the plan (like the auto makers) before AIG receives the $bailout. If we / the tax payers don't voice out angers and disapproval, the Washington will let it go away after pretending of outrage. While the bonus is mainly the focus, what about taking the American tax payers $ to bail out the Eu. banks? any one see that, focusing the bonus is cover for the other misused our hard earned $?

    March 16, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  8. Cristy Kirssin Baltimore, Maryland


    I saw many businesses hiring this past weeekend in Baltimore some just a few miles apart in distance from each other- They had "Now Hiring" signs up which you could see rite off the highway. I was suprised because it was a departure from what we are hearing about. Some of them were: Honda for car sales and Taco Bell. Maybe the glimmer of hope continues.....

    Looking forward to your segments this week!

    Cristy Kirssin

    March 16, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  9. KIm

    Way to go Mr. Cooper ! Hope he goes to a Public School Building or has a chance to talk to a superintendent. It's all "Owed to a Nightingale." Small business loans unlocked today ! Gov. will buy securities backed by SBA loans. Contractual agreements and the bonus to AIG ? All call for attorney's, report to AIG and chew those contracts up ! God bless the new CEO,who knew and those earmarks were from last year.

    March 16, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  10. vernon peterson

    Hi, Mr Cooper

    My wife is a high school teacher at felicity franklin local school
    in southern Ohio. My wife was told her job will be cut at the end of the school year.Why do we give money to AIG so they get big checks for their wasteful spending that cost american billon more.My wife can give tax paying American something back for their money that will keep given. Please don't let are children fall so, AIG can get richer.


    March 16, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  11. Missy

    AIG may be contractually bound to give the bonuses, but I'm not. If a company is broke and doesn't have the money to pay out, then that should legally give them an out.

    March 16, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  12. ashter

    If AIG is contractually bound to give the bonuses try this–give them the bonus they crave in an envelope along with a pink slip. They can then stand in line along with the rest of us trying to find a job. I'll put my integrity above theirs.

    March 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  13. Brandi - bottom of the boot

    he didnt come to my neck of the woods! whats up with that?? 🙂

    looking forward to what he has in store for us anyway.

    AIG...no comment. it wouldnt get posted. 😉

    March 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  14. Paul Schultheis

    Something that you will never hear reported on any business channels. In 1929 the dow had a high of 380. In 1974 it had a low of 570. That means that $100.00 invested in the dow index in 1929 would have grown to a whopping $150.00 in 1974. That's 45 years. Ever wonder who really benefits from 401K plans that by law cannot be self directed. It's not you.

    March 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  15. Arachnae

    To Clairmont, who said "It would make more economic sense if Obama had given every household (there are 192 million households) a $100K stimulus check."

    Giving out 192 million checks for $100K would cost 19.2 TRILLION dollars, about ten times the estimate of the ultimate cost of the recovery. For reference, the entire US economy is about 14 trillion/year.

    March 16, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  16. Carless CARIN in crooked CANADA

    Tell Anderson – happy travels – and we will be TUNED in at 10PM!!!!

    Rescue ... sounds good to me!!!!


    March 16, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  17. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    If you want a bailout--just send another rasnom note to Congress!

    March 16, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  18. Jerry Gentz

    So why doesn't Congress pass a bill, retroactive to January 2008, putting a 100% tax on any bonus given by any company getting taxpayer money?

    March 16, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  19. Beverly-NYC

    If AIG's "top performers" cost the 61 billion dollar loss I think they should be unemployed. There are a lot of other smart people out of work who can replace them in no time. Since they are "contractually obligated to pay bonuses why aren't they equally obligated against bad acts that cost the company money? This company needs to be swarmed by an army of bean counters, IRS agents and M&A specialists, tell us how bad their problems are once and for all, then break them up by year's end, enough of this death by a thousand cuts.

    March 16, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  20. Lisa from Buffalo, NY

    I have a question that should be posed. Why was it that the government require before they helped out the auto industry that they had to show a plan to restructure themselves including working out a new deal with the union, but this wasn't required of Wall St or the banking industry? Don't you think it is a double standard. They all should have been required to submit restructurng before our hard earned money went to bail them out. I think that this should be the standard for ANY industry asks for a hand out from the government. I don't think it is too much to ask.

    March 16, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  21. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Hi Penny
    Long time no read ! I am looking forward to your reports Anderson .The economy has put you in the field again ! Yeah that's whre you do your best reporting .I hope you travel safe ! The greefd is the one thing the banks are are getting the better of this mess. I think the banks should fail it'sa on;ly to benefit the CEO's . Thanks for keeping them honest .Anderson !

    P.S. Is there live blog tonigh?
    Thanks for the post Penny !
    Michelle D.

    March 16, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  22. Linda Gerrard

    Rebecca – I like your idea for the AIG bonus payments.

    Personally, I felt they should have said sue us, you can't get blood out of a stone. It would have been tied up in the courts for who knows how long. Maybe they should have sent them to Bernie Madoff to collect... I can not believe that there was not some way out of those contracts. I wonder what the contracts are like for this year...

    I hope those greedy executives are out of work now.

    March 16, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  23. Antoinette, NY

    Anderson – thanks for your work and I am looking forward to watching and listening to your stories.

    I agree with Clairmont, until Americans are out of debt, there will not be a recovery from this mess. Credit card debt alone is killing the average Joe. It seems as though the banks continue to make up terms so that they of course benefit from all of this debt. The average person can not continue to pay the debt + escalating finance charges are maddening. And then we go ahead and continue to give these same banks more of our tax dollars??!! It has to stop. There has to be accountability. The banks are failing for a reason: GREED. The American people will continue to suffer until WE are helped. We need to go back to fair business practices. We must all pay our debts however we shouldn't have to pay for the greed of others.

    Safe travels!

    March 16, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  24. Rebecca

    Since AIG claims they are under contract to give the outrageous bonuses, require them to receive theri bonuses in AIG stock.
    Wouldn't that be an incentive for good work !

    March 16, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  25. Clairmont

    Sorry Moderator – I had typos. Doesn't pay to type a comment when you are seething with rage!!

    Anderson – There will be no recovery if Americans can’t get out of debt. No matter how much money is “given” in welfare checks to these corporate robber barons, Americans can’t buy anything considering their debt load.
    It would make more economic sense if Obama had given every household (there are 192 million households) a $100K stimulus check. With that money in hand, families could pay for their mortgages (some could have paid them off and bought another home), paid for health care, college, started a new small business, and had money to put into their local banks. No – we gave our tax dollars away to people making more than a million dollars a year. How is that smart? Then we complain that it’s not working. Obama’s entire economic team needs to be replaced with high school economic teachers! They would do a better job and have no “loyalty” to Wall Street.

    March 16, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  26. Cindy

    I'm looking forward to seeing Coop's "On The Road" Interviews and reports. It's been a while since the man's been out and about. I think it'll do some good to see what us "normal" people are thinking rather than all of the talking heads on TV.

    I just can not believe that AIG gave out those huge bonuses with our bailout money! Their excuses for doing it is the biggest load of crap that I've ever heard! We need to take back every dime that we've given them and let them fail!! They are just stupid!


    March 16, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  27. Jacqueline, NY

    Is it me, or did the company did already fail and go under with their top performers in place? And exactly what higher paying jobs will they have to go to when all other companies are going under as well? It seems AIG is just doing "business as usual" at the taxpayers' expense.

    Is Washington totally clueless or careless. I'd have to believe that they are if they continue to let these bailed out companies have it their way; and they will have it their way as long as they know that they have the government to bail them out. It certainly does look that way.

    March 16, 2009 at 9:01 am |