NOW with Alex Wagner | October 26, 2012
>>> tell us about a livable wage?
>> i don't care [ inaudible ] livable wage.
>> point blank.
>> why? to beat us down, what? i mean --
>> ridiculous, why.
>> to human late us. why? what good is that? what are you thinking you're going to feel every day going into work? they don't care. that's the biggest problem.
>> that's a scene from "detropia" as union workers learn their latest contract would result in a huge pay cut according to the " wall street journal " veteran workers at the three automakers make upwards of $33 an hour, new hires half that. the lower wages are one reason factory jobs are coming back in the u.s. with 200,000 positions added in the past year. unlikely the manufacturing sector will ever be what it was a few decades ago. in 1979 at the peak, there were 19.6 million manufacturing positions and now there are a little less than 12 million. the erosion of manufacturing jobs has led to the decline of once booming urban areas across the country. baltimore lost about 30% of its population from 1970 to 2010 , cleveland lost nearly 50% during the same time period , pittsburgh's population stands at about 306,000, down about 41% since 1970 and more than half of the people living in youngstown, ohio, packed up and left over the last four decades. wes, i want to go to you first. i don't know if america knows but you have moved back to baltimore which is one of the great american cities but a city that has seen its fair share of problems and flight out of the city. i wonder, let's talk first why? why did you choose to go back to baltimore ?
>> you know, it was a question that even a lot of my friends asked me when i said i'm going back to baltimore , they were like why? honestly i believe in the baltimore story. i believe in the fact i'm a very proud baltimorens and we are proud people, proud of our city and have a lot of infrastructure that's in place that's actually showing where we're making a renaissance. if you look at school readiness indicators in baltimore , 12 years ago we were at 27% of kids were at school readiness now we have around 73% of kids at school readiness. new infrastructure coming back, arts and cultural base coming back. it's an exciting time to be there but you're going with both eyes open understanding there's economic challenges, social challenges that have to be tackled, particularly when looking at great american citys.
>> we brought up those manufacturing stats because that's -- we talk about the systemic problems with a lot of these cities and the reality is, is detroit ever going to be a manufacturing center like it was in we really don't know. i think the president pointed out, you know, he's gotten hit hard from the republicans as far as economic recovery and jobs coming back and this is what he said in the second debate and i thought it was an interesting moment of honesty about where america 's sort of manufacturing jobs are going to be. let's take a listen.
>> there's some jobs that are not going to come back. because they're low wage, low skill jobs. i want high wage, high skill jobs. that's why we have to emphasize manufacturing . that's why we have to invest in advanced manufacturing . that's why we've got to make sure we've got the best science and research in the world.
>> heidi, pittsburgh has seen some rebound in terms of its own economy and some part of that is due to the university sector, more of an emphasis on robotics and biotechnology which is centered around the university's carnegie-mellon and university of pittsburgh . how many jobs you can create in those sectors and how quickly you can, paul krugman saying in the times if you didn't know what was going on in the u.s. economy you would think from reading the obama plan america was a place where workers with the right skills were in high demand so our big problem was not that enough people have those skills. five or ten years from now america might look like that. right now, however, we're still living in a depressed economy offering poor prospects for everyone including the highly educated.
>> it's just that there's those low skilled or unskilled manufacturing jobs employed millions of people. those aren't coming back. we've lost over 2 million manufacturing jobs overall since the clinton era. we are on that decline. we're looking for the next big thing. what is the next big industry that can employ millions of people. everyone is searching for that, hoping for that. high-tech manufacturing is important. it doesn't require as many bodies as the old model did.
>> the economic policy institute said that green jobs are growing faster than the overall economy and they are accessible to those without a college education it comes down to a numbers game, wes. the question is, we look at this choice election that we have in front of us and the economic prescriptions being offered by both parties and i think the biggest problem for me as far as where mitt romney 's prescription lies is the notion that you cure america 's ills by cutting taxes for the top 1 to 10%. if you look at real median income is as of last year, it's $50,000, which is 8% lower than 2007 . the top fifth of this country earned over 51% of all incomes. it is an imbalance that is historic and i think very distressing.
>> here's the problem with mitt romney 's equation. in major economic cities and major urban cities do we need to address things like tax rates . yes. because the fact is in major metropolitans they're paying more in taxes than their suburban neighbors. however the most important thing we have to do is increase the tax base , have more people in there who actually have good sustainable jobs. by doing things like addressing the educational disparities, doing things like making sure the education is trained towards jobs available and making sure we're putting in places where they can actually be successful in their work, that's how you increase the tax base , that's how you encourage more business to invest inside the area and address the economic disparities mitt romney is talking about without saying if we decrease taxes for the very rich somehow it will trickle down. that experiment has not worked.
>> i will try to leave this segment on a high note which is to say that the detroit tigers are in the world series .
>> go tigers.
>> which is i mean i love san francisco , but really, the city should get it.
>> to win this one.
>> they earned that.
>> they deserve it. thank you to our resident detroit experts rachel grady and heidi ewing their film "detropia" is out now, arthur mark binelli, detroit city the place to be, which goes on sale november 13th . go tigers. coming up vice president joe biden wants americans to know that you don't have to wait until november 6th to vote. snoor i want to make what we call a public service announcement . early voting is available between now and november the 2nd.
>> but you can't really cast your ballot if you don't know who you are supporting. so whos is actually still undecided in this election? we'll look under the desk and in between the seat cushions for undecided voters . when chris hayes joins us for up