BEHIND THE NEWS: Miserable Monday

January 26, 2009 1:59:54 PM PST
Jobs are the headline. Alas, it's the lack of jobs. Another bloodletting today, as giant corporations announced huge job cuts in the U.S. and around the world.

Yet another sign that the economy may be in the tank for a long time.

Which of course doesn't make it any easier for the folks who tonight are holding pink slips.

And there are many. More than 62,000 to be precise. 20,000 at Caterpillar, the biggest construction and mining machinery maker in the world; 8,000 at Sprint Nextel; 7,000 at Home Depot (where you'd think business might be doing okay, since people might be more drawn to fixing their own homes - but apparently even that's being put on hold); 8,000 from the announced merger of Pfizer and Wyeth; and General Motors, going from bad to worse, cutting 2,000 more jobs.

There are cuts in Europe as well - thousands of jobs.

The latest round of layoffs -- Exhibit A for Pres. Obama, who wants his stimulus package to begin sooner rather than later. And this afternoon we hear that debate on the President's $850 billion plan could begin in the House tomorrow, with a vote on Wednesday.

We'll have the latest on the economy and the proposed stimulus plan, tonight at 11.

A strange scene at New York City Hall today -- several local TV anchors, sharing the stage with Mayor Bloomberg today, talking about the digital television transition, set for Feb. 17. There are still 200,000 or so households in the tri-state area that depend on the old-fashioned analog signal, and the point of the news conference was to urge people to get a converter. There is talk about delaying the transition - no decision has yet been made - in part because the government ran out of coupons that would pay for $40 of the price of the converter boxes needed to make an old analog set receive digital signals.

The government offered hundreds of billions in bailout money to giant corporations, but it fell way short of bailing out poor people who can't afford the $40 to $60 converter box cost. They're about $1 billion short; and, as it is, they ran out of coupons.

Our message today: We want no viewer left behind. So here's a thought: If you have an extra $40 in your pocket, buy someone who needs one-- a converter box. (More about DTV on 7online.com)

We're also following another alleged investment scam. This one is on Long Island. The CEO of a company in Hauppauge is expected to be taken into federal custody perhaps tonight for allegedly ripping off investors in an investment scheme.

Why are people taken in by these scams? Tonight we'll have the latest on a company called Agape World, and we'll look at the gotta-make-more philosophy that lost so many investors their savings.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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