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FROM THIS EPISODE

Republican commentator Peggy Noonan says America's new billionaires are so rich they look down on "tatty old Windsor Castle."  How did they accumulate so much money? Will concentrated wealth "trickle down" to the middle class--or destroy it?  Also, the President's sub-prime bailout plan and, on Reporter's Notebook, while much of the world is concerned with over-population, Russia is trying to increase the birth-rate.

Producers:
Frances Anderton
Christian Bordal
Vanessa Romo

Making News Bush's Sub-Prime Mortgage Plan, Snow's Resignation 6 MIN, 10 SEC

On Karl Rove's last day in the White House, President Bush announced today that Press Secretary Tony Snow is resigning, too. Bush himself offered a plan to help troubled sub-prime borrowers to keep their homes. The President wants Congress to reform the Federal Housing Authority, change the tax code and crack down on lending fraud.  Mark Silva covers the White House for the Chicago Tribune.

Guests:
Mark Silva, White House Correspondent, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune

Main Topic 'Ridiculous, Ostentatious Wealth' in America 36 MIN, 1 SEC

A conservative columnist reports that we're in "the second great Gilded Age." A liberal author warns that "a bloated over-class can drag down society."  But a New York Times Magazine article is headlined "Don't Hate Them Because They're Rich: The Trickle-down Effect of Ridiculous, Ostentatious Wealth." America's median income is $48,000, but the starting salary for some butlers is $60,000. Those numbers can be used to show that the massive wealth of the Super Rich "trickles down" to the rest of Americans, but not everybody sees it that way. In 20 years, the number of billionaires has gone from 13 to several 1000.  Some see a permanent aristocracy in the making, while the middle class struggles to pay the bills. How did the super rich get that way?  Are they good or bad for the economy?

Guests:
Daniel Gross, Daily Beast (@grossdm)
Robert H. Frank, Cornell University
Carol Scudere, Owner of Professional Domestic Services & Institue
Ray Madoff, Professor of Law at Boston College Law School

Reporter's Notebook Russia Says Take the Day Off and *%$&(* 6 MIN, 31 SEC

In much of the world, population growth has reached unsustainable levels, but Western Europe is welcoming a minor baby boom after 20 years without enough children to replace the elderly and sustain prosperous economies. Russia is conducting a national campaign to produce more Russians. Spanning no less than 11 time zones and occupying one-seventh of all the land surface of Earth, Russia's population is only 141 million-- just 2% of the world's population, compared to 20% in China and 17% in India. President Vladimir Putin says demographic inadequacy is a crisis, and Russia has declared September 12 as the Day of Conception, or Procreation Day. Allan Hill is Professor of Demography at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies.

Guests:
Allan Hill, Professor of Demography at the Harvard Center for Population Studies

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