THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY NATIONAL ECONOMIC ADVISOR GENE SPERLING AND DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF MARIA ECHAVESTE The Briefing Room
12:50 P.M. EDT
MR. SIEWERT: We'll begin with a quick briefing on the trip next week. Documentary filmmaker and National Economic Advisor, Mr. Sperling will give you an overview of the trip. And Maria Echaveste, Deputy Chief of Staff, who -- did you play a role in the film? -- will also run through the trip and what the President hopes to accomplish next week.
MR. SPERLING: The President, from his campaign in 1992, had an agenda for urban and rural distressed parts of America which he felt was a new, third way approach, which sought to reject both the kind of laissez-faire approach of some to distressed and rural places, but also recognized that many of the government programs on the social side had failed in setting the correct incentives, and that he called for a very activist agenda to bring capital and economic opportunity into the most distressed places of America.
In 1992, the key of the agenda was to create for the first time ever a federal empowerment zone initiative, the first time ever a federal community development bank initiative, and to do a dramatic reform of the Community Reinvestment Act.
During '93 and '94, the President was successful in all of those areas, and the Community Reinvestment Act has actually made more -- led to more commitments since '92 -- 95 percent of all of the commitments have been made since the President took office. The empowerment zone and enterprise communities -- there are 135 across the country. And community development banks, we will see several of them and the effect that they've had on communities during the trip.
The President in an effort to build on that also did much in the welfare-to-work job area and had a new brownsfield tax incentive initiative.
As we looked in 1998 for what were the best ways to build on that agenda, bringing capital and opportunity into economically distressed and under-served parts of America, we consulted broadly -- we consulted with people who run venture capital companies; we consulted with distressed people who are community leaders in distressed communities; we consulted with Jesse Jackson and Sandy Weil and their Wall Street Project, and in fact, worked very closely with Reverend Jackson and Sandy Weil and others. And what we found was that one of the real problems was that there was a lack of focus on, one, the potential -- still a lack of focus on the potential of under-served areas in our own backyard for profit making, as a place for new markets, a place where people could do good and do well for themselves at the same time; and that there was still a lack of equity capital going into distressed communities.
Over and over again, people will say that getting the initial equity capital is essential to starting, and we found that for a number of reasons there is still a failure to go to the places and people who need it most. Some of that is because venture capital often is in search of very, very high potential returns -- the next Internet stock that can make 40 or 50 percent a year -- and sometimes bypasses many people who have solid job-creating opportunities for their community. But often it's simply a lack of relationships, people simply do not have relationships with the people in under-served communities that they may in other parts of the country and of the world.
And finally, we found that there is often a need for more technical assistance, more help in some of the distressed communities, and that a lot of opportunity, a lot of potential was being bypassed because of this.
So we worked and put together a new addition on the President's economic opportunity agenda, New Markets Initiative. And essentially, what we did was we tried to build off the model that is in the small business investment companies. The small business investment companies, or SBIC, is a program that America On Line, Federal Express, many others have used, the basic core of which is that it gives you an incentive to raise capital, because if you can raise $20 billion or $20 billion, the government will match twice that much in government guaranteed loans. And so, in other words, it empowered people to get equity capital, because to the degree that they could raise a certain amount, they could get twice that much in cheaper financing through guaranteed loans.
Now, the reason this program has worked well and hasn't cost the government a lot of money is, unlike the S&L type of issues where the incentives were misaligned, here, the investors have to lose all of their money before the government loses any of its money. So people are able to raise money, but they don't -- they're basically investing their own money and so therefore, they show great care. Therefore, we've been able to do enormous amounts for this program at very low government costs. But we've found there were some holes in that. One was it was not working -- it was not being addressed enough to low-income areas; two, it did not do enough for some of the smaller entrepreneurial companies that need technical assistance and, three, it did not allow some of the larger investments that we often are allowed to make overseas, and we often heard from investment companies who would say, how come I could do a project this large in South Africa or overseas, but I can't get a project -- help for financing in Harlem or Chicago or Appalachia here in the United States. We thought those were all legitimate points.
And so we put forward legislation. First, we took the small business invest companies and we created a new, low- and moderate-income section. And what we did was, we allowed companies, investment companies to both defer their interest for five years so that they would be more willing to take risks because they have longer to pay back the interest and, second, allowed them more ability to control and manage new companies so that they could work more closely with start-up companies or people with good ideas for relatively inexperienced management.
One of the things that we'll announce on our trip that Maria will go through is that in Phoenix, we will see one of the very first companies coming together answering that challenge to have an SBIC directed towards lower and moderate income communities. So that, we were able to do administratively. Legislatively, we're calling for New Markets venture capital, which would focus on smaller companies, more start-up entrepreneurs. And what that does is the government, when you raise equity, not only matches with government guarantees, but also with technical assistance so that people could get up to $1.5 million for technical assistance so they can provide the help with initial marketing, finding financial people so that smaller entrepreneurs could get off their feet and get started. That's the New Market Venture Capital Proposal. The second legislative proposal is what we call APIC, which is obviously built off OPIC, the Overseas Private Investment Company. This would be America's Private Investment Companies.
And what this does it allows for the larger type of investments that the SBIC does not allow for. Under this, several companies could raise up to $100 million and get $200 million in government-backed financing, so it would allow up to $300 million investment companies dedicated towards getting capital into lower and moderate income areas.
And then the third legislative proposal was a new markets tax credit. And that essentially would be a 25 percent equity tax break for people who are putting investments in these type of vehicles or in existing vehicles, like community development banks. And again, this allows somebody to put money into a fund that is going towards lower income communities to creating jobs and economic opportunities and get 25 percent back right off their investment; it's actually six percent a year over five years, but it equals 25 percent in present value.
In doing these types of incentives, you're trying to do a couple of things. One, you're trying to encourage people to take a little more risk in some areas where we think there is potential to be developed. We think there are profits to be made, but maybe a little more help with the return in risk could make the difference marginally in pushing more people into investing in that area.
Secondly, what it does is, it gives people in these areas something to come to the table with. When we talk to people, they say if you have a new subsidy like this, you're giving us a reason to come in the door to talk to people. People will sit down with us if there's a new tax cut like this passed. And that can make a difference in creating those initial relationships.
And third, in every community there are always business leaders who I think of as champions -- those who go out and really take on these issues. And for them, you want to empower them as much as possible to be able to raise funds. And to the degree that they can offer the people they're soliciting funds from not only the possibility of profit, but a 25-percent return up front, you're making it possible for those who want to take those leadership roles to play a more active role.
Now, in doing this, obviously you do a program like this, no matter how good your government tax incentives or subsidy is, it's only as effective as it is in mobilizing the private sector and mobilizing a national commitment. And what we thought was that we've seen for years Secretary of Commerces take CEOs and members of Congress overseas on a trade mission, a trade mission or an economic mission overseas where the idea is let's bring our CEOs and members of Congress and let's let them see these new markets and let's see if we can create some economic opportunity. And when you do that, part of it is you want to show some economic opportunity, but you also want to set an example for everybody watching that there is profits to be made in this new country, that there are relationships to be developed in this new country.
So our thought was why not do an economic mission to the United States? Why not do an economic mission to our own country? And what the President is going to do is he is going to take a four-day trip with business leaders, with members of Congress, with community leaders, and we are going to go to various, different places in the United States, representing different types of poverty, different types of opportunity, and we're going to highlight the problems there, but we're also going to highlight some of the positive things that happen, and most of all, we're going to challenge corporate business America, community leaders, to look in these places for new potential, for new profits, for new opportunity.
And at everyplace we go there will be some examples of people putting in some additional investment. And there will be some top leaders with us traveling both to show some new commitments and some new energy, but just as important, to show an example to everyone out there that here are business leaders who have seen that it's in their own self-interest to invest in these areas. And our hope is that this will be an ongoing effort, something the President has cared deeply about and has worked on really his entire adult life and very active on as a governor in Arkansas.
But I think the degree, with us having the strongest economy -- one of the strongest economies in this century -- that at this time period for the President to put a special focus on those places that have historically been left behind and to challenge the private sector to work with us in making sure that we're bringing every community on board, that we don't have a person or a community to waste. Now is a particularly good time to send that message and this is something that we're going to focus on, not only for this four day period, but continue to focus on in an ongoing way after this.
Let me give you Maria, who will walk through the trip and give you some of the ideas, the things that are happening and then we're happy to take questions.
MS. ECHAVESTE: As Gene said, this has been a long time coming. This is something the President has been wanting to do -- frankly, he wanted to go out in April. And one of the reasons we held him off is because it was very important that we go to places that really had three elements because, as you can imagine, lots of people want us to come visit their communities. There are lots of parts of the country that have poverty.
So how did we go about choosing these places? Well, one, finding poverty; but, two, places where there were signs of hope, where there is some development, where something that, as Gene laid out for you, whether it's lending under CRA or CDFIs, where there is movement, but where the President can say we have a lot more to do, and this is where the private sector can, in fact, contribute, and that's the key element, is where could we match private sector, encourage, mobilize CEOs and companies to make investments.
So we are going to be joined throughout the trip at various stages by CEOs, starting with Dick Huber from Aetna, Duane Ackerman from Bell South. We're going to have Bill Hartman from Bank One Kentucky, Craig Lynch from Greyhound, Kathy Bassant from Bank of America. Bob Kay from Arkansas Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Frank Raines, Fannie Mae, and several others that will be coming on the trip. Not everyone will be able to join us for the entire four days.
Similarly, we're going to have members of Congress traveling with us, I think at the moment, and we're still getting confirmations, which is always the case. We'll have Representative Clyburn with us for the entire trip, and also Representative Jaworski, Ken Jaworski. I'm sure -- but we will be joined at different stages by members of Congress.
We start the trip on Monday morning. We go up to Appalachia, and what we will be doing is focusing on a couple of things -- some of the scenes of poverty, but immediately go to Mid-South Electrical Plant, which has created almost 900 jobs. Then, the President, joined by -- Reverend Jackson will also be traveling with us, as will, at least part of the time, Al From. We will be addressing a town square in Hazard, Kentucky. And what we're going to focus is investment and highlighting Kentucky highlands, a CDFI that has been doing work that has been providing financing in this very rural area.
We then go overnight and get set to go to Clarksdale, Mississippi on Tuesday morning. This is of special interest to the President, given his tenure as governor, and he has been working on delta issues for quite a long time. Again, we are going to visit a commercial area that is down and out, but that a couple of places are still thriving who will be able to talk to the President in a subsequent roundtable about what they see as the needs -- again, investment, and other CDFI that's been doing work there.
We will then go to East St. Louis, an empowerment zone that, as you know from the Vice President's work, we've done a lot of work with the empowerment zones. East St. Louis has some new store openings that we will be showcasing. And we should have a very important announcement that Gene alluded to, in terms of investment, the creation of an investment fund targeted to low and moderate income that is done even before our legislation is passed. So we're kind of excited about that.
We will then go to Pine Ridge. This one is a very difficult visit in the following way, and that is that when we worked in trying to see what are the private sector investments, what we learned, as many people know, is that you're starting in Indian country way below -- you don't have infrastructure. How can you attract business when only 40 percent of the community has telephones? How can you attract business when you still have basic water and housing issues?
So you're going to see in Pine Ridge perhaps more government announcements because that's how government can help to at least bring the community up, that can then attract the business sector. This will be the first time a sitting President has visited an Indian reservation since Coolidge, and the folks in Pine Ridge are very excited about it. We will be joined by Fannie Mae there, by Frank Raines, who will also be making some announcements.
We then go to Phoenix. Now, a number of people have said to me -- actually, disappointed members of Congress -- have said, why are we going to Phoenix, why are we going to Arizona, it's really a high growth area. Well, even in a place like Phoenix, there are neighborhoods where you have double-digit unemployment, where there is, in fact, lack of jobs. And so we're going to showcase investments in small businesses that are focused in that area.
We then go to Los Angeles to pick up, I think, a very important piece, which is tomorrow's work force. What we've learned from talking to the CEOs when the President met with them on May 10th was that they have to pay attention to and care about the development of the work force. They can't be competitive, they can't stay profitable if they don't have a work force that is skilled and that is trained. And so our focus in Los Angeles will be highlighting Department of Labor efforts to marry private sector contributions with job training programs. here we'll be joined by Sandy Weil, who has been a staunch supporter of this effort.
I think the upshot of this trip is really, we learned from the '60s that government alone cannot solve the problems of poverty. I think we also learned from the '80s that the free market, just leaving it to the market forces wasn't going to solve these problems of poverty. And the President's approach is that the right kind of government leverage, the right kind of government support, coupled with, fundamentally and critically, the private sector, is what can really give these communities the hope that they can join the American prosperity.
As the President has said over and over again, America cannot succeed if parts of the community are left behind, and that's what this trip is about -- making sure we don't leave them behind as we move into the next century.
Q Gene, is there a cap on the tax credit?
MR. SPERLING: Yes, there's a $1 billion is allocated over five years right now.
Q I thought this was an individual tax credit individuals could take if they invest in it.
MR. SPERLING: Is there a cap per individual?
MS. ECHAVESTE: It's designed for companies to make new investments directly.
Q So it's not for individual investors.
Q Sam's out to take the whole $1 billion. (Laughter.)
MR. ECHAVESTE: If he's willing to make that investment, I'm sure we can accommodate him.
Q No, but the way you presented it, it could be a tactic for individuals to invest in companies that are dealing in those poverty areas. I wondered if that was the objective.
MR. SPERLING: I don't think there is a cap. There's a competitive application. Essentially, people would apply for projects, and if their project is approved, is meeting the condition, then they would be able to go out and raise those funds. So no, we hope those would be attractive to individuals. I think that the notion is of people raising funds for an investment fund that would make these investments, so there is not an individual cap then.
Q The payback is over five years, 25 percent --
MR. SPERLING: You get six percent each year for five years. That's 30 percent. Yes. But because we're so conscientious and conservative in presenting our numbers, that if you did the present value of that, it would be 25 percent.
Q Who decides --
Q Oh, good. (Laughter.)
MR. SPERLING: I just knocked off somebody writing -- 30 percent, there would have been an article two weeks from now saying, no, if you actually did the right calculations, 25 percent, so there you have it.
Q Who decides whether an investment is worthy of a tax credit?
MR. SPERLING: The Treasury Department would have criteria that would have to show that this fit into -- that either 25 percent poverty or less than 80 percent of the medium income in that community.
The reason why you try to keep the criteria a little broader here is the following. When you have money going out in kind of like a revenue sharing notion, the broader the income is the more it gets spread out. And so then you want to narrow it as much as possible. Here you're looking for great projects, you're looking for great programs that will work, where people are going to do great things. And so you don't want to overly limit -- you don't want to put criteria that will overly limit because it's a little difficult. The criteria can be different -- and that's one of the reasons we're going different places in the country, is because in urban parts of the country there can be very concentrated poverty levels and some of the rural places you can have poverty, but you may not have the tremendous concentration, yet you can have very poor areas.
Q How much of this still needs legislative approval?
MR. SPERLING: The new market venture capital needs legislative approval. The APICs needs legislative approval and the new market tax credit needs legislative approval. What we did on the SBICs on the administrative side, in the sense of allowing people to not have to pay back interest for the first five years, that was something that SBA could do under the current legislative authority.
Q Gene, is there any way to describe the scope of this problem? I mean, I know it's in pockets all over the country, but is there any way to get your arms around how big of a problem this is?
MS. ECHAVESTE: I think one way to do it is that, just take -- you've heard us say over and over again we've got the lowest unemployment rates for Hispanics and African Americans, yes, that's true. But when you look at the unemployment rate for African -- it's still double-digits. And it's at, I think the last time I looked it was like 11 percent, something like that; and for Hispanics it was, like, 8. And then it goes up if you look at single young males.
So that's an indicator that -- especially if you have large populations. So, clearly, with a 4.2 -- 4.3 today -- unemployment rate, there are good things happening all over. But there are pockets all across the country.
Q Maria, excuse me, I wanted to ask, I think you answered part of the question. You're not only targeting areas across the country, you're also targeting minorities, right, Hispanics, African Americans, Indian reservations and rural --
MS. ECHAVESTE: Rural, right, which is really important. We want to show the different faces of poverty and the different challenges. And they have unique challenges, whether you're in South Central Los Angeles or whether you're in East St. Louis or an Indian reservation. And I think it's important for America to understand that poverty comes in all colors.
Q -- whether you're talking to people in Pine Ridge and in East St. Louis and in Watts, there's a common theme here which they all bring up. They welcome the attention and the commitment, but they all say it's got to start with education -- education, above and beyond job training -- and I haven't heard much about that.
MS. ECHAVESTE: You know, we had a very interesting debate here about just sort of what the focus of the trip should be, and at one point we talked about, well, should we focus on poverty at large and all that means, which would include focus on education, focus on other -- drug abuse and substance -- a whole host of issues. And I think we concluded that those are all very important issues, and I think I'd defy anybody to say that we haven't paid attention to education in this administration, but that if you do a trip that seems to be about everything, it ends up being about nothing. And the focus that the President has said has laid out, from the beginning of the administration, that there is a role for the private sector.
And when you talk -- when we met with the CEOs, one of the things that they raised with us on May 10th was the importance of education. And if you travel around the country, you'll see that a number of corporations are partnering with local school districts since they know they've got to deal with education.
Q How do you respond to critics who say that the President was not willing to tackle this issue until he had only a year and a half left on his term, that up until now, it's all been talk about how great the economy is and there's been a reticence to deal with these kinds of issues?
MS. ECHAVESTE: I'll let Gene, but it's just absolutely not true if you look at our track record, whether it's looking at EITC or whether you're looking at what we've done in different investments, increasing Head Start. What we've done is say is expand and say that we have to expand the circle of opportunity, and I think if you look at the track record, we have been focusing on issues of poverty and opportunity.
MR. SPERLING: Let me just say in response to your question is, first, there are deep problems in poverty and it's important to address all of them. But I think as Maria said, if you -- there is a benefit on putting a specific focus on particular areas, and I think that these are related. For example, one of the biggest problems with urban education is the low tax base. That is absolutely one of the critical problems people are dealing with. So to the degree -- they both work, the degree you have stronger education, the degree you can better attract business, the degree you have more business and economic opportunity, the more you bring in revenues, and there is no better indicator of how a child will do than the economic status of their parent and whether their parent is working.
On your question, David, I think one of the reasons I mentioned -- went through some of the background is, I think it is very clear the President has focused on this. He's the first -- there was never a federal empowerment zone proposal. Kemp and Rangel and others had tried several times in the '80s; it only passed under him. The community development bank initiative, the empowerment zones -- and then we went back in 1997 and got a second round of empowerment zones, the brownsfield tax incentives, the welfare-to-work tax credit, his entire initiative on challenging companies to bring people off welfare into the work force. So I think that there has been a consistent focus.
I do think the following. I do think that there are moments where you may have a special opportunity for a particular type of message, and I think that when we came into office we did focus very much on getting some legislation, on getting some initiatives so that we could show some hope and some opportunity. One of the things that is exciting for us about this trip is that in our seventh year we can go places and we can show how some of the world is better because of things we have done, and talk about building on them.
I do think that -- the one thing I would say, though, is that the fact that the country is doing so well right now may, indeed, provide a better atmosphere for the President to put this challenge to the private sector; that in a period of prosperity like this, that a presidential message of bringing everybody along may be more well-received and you may be able to do more good now than if you were trying to do that at a time when the country -- when everyone around the country was hurting.
And, actually, Maria was being modest on our unemployment numbers. The African American unemployment has gone from 14.1 to 7.3, so it has gone down a lot. And the Hispanic has gone down from the elevens to 6.6. But just to emphasize your point, if you looked at African American teen poverty, it is as bad as any poverty or unemployment in almost any, certainly, of the more industrialized countries in the world.
Q Gene, President Clinton said there were $85 billion worth of untapped markets here in this nation. Realistically, where do you think that you will fall as far as once this project is off the ground?
MR. SPERLING: Where will we fall?
Q You're not going to get $85 billion worth of untapped markets right after this. Where do you think realistically, within the next two, three, four years, you will fall as far as getting some of these untapped markets?
MR. SPERLING: You know, I really couldn't say. You're trying to shine a spotlight on economic opportunity in your own backyard. And I don't know. All I know is that there is great excitement. One thing I thought was very true, and I think we all came to think was true is that there is often great excitement about the potential for growth, particularly before the Asian financial crisis, in places around the world.
And many people, many sophisticated investors had got quite knowledgeable and built up significant relationships with people they never had any touch with before in other countries, in other markets, because they saw the potential for significant growth. And what we're trying to do is, obviously, encourage that, but also suggest that in the United States there are those places as well, and that if people will take the time to build up the relationships.
It's very interesting -- I'll just tell you a story -- Dick Huber from Aetna, came in -- the President does his message and everybody is going around the table praising the President for doing this initiative. And then Dick Huber goes, Aetna has a different view than anybody -- we're very upset that you're doing this initiative. He says, we've spent two years doing research on what we think is tremendous uptapped profits to be made in urban America, and to the degree that you're now telling everybody that, you're stealing the market we're going after.
Obviously, he was saying that tongue-in-cheek, but the fact is, is that for many people, from the work Starbuck's is doing and others, people are finding that when they look in these new areas they just haven't thought about before, the first instinct may be that someone is pushing them to do something good, but when they look and they come and they build the relationships, they find tremendous opportunity for profit. And I can't try to calculate an estimate of what that could do. You're trying to build a national mobilization and we want to do as much good as we can.f
Q Gene, to follow up to that real quick. You say that you don't know where anything is going to land. But does the President have any particular site during this tour that he really wants to focus in on? Maria was saying something about the Indian reservation that doesn't have an infrastructure. Is he really looking the put into one specific place more so than the rest of them on this tour?
MS. ECHAVESTE: No. I mean, there are -- we could have gone many different places. And the fact is we wanted to highlight different problems. There's a lot of work going on specifically relating to the Plains Indians that preceded this visit. There was an economic visit for the Native Americans a year ago. The President met with leaders of Plains Indians recently, within the last two months. There's going to be work after. There's just lots of different places we're working on.
Q How is this paid for? Are there funds in the President's budget that would pay for this? And are you expecting it to be part of the tax bill this year?
MR. SPERLING: This is in the President's budget, on the discretionary side. It was fit into the overall budget we put out. And this is part of the paid for taxes, cuts that we have in our proposal -- we have about $30 billion in tax cuts that are offset by -- closing corporate loopholes and simplification measures.
So this was not part that we put in the so-called contingent part, that was contingent on Social Security and Medicare. But I do believe that if we are able to set aside enough funds and pay down the debt and deal with strengthening Medicare and Social Security, I feel that if there is a tax cut that this is the type of limited targeted measure that could draw bipartisan support. We've certainly gotten some favorable views on this from both Democrats and Republicans.
Q Gene, it's been 10 years since the President chaired that Delta Commission. Isn't it a little late in this administration to start focusing on those areas now?
MR. SPERLING: I can let Maria answer more. But when we first did this initiative, when we were first doing this, when we were all talking about this, we started with the view that no good deed goes unpunished, and that if the President would do something as extraordinary as doing something as extraordinary, I think pretty much unprecedented in being that in the midst of one of the strongest economies of this century, that what he would do is spend an entire week going to highlight the most impoverished places in the country. These are not places where there's great political power, these are not places where there's an easy political message; this is something he wants to do as part of an ongoing effort. And I think if you look at all of the things the President's had to do, he has kept a focus on investment in distressed and urban areas and made that a priority, and this is one more thing we're doing.
And there's nothing good that we're doing this year or the times that I suppose one could say we could have done a little earlier, but I think that if you look at the record and you look at where he has gone, he has steadily built on that agenda, and Secretary Slater has, himself, been working for some time now on a variety of things for the Delta, so I don't think that because we're visiting there, it's implying that we haven't done quite a bit in this area before.
MS. ECHAVESTE: In fact, all I would add to that is Secretary Slater, who worked with the then-Governor on Delta issues has, over the last couple of years, had an interagency group, will be coming out with an administration report of where we are on the Delta specifically. So I don't think it's true that we haven't been focused on these issues.
Q Gene, is there a difference between how you approach or how you try and fix this problem in a rural area versus an urban area?
MR. SPERLING: I think that's one of the important things about doing this trip, is that I think there absolutely are, and I think that this is a chance for the President and many of us to hear some of that firsthand. As Maria said, certainly a Native American reservation, you have basic infrastructure needs that you have to -- basic infrastructure and housing needs that one has to deal with. Certainly, issues involving transportation, health care delivery, et cetera, are much different in rural areas than they are in urban areas. So, yes, that's the case.
Just the sense that we have the Secretary of HUD administering the urban empowerment zones, the Secretary of Agriculture administering the rural empowerment zones. I think there is significant difference and I think, hopefully -- we are working on paper now -- but we will do our best to try to talk about in what we give out the different nature of the poverty and some of the problems in some of the different areas. And that certainly is the point of doing the trip to different places.
Q How many are you talking about --
MR. SPERLING: I don't fully know. Some of the people are meeting us at different places. In California, we will be focusing on corporate investments in education and labor markets. So one of the focuses there will be several CEOs, companies who have committed to hiring disadvantaged youth out of the labor -- Labor's Disadvantaged Youth Program. And then there's, later initiative the day, Sandy Weil, the CEO from Lucent and others will be talking about their efforts that they've done to build within schools within schools, academies, mentoring and internships.
I will say that I have learned that this is probably the most popular vacation week for corporate CEOs of the year. But, despite that, some of them -- and a very high percentage of the CEOs who are coming are actually interrupting their vacations. (Laughter.) We will still have good attendance.
Q Thank you.
END 1:25 P.M. EDT