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Need to Know, September 3, 2010

This week on Need to Know: Corporations and labor unions are spending record amounts on political campaigns, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that lifted restrictions on independent expenditures. Monica Youn of the Brennan Center for Justice explains how this new record-breaking spending might affect the November elections. Then, Need to Know travels to Mississippi to see whether an experimental jobs program there that subsidizes the salaries of new hires can actually give hope to the unemployed.

Bob Ivry of Bloomberg News joins Need to Know to discuss a well-kept secret in Washington: the true cost of the federal bank bailout. We also go back to Louisiana, one week after the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, to examine the erosion of coastal wetlands there. Author Charlaine Harris talks about Vampires. And as Washington once again debates the role of the state, Jon Meacham looks to history to understand how government and the private sector can best work together.

Watch the individual segments:
New rules for campaign spending

Corporations and unions are spending record amounts on political campaigns, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling. Monica Youn of the Brennan Center explains how this might affect upcoming elections.
One step forward for jobs

Need to Know travels to Mississippi to see whether an experimental jobs program there can deliver hope to the unemployed.
The true cost of the bank bailout

Thought the financial crisis only cost taxpayers $700 billion? Think again. New reports have shown that, at one point last year, the government had lent, spent or guaranteed $12.8 trillion to Wall Street.
Disappearing delta

Need to Know revisits a report about the erosion of the wetlands along the Louisiana coastline — New Orleans’ natural buffer against hurricanes.
Vampires, shootouts and sex scenes

The third season of the HBO series “True Blood” is nearing its end. So Need to Know is re-featuring our interview with author Charlaine Harris, whose books inspired the series. Harris talks about her writing habits, her fascination with the supernatural and her personal set of vampire teeth.

In perspective: On government

Washington is once again debating the efficacy of regulation and the role of the state. But as history tells us, America does best when the private sector is energetic and entrepreneurial, and the government is attentive and engaged.