Mortgage rates are now below 4 percent. The average 30 year fixed rate loan is at an all time low. But high unemployment, weak consumer confidence, and tougher standards for getting credit, are keeping many Americans from buying homes.
The Obama administration is urging Congress to rescind a decision blocking some aid to the Palestinians.
The congressional decision to put a hold on $200 million of aid money was prompted by the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations --something both the administration and Congress oppose. The funding cut is already having an impact in the Palestinian territories.
Though most central bankers hate inflation, policies that promote inflation may boost the U.S. economy, some economists say.
Ken Rogoff, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, says the Federal Reserve's efforts to boost growth haven't worked and the central bank needs to be more forceful.
"They need to be willing, in fact actively pursue, letting inflation rise a bit more," says Rogoff, who is now a professor at Harvard. "That would encourage consumption. It would encourage investment. It would bring housing prices into line."
Credit Jeremiah C. Gettle and Emilee Freie Gettle / Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. LLC
As a child growing up on his family's farm in the 1980s, Jere Gettle didn't spend his evenings watching TV; instead, he read seed catalogs. To him, the endless varieties of seeds with exotic sounding names were full of possibility. He loved the idea of planting them in the ground, tending the crops that grew from them and preparing the harvested vegetables for a family meal.
Businessman and GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has been taking advantage of his recent rise to fame. Since he won the Florida straw poll late last month, he is everywhere: appearing on Sunday talk shows, promoting his new book and taking every opportunity to try to maintain his momentum.
People like the way he talks. His frank, motivational style has come out in GOP debates and in speeches.
Thriller writer Barry Eisler has turned his back on traditional publishing — or as he calls it, legacy publishing. His latest book, The Detachment, was released as an e-book in September. It comes out in paperback in October. Both versions are published by Amazon.
Long-term joblessness is one of the unfortunate legacies of the recession. Earlier this year, the Labor Department started tracking longer periods of unemployment. According to that data, there are now more than 2 million people who have been jobless for at least two years, and 700,000 of those have been looking for work for at least three years.