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FROM THIS EPISODE

One of the bright spots in the national economy had been the tremendous gains in home prices and construction. President Bush has declared that his ownership society policies have worked. Now foreclosure rates are soaring and even wealthy investors are losing billions of dollars. As the country gears up for an election, Washington is scrambling to calm the crisis, but will politics help or make things worse?  

Jim Sterngold guest hosts.

Producers:
Dan Konecky
Katie Cooper
Andrea Brody

Main Topic Can Washington Contain the Mortgage Meltdown?

First it was just defaults of sub-prime mortgages, but now the turmoil of a shaky housing industry is spreading throughout the credit markets and the stock market. Experts are asking if the national economy is in trouble because of those ripples. Last Friday President Bush stepped into the crisis by offering a plan that, he said, would help working families that had defaulted on their mortgages. The Congress is now considering new regulations to protect borrowers and to stem the rising tide of foreclosures. Is it all too late? Is a recession unavoidable? Is this just election politics or can Washington really help needy families without bailing out speculators and wealthy investors? Should the free market just be allowed to work?


This is a re-broadcast of today's To the Point. For the full version that aired on TTP, please click here.

Guests:
Zanny Minton Beddoes, Economist
Karl Case, Professor of Economics at Wellesley College
Alys Cohen, Staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center

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