FROM William Galvin
Home Loans and Easy Money, until Times Get Hard No less an authority than Alan Greenspan, former Chair of the Federal Reserve , called sub-prime mortgages a tool for democratizing credit. Sub-prime mortgages with no down payments are advertised as the road to home ownership for families who can't afford regular loans. They often gamble that they'll be able to re-finance after the house goes up in value, but before new interest rates and higher payments kick in. Now, with the housing market is cooling off, the formula is failing to work for more and more people. Foreclosures are up and they're likely to increase even more. Did stock analysts paint an overly rosy picture of the sub-prime mortgage market to generate investment? Do risky loans to millions of vulnerable borrowers threaten the whole economy? We hear from economists, consumer advocates, a state official who's going after shady lending practices, and John and Delia, two homeowners caught in the sub-prime squeeze.
Will Voters Be Singing Christmas Carols in New Hampshire? Next year's presidential primary process may be over exactly one year from today as big states and little states compete to become more important. Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, echoing the familiar complaint that California has become a sort of ATM for candidates looking for big money, has encouraged the Democrats who control the State Legislature to move next year's primary up to February 5. Other big states, including Texas, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey are threatening to do the same thing. Moves by Nevada and Iowa may push New Hampshire up to December of this year, with 11 months still to go before the general election. What would that mean for discussion of issues or the chances of dark horse candidates who don't have massive war chests? Would they still have to shake hands with voters, or would it all be about TV?
In Janesville, WI, Middle America meets the new American dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn't prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. We hear what's happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Does 'hire American' mean fire a foreigner? US companies are allowed to hire employees from other countries with highly developed skills that can't be found here. President Trump says it's being abused as a way to find cheap foreign labor. We hear about the benefits—and the risks—of changing the H-1B program.