Is the U.S. housing sector about to make a comeback? Home builders apparently think so. Every month, the National Association of Home Builders publishes its housing market index. The July report shot up to its highest level in five years. It is, however, still well below historical averages.
Steve Inskeep talks to David Wessel of The Wall Street Journal and Zanny Minton Beddoes of The Economist, about the U.S. economy. What kind of a recovery are we looking at, and where is the growth coming from?
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers that progress toward bringing down the nation's high unemployment rate will be "frustratingly slow." He reiterated previous statements that the Fed stands ready to do more, but declined to be specific about what it would do. Bernanke also defended the Fed's role in addressing the manipulation of a benchmark interest rate by at least one big bank.
Over half of U.S. states will have to close a combined budget gap of 55 billion dollars, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in the 2013 fiscal year. To avoid raising taxes, most states are implementing continued cuts to deal with budget shortfalls.
The federal debt is at record levels and growing. States are "grappling with unprecedented fiscal crises," a new report says. And Europe's debt mess threatens the world economy. Some scholars think, like Plato, that democracy is the problem.
Though the central bank expects "moderate" economic growth in coming quarters, Bernanke offers a sober assessment of current conditions. But there is brighter news: Home builders say they're growing more confident about the housing sector's recovery.
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