How will the U.S. pay for it all? Answer: by borrowing -- raising worries about how the country's ballooning annual budget deficits and aggregating debt will affect the economy and financial markets. Some guidelines, such as interest rates and the ratio of debt and deficits to gross domestic product, suggest the new debt will be digested easily. But some experts think those guidelines are misleading, warning that obligations are piling up like tinder on a forest floor.
The government announced it will spend $600 billion to take on the obligations of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae in order to reduce borrowing costs for the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). "Spreads of rates on GSE debt and on GSE-guaranteed mortgages have widened appreciably of late. This action is being taken to reduce the cost and increase the availability of credit for the purchase of houses, which in turn should support housing markets and foster improved conditions in financial markets more generally," the press release announcing the program said.
The gargantuan efforts — one to finance loans for consumers, and a bigger one to push down home mortgage rates — were the latest but probably not the last of the federal government’s initiatives to absorb the shocks that began with losses on subprime mortgages and have spread to every corner of the economy.
Paul Volcker, who helped tame runaway inflation in the 1980s during two terms as chairman of the Federal Reserve, has agreed to lead a new White House economic advisory committee.
The federal government had charged that the Realtor group approved policies governing the online sharing and display of property listings information that were illegally restrictive, while the Realtor group countered that the policies did not violate federal antitrust law. Under the settlement agreement, NAR must adopt a "Modified Virtual Office Web site (VOW) Policy" that allows member brokers who participate in multiple listing services to operate Web sites that carry property information from other brokers and does not allow other brokers to "opt out" from sharing property listings information with those VOW sites.
A problem was that most consumers never knew going into a transaction what would happen between posting in the multiple listing service and getting the closing check or the keys to their new home. Consumers generally think that brokers do far less than we really do for our fees.
His reported selections for two of the major positions in his cabinet — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state and Timothy F. Geithner as secretary of the Treasury — suggest that Mr. Obama is planning to govern from the center-right of his party, surrounding himself with pragmatists rather than ideologues.
Economists at Freddie Mac are more pessimistic about the economy than they were a month ago, and no longer believe mortgage originations will rebound in 2009.
In another sign that the struggling economy continues to slow, consumer prices tumbled by a record amount in October, carried lower by skidding energy and transportation prices, raising the specter of deflation.
Any elimination of the popular rebates requires City Council approval, budget director Mark Page acknowledged. And council members, who have been flooded with calls from angry residents looking for their checks, declared the mayor’s idea to cut them “dead on arrival.”
Realogy Corp., owner of the Century 21 and Coldwell Banker brands, is at risk of violating the terms of its bank loans and is offering to exchange about $1.1 billion of bonds at a discount for new debt.
From the life imitates art archive: Okay, so it hasn't really happened yet, but there are news reports swirling around about Hillary Clinton and John McCain possibly, maybe, being considered for Cabinet positions in the Obama Administration. Well, The Onion called it back in May in this story dubbed the "2008 Nightmare Ticket" during the primaries. Brilliant!
A year before the next mayoral election, Michael R. Bloomberg appears to have settled on his campaign message: higher property taxes, smaller school budgets, shuttered dental clinics, more parking fees and a new surcharge on plastic shopping bags.
Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. announced a major shift in the thrust of the $700 billion financial-rescue program on Wednesday, at the same time joining several agencies in prodding banks to speed up the thaw in the country’s credit system. He is backing away from buying troubled mortgage assets in favor of a second round of capital injections into financial institutions.
The company’s results suggested that home prices are far from a bottom and that the government would probably have to pump tens of billions of dollars into Fannie Mae and its sister company Freddie Mac.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority faces a $1.2 billion budget deficit in 2009 — $300 million more than it had projected in July — that will very likely require new fare and toll increases or service reductions
In New York City, where real estate and access to good schools often lead to Olympics-level competition, even the specter of changing school boundaries can raise the hackles of parents who chose their high-priced homes precisely because of those boundaries.
Guggenheim Structured Real Estate Advisors LLC, the manager of commercial-mortgage funds set up five years ago by Ed Shugrue, asked investors in its second fund for about $300 million of new equity to meet margin calls and reduce debt, a person with knowledge of the firm's fund-raising said.
Lawmakers are faulting Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson for letting financial institutions use the $250 billion set aside to buy banks' preferred shares to make acquisitions. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. agreed to buy Cleveland-based National City Corp. on Oct. 24 after getting $7.7 billion from the government.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank by market value, said it won't begin new foreclosure proceedings on some loans while it finds ways to make payments easier on $110 billion of problem mortgages.
Speaking via satellite at a conference on the mortgage breakdown at the University of California at Berkeley, Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke urged the government to act as a backstop for the mortgage bond market.