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.
LYNN NEARY, host: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Steve Inskeep is away.
RENEE MONTAGNE, host: And I'm Renee Montagne.
When the U.S. tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden in his hiding place in northwest Pakistan, it chose to keep the Pakistani army and its intelligence service in the dark about that mission. The fact that Pakistan was caught with the world's most wanted man living within walking distance of a premiere military academy humiliated and angered many in the country.
Apple's Steve Jobs, who died this week after battling a rare form of pancreatic cancer, didn't just change technology. Lynn Neary learns more about the profound legacy Jobs leaves behind on the world of design from John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Loosely-organized protests that began on Wall Street last month have now spread to other cities across the country. President Obama says he understands the frustration conveyed by prostesters. He's trying to channel public anger with Wall Street into support for his own financial policies.
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.
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.
Rick Perry first won public office in 1984, when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In that and in every campaign since, he has run as a man shaped by his time working a dryland farm.
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."