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Councilwoman Fatally Shot Outside New Jersey Home Was "Targeted"

Councilwoman Fatally Shot Outside New Jersey Home Was 'Targeted' Authored by Lorenz Duchamps via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Eunice Dwumfour, a 30-year-old New Jersey councilwoman, was found dead outside her Sayreville home Wednesday evening in what officials believe was a “targeted” attack, authorities say. Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour. (Courtesy of Sayreville Borough Council) In a press release, Sayreville police chief Daniel Plumacker and Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone said a woman, later identified as Dwumfour, was located by police at 7:22 p.m. inside her vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds. Police said the councilwoman was pronounced dead on the scene, noting that the incident is being investigated as a homicide. No arrests have been reported in connection with the shooting. However, an eyewitness who lives in the area saw an individual, possibly the suspect, running toward the Garden State Parkway, which is near the scene of the shooting, RLS Media reported. Authorities told news outlets that Dwumfour was believed to be the intended target, but have not given a motive. The Sayreville Police Department, meanwhile, alerted citizens in a statement on Facebook of police activity in the area while advising everyone to avoid the scene. A video shared on social media by Charlie Kratovil, a journalist and the founder of New Brunswick Today, shows police at the scene of the shooting as a white Nissan SUV is being towed away. Kratovil said on Twitter that he personally knew Dwumfour and described the councilwoman as “a very kind person and public servant.” “A huge loss for the Sayreville community,” Kratovil wrote. “May she rest in peace.” Dwumfour, a Republican and political newcomer, was elected in November 2021 and started her three-year term after winning against an incumbent Democrat in the Borough of Sayreville. Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick said in a statement on Thursday that the community is “shocked and saddened” at the loss of the councilwoman, adding that she had personally “worked very closely” with her as she served on the Borough Council. “The fact that she was taken from us by a despicable criminal act makes this incident all the more horrifying,” Kilpatrick said, noting that she’s confident law enforcement “will bring this fast-moving investigation to a quick and successful conclusion and look forward to the identification, arrest, and successful prosecution of the person responsible.” In a statement, the New Jersey Republican Party remembered Dwumfour for her “steadfast dedication to the community, as well as her deep and abiding Christian faith.” “I would like to express our horror and deepest sorrow at the senseless violence that claimed the life of Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour,” said Bob Hugin, chairman of the committee. “We have the utmost confidence that law enforcement will bring the perpetrators of this heartbreaking tragedy to justice.” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement that he was “stunned” after hearing about the news of Dwumfour’s murder. “Her career of public service was just beginning, and by all accounts, she had already built a reputation as a committed member of the Borough Council who took her responsibility with the utmost diligence and seriousness,” Murphy said. I am stunned by the news of Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour’s murder last evening in an act of gun violence. I send my condolences to her family and friends, and the entire Sayreville community. I urge anyone with information to contact Sayreville local law enforcement. pic.twitter.com/mHulQuOrVZ — Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) February 2, 2023 Tributes Friends of the councilwoman posted tributes on Facebook, saying the shooting “shocked [and] scared” them. “[Dwumfour] was killed 300 feet from my home this evening. She was shot while returning back home. She was a woman full of life,” said Mahesh Chitnis, a member of Sayreville’s Human Relations Commission (HRC), of which Dwumfour is also a former member. Read more here... Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 21:40.....»»

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Democrats Propose Abraham Lincoln Statue Removal

Democrats Propose Abraham Lincoln Statue Removal Authored by Jackson Elliott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Democrat and Confederate President Jefferson may have been unable to expel President Abraham Lincoln from the capitol, but Democrat delegate Eleanor Norton (D-D.C.) might. The Emancipation Memorial in Washington's Lincoln Park depicts a freed slave kneeling at the feet of President Abraham Lincoln, June 25, 2020. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo) Norton, Washington D.C.’s non-voting Congressional representative, reintroduced legislation to remove a statue of Lincoln with a kneeling freed slave. The statue has stood in Lincoln Park near the Capitol since 1876. It depicts a slave, shirtless and shackles broken, about to stand up. Lincoln stretches out his hand over the man. Freed slaves paid for its creation. But according to Norton’s press release, that’s not enough. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 21, 2020. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images) “The paternalistic statue depicting a Black man on his knees in front of President Lincoln fails to recognize African Americans’ agency in pressing for their own emancipation,” the delegate’s press release reads. Norton’s bill would have the statue removed from Lincoln Park and placed in a museum “with an explanation of its origin and meaning.” She also noted that the freed slaves who paid for the statue didn’t get input in its design. “Although formerly enslaved Americans paid for this statue, the design and sculpting process was done without their input or participation, and it shows,” Norton said. “At the time, they had only recently been liberated from slavery and were grateful for any recognition of their freedom.” Norton noted that renowned abolitionist and freed slave Frederick Douglass spoke to dedicate the stature but “pointedly did not praise the statue.” Past and Present Douglass’s speech expresses a complex set of feelings. He refers to Lincoln as the “white man’s President” but also praises him as a “great man” and “liberator” who “hated slavery.” “We have done a good work for our race today,” Douglass said at the statue’s unveiling. “In doing honor to the memory of our friend and liberator, we have been doing highest honors to ourselves and those who come after us; we have been fastening ourselves to a name and fame imperishable and immortal; we have also been defending ourselves from a blighting scandal.” Read more here... Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 22:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT1 hr. 5 min. ago Related News

How Will AI Change Our Lives?

How Will AI Change Our Lives? The meteoric rise of ChatGPT has been a watershed moment for artificial intelligence as it enabled millions of users, regular people, to experiment with AI and witness its astonishing capabilities first-hand. And. as Statista' Felix Richter notes, while there are still limitations, ChatGPT delivers impressive results, making people aware of how far artificial intelligence has already come. It's no coincidence that both Alphabet and Microsoft named the shift to AI as one of the biggest challenges their facing when they announced their restructuring plans earlier this month. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella even spoke of an upcoming platform shift, likely referring to AI-enabled services as the next big change in tech after the shift to mobile. But what do consumers ultimately expect to change due to the increased use of artificial intelligence and which areas of life will most likely be affected in the next three to five years? Ipsos carried out a global survey on the subject in late 2021 and the following chart sums up the results. You will find more infographics at Statista “[AI] is going to change the world more than anything in the history of mankind. More than electricity.” — AI oracle and venture capitalist Dr Kai-Fu Lee, 2018   Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 22:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT1 hr. 5 min. ago Related News

Charting Three Decades Of The World"s Working Poor

Charting Three Decades Of The World's Working Poor Poverty is often associated with unemployment - however, millions of working people around the world are living in what’s considered to be extreme poverty, or less than $1.90 per day. Thankfully, the world’s population of poor workers has decreased substantially over the last few decades. But how exactly has it changed since 1991, and where is the majority of the working poor population living today? This graphic by Visual Capitalst's Gilbert Fontana uses data from the International Labour Organization (ILO) to show the regional breakdown of the world’s working poor, and how this demographic has changed in the last few decades. From Asia to Africa In 1991, about 808 million employed people were living in extreme poverty, or nearly 15% of the global population at the time. As the graphic above shows, a majority of this population lived in Eastern Asia, most notably in China, which was the world’s most populous country until only very recently. However, thanks to China’s economic reforms, and political reforms like the National “8-7” Poverty Reduction Plan, millions of people in the country were lifted out of poverty. Today, Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the world’s highest concentration of working poor. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the region and zoom in on select countries. Zooming in on Sub-Saharan Africa As of 2021, 11 of the 49 countries that make up Sub-Saharan Africa had a working poverty rate that made up over half their population. Here’s a look at these 11 countries, and the percentage of their working population that lives in extreme poverty:   Burundi is first on the list, with 79% of its working population living below the poverty line. One reason for this is the country’s struggling economy—Burundi has the lowest GDP per capita of any country in the world. Because of the economic conditions in the country, many people struggle to meet their basic needs. For instance, it’s estimated that 40% of urban dwellers in Burundi don’t have access to safe drinking water. But Burundi is not alone, with other countries like Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo also having more than two-thirds of their working population in extreme poverty. Which countries will be able to able to lift their people out of poverty next? Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 23:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT1 hr. 5 min. ago Related News

Victor Davis Hanson: "Race" Everywhere

Victor Davis Hanson: 'Race' Everywhere Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com, Recently an unarmed 29-year-old African American, Tyre Nichols, was brutally beaten to death by five black Memphis police officers. They were charged with murder. All belonged to a special crime unit known as the Scorpions.  Both the victimizers and victim were black. The Memphis police chief is black. The assistant police chief is black.  Nearly 60 percent of the police force is black. The white population of Memphis is about 25 percent.  The now-disbanded Scorpion unit of mostly black officers was created as a response to grassroots appeals to stop spiraling crime in mostly black neighborhoods.  The death of Tyre Nichols could be attributed to many things: a basic lack of humanity on the part of the officers, poor police training, lax administrative supervision, and lowered hiring standards.   Instead, no sooner was the beating death announced than accusations of “systemic racism” surfaced.  Van Jones, the former Obama Administration green czar and recent recipient of Jeff Bezos’ $100 million “courage and civility award,” pronounced on CNN that the black police oppressors were acting out white racism.  Some claimed that charging the five black officers with murder was itself racist. Others alleged that creating the unit in the first place to reduce black-on-black crime was racist.   Yet, when everything becomes racist, then nothing in particular can be racist. About the same time, the city of San Francisco, along with the state of California, was exploring paying out huge cash reparations to its African-American residents for the ancestral sin of slavery.  That evil institution was abolished some 158 years ago through a Civil War that killed some 700,000 Americans.  Yet California was always a free state with no history of slavery.  No resident of America in six generations has been either a slave or slave owner.  Such multibillion-dollar payouts apparently are to be funded by a nearly bankrupt state facing a $25 billion budget shortfall.  How do we quantify either current eligibility or culpability in multiracial California where 27 percent of the residents were not born in the United States? Whites make up only 35 percent of the state’s population.  College campuses increasingly greenlight racially segregated resident housing.  These reactionaries seem eager to return to “separate but equal” apartheid, supposedly outlawed nearly 60 years ago by the 1964 Civil Right Act.  A recent National Association of Scholars study found that of some 173 schools surveyed, 42 percent provided racially segregated residences. Some 46 percent offered racially segregated orientation programs. An overwhelming 72 percent  hosted racially segregated graduation ceremonies. So-called “safe spaces” on campus exclude students on the basis of race, especially whites who are reduced to stereotyped members of a toxic collective. Race-based admissions have transmogrified from proportional representation—the entering class should reflect roughly the racial make-up of the nation—to reparatory or compensatory admittance.  So, for example, Stanford University’s incoming class of 2026 lists white students at 22 percent of the enrolled, roughly one-third of their percentage of the nation’s general population.  Ironically, current racial engineering resurrects the old quota systems used in the past to discriminate against Jews.  “Whites”—to the extent we can determine any race in an intermarried, multiracial society—do not fit the now ossified definition of an exploitive majority.  They no longer even compose a majority in most major American cities and in some states.  They rank well behind many nonwhite ethnic groups in terms of per capita income and millions of working-class Americans certainly don’t fit the tired stereotype of “privileged.”   In racist fashion, white males are often smeared as exhibiting collective “white rage.”  Yet they commit suicide at double their demographics—and more than twice as frequently as blacks and Latinos.  They were also killed in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq at twice their numbers in the general population.  In terms of hate-crime offenders, whites are demographically underrepresented. The most overrepresented victims of hate crimes are whites of Jewish background. Whites commit violent crimes against those of different races at rates below their percentages in the general population. In sum, class, not race, remains the best litmus test of being underprivileged in America. It is no longer synonymous with race. No wonder the identity politics industry now strains to attach prefixes such as “systemic” or “implicit” to “racism,” or “micro” to “aggression,” purportedly to ferret out bias that otherwise is not apparent.  Pause to reflect that America is the only successful multiracial constitutional republic in history. To survive in an increasingly dysfunctional and hostile world abroad, the unique idea of the United States requires concord.  But national cohesion is only possible through citizens subordinating their tribal interests to a common culture. Only then do they cease being automatons of warring tribes and collectives.  As the world becomes ever scarier, Americans must—as Benjamin Franklin once warned—hang together, or most certainly they will soon all hang separately. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 23:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT1 hr. 5 min. ago Related News

368 Arrested, 131 Rescued In California Sex Trafficking Operation

368 Arrested, 131 Rescued In California Sex Trafficking Operation Authored by Jack Bradley via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Authorities arrested 368 people and rescued 131 victims involved in human trafficking in a weeklong statewide multi-agency task force, announced Feb. 1. A massage parlor in Los Angeles County on Aug. 4, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) “We know that the sex trade is a prolific one that exists throughout this state and throughout our nation,” said Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Michel Moore . “It’s an ugly scar against this great country that exists too oftentimes in plain sight.” Operation Reclaim and Rebuild was conducted between Jan. 22 and Jan. 28 in nine counties, including Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino, Moore said at a news conference at the department’s Elysian Park Academy. Numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies were involved in the effort, including the LAPD, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The victims’ ages ranged from 13 to 52, including six children, and the average age was the mid-20s, Moore said. Investigators worked with victim advocacy groups in providing services and resources “to help [victims] escape from this life-threatening environment,” he said. Investigators responded to various advertisements offering sexual services and went to massage parlors suspected of being involved in trafficking. Among the arrestees were pimps and panderers, along with customers of such services, Moore said. The victims are being exploited by “threat of death” or coercion, or threats against their family, while some are kidnapped and isolated from their former support to become dependent on the trafficker, according to Moore. Moore noted that “in the old days,” the victims of human traffickers were often regarded by law enforcement as criminals, but a more modern attitude is to regard them as having been exploited by criminals—many of them having been kidnapped and held against their will. Authorities stressed that the seven-day task force is only a part of law enforcement agencies’ everyday effort to combat sex trafficking. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore speaks during a vigil with members of professional associations and the interfaith community at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters in Los Angeles, on June 5, 2020. (Mark J. Terrill/File/AP Photo) Victims are sometimes brought in from other states or countries, said David Cox, COO for ZOE International, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that helps victims recover once rescued locally and internationally. Cox said his organization, partnering with a similar Los Angeles-based nonprofit Saving Innocents, has cared for 489 youth victims of sex trafficking this past year, with some as young as 11. “In our city, kids are being raped 20 to 30 times a day,” he said. Journey Out, another LA-based nonproft combating human trafficking, cared for 256 adult victims last year, Cox said. He said sex trade is a violent industry, as some of these victims have been pistol-whipped, jumped out of moving vehicles to escape, chased down and beaten, gone missing, or lost their lives. “Traffickers are master predators. They’re on the hunt for vulnerable kids and adults,” he said. City News Service contributed to this report. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 20:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT2 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

Jim Jordan Subpoenas Garland, Wray Over School Board Memo Used Against "Domestic Terrorist" Parents

Jim Jordan Subpoenas Garland, Wray Over School Board Memo Used Against 'Domestic Terrorist' Parents House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) has fired off his first subpoenas of the new Congressional session. The recipients include Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, in order to get to the bottom of a controversial memo which the DOJ used to justify activating the FBI Counterterrorism Division to investigate parents voicing their opposition to a variety of topics - primarily mask and vaccine mandates, and teaching critical race theory. The Garland memo On October 4 of 2021, AG Merrick Garland issued a memorandum announcing a concentrated effort to target any threats of violence, intimidation, and harassment by parents toward school personnel. The announcement came came days after the national association of school boards asked the Biden administration to take “extraordinary measures” to prevent alleged threats against school staff that the association said was coming from parents who oppose mask mandates and the teaching of critical race theory. In late October, however, it was revealed that Garland based the memo on unsupported claims made by the National School Boards Association, which apologized for inflammatory language. Garland maintains that the letter had no bearing on the DOJ's stance. The subpoenas ask for all communications between the recipients and the National School Boards Association. Jordan, who has repeatedly claimed that the memo was used to justify labeling concerned parents as domestic terrorists, told NBC's "Meet The Press" recently that "the chilling impact on the First Amendment free speech is what we care about." "School board writes a letter on Sept. 29th. Five days later, the Attorney General of the United States issues a memorandum to 101 U.S. attorneys offices around the country saying, ‘Set up this line that they can report on.’ … When have you ever seen the federal government move that fast?" he asked. Democrats, meanwhile, have accused Jordan of peddling conspiracy theories. "The conspiracy theories underpinning today’s subpoenas have been debunked with facts time and time again, but Republicans do not want to be bothered by this inconvenient truth. There is no amount of documents that will satisfy the MAGA obsession with conspiracies," according to Del. Stacey Plaskett (VI), the top Democrat on the Judiciary subcommittee tasked with examining the "weaponization" of the federal government. A 'protected disclosure': In mid-November, 2021, House Judiciary Committee Republicans sent a letter to Garland after an FBI whistleblower came forward with "a protected disclosure" - claiming that "the FBI's Counterterrorism Division had been compiling and categorizing threat assessments related to parents, including a document directing FBI personnel to use a specific "threat tag" to track potential investigations." "This disclosure provides specific evidence that federal law enforcement operationalized counterterrorism tools at the behest of a left-wing special interest group against concerned parents," the letter continues. This is the smoking gun. Attorney General Garland provided zero evidence that parents are engaging in credible threats or acts of violence. And yet, he mobilized the FBI Counterterrorism Division to use counterterrorism tools for investigating, tracking, and tagging parents. pic.twitter.com/PHpVIqvlBw — Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) November 16, 2021 According to a public statement by Grassley regarding the one-page letter:  "The Department of Justice owes the American people a better answer than just a one-page letter that says nothing about why the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division is involved in local school-board matters. Now more than ever, parents should be their kids’ strongest and best advocates. They have the God-given right to do so. And the Justice Department ought to be doing everything it can to protect that right, not scare them out of exercising that right. Attorney General Garland should withdraw his memo. And he should take Congress’s oversight, and concern for the rights of parents, more seriously."   Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 20:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT2 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

Secret CCP Overseas Police Station In NYC Closed After Reported FBI Raid

Secret CCP Overseas Police Station In NYC Closed After Reported FBI Raid Authored by Andrew Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A covert overseas police station run by the Chinese regime in New York has been shuttered following a reported raid by the FBI. “The FBI has confirmed that the ‘overseas police station’ in New York linked to Fuzhou has closed,” a State Department spokesperson said in an email to The Epoch Times. “We continue to be concerned about PRC [People’s Republic of China] transnational repression efforts around the world and are also coordinating with allies and partners on this issue.” The America ChangLe Association in New York on Oct. 6, 2022. An overseas Chinese police outpost in New York, called the Fuzhou Police Overseas Service Station, is located inside the association building. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times) The closure of the facility in New York’s Chinatown comes just weeks after The New York Times reported that FBI agents raided and searched the building at an undisclosed time last fall. The facility and more than 100 others like it form a network of covert facilities from which experts believe that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is conducting a campaign of transnational repression. According to two reports published in October 2022 and December 2022 by Safeguard Defenders, a nonprofit organization, the overseas police outposts are used to collect intelligence and even forcibly repatriate Chinese dissidents to the mainland to be imprisoned. “We are aware of reports regarding alleged PRC ‘overseas police stations,’” the State Department spokesperson said. “We take this issue very seriously. Establishing so-called overseas police stations without the invitation or approval of the country in which they are operating raises serious issues of respect for the sovereignty of that country.” The spokesperson referred The Epoch Times to the FBI and Justice Department for further information. The Justice Department didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time, and the FBI declined to comment on the matter. China’s Communist Regime ‘Violates Sovereignty’ Chinese authorities maintain that the facilities, which operate in 53 nations, assist Chinese immigrants in foreign nations with tasks that would normally be handled by a consulate, such as renewing driver’s licenses and visas. However, the stations have been linked to the CCP’s United Front Work Department, an agency that works to advance the regime’s interests abroad by spreading propaganda, conducting foreign influence operations, suppressing dissident movements, gathering intelligence, and facilitating the transfer of technology to communist China. As such, many nations have voiced concern that the facilities are a threat to national security and a violation of sovereignty. Irish, Canadian, and Dutch officials have called for China to shut down similar police operations in their countries. Likewise, FBI Director Christopher Wray has characterized them as a violation of U.S. sovereignty. “I’m very concerned about this,” Wray said during a November 2022 hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “I have to be careful about discussing our specific investigative work, but to me, it is outrageous to think that the Chinese police would attempt to set up shop—you know, in New York, let’s say—without proper coordination. It violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes.” He refrained at the time from commenting on the legality of the overseas police stations but said they were part of the CCP’s campaign of global transnational repression and linked them to CCP efforts to spy on Americans. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 21:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT2 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

Sales Of $10 Million-Plus Homes In Brooklyn Reach A Record In 2022

Sales Of $10 Million-Plus Homes In Brooklyn Reach A Record In 2022 While questions about the housing market in general continue to swirl and as we anxiously await how much deflation we are in store for in the housing industry, at least one area is on an upswing: Brooklyn. This week it was reported that a "record" number of homes in the borough sold for $10 million or more in 2022, according to Bloomberg. It once again paints a picture of people trying to get out of the heart of U.S. cities - Bloomberg noted that people were drawn to the "family friendly" neighborhoods. Last year there were 13 sales over $10 million, which was up from 3 in 2021, the report says, citing Compass.  Leonard Steinberg, a broker at Compass, commented: “A decade or so ago, people went to Brooklyn as a secondary choice because of affordability. Nowadays, a wave of people are choosing Brooklyn as a first choice and not even considering Manhattan. It has nothing to do with price. It has everything to do with quality of life, a sense of community and just that small town, big city feel that you can really only achieve there.” Of the homes that sold, six were in Brooklyn Heights, three in Park Slope and one in Cobble Hill, the report says.  Across the U.S., we are seeing a similar pattern from $10 million-plus markets. In places like Austin, sales of such homes were up from zero in 2021 to 5 in 2022. In North Florida, sales of similarly priced properties were up to four in 2022 from just one in 2021.  “What we're seeing is that wealth is spreading and wealth is very comfortable being removed from big cities because creating the wealth and maintaining the wealth can be done from multiple locations,” Steinberg continued.  Bloomberg noted that: "The most expensive deal in Brooklyn last year was at 88 Remsen St. in Brooklyn Heights, a brownstone with carriage house that traded for $18.3 million in September." Steinberg attributes the rise in prices not just to demand, but also "inflation in the prices of luxury homes and goods". “A lot of these homes have wonderful historic details that no one is going to recreate today. You'll pay an enormous premium for beautiful, move-in renovated homes,” he concluded.  Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 21:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT2 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

Watch: Biden Says "More Than Half The Women In My Administration Are Women"

Watch: Biden Says "More Than Half The Women In My Administration Are Women".....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 33 min. ago Related News

EU Leadership Holds Summit In Kiev Under Air Raid Sirens As Zelensky Urges Fast-Tracked Membership

EU Leadership Holds Summit In Kiev Under Air Raid Sirens As Zelensky Urges Fast-Tracked Membership A handful of top European Union officials gathered in Kiev with Ukraine's leadership on Friday under the sound of air raid sirens for a risky summit at a moment Ukraine is pushing to be fast-tracked for entry into the bloc. Though far from the front line fighting in the east and south, the capital has seen sporadic airstrikes over the past months, but none have been recorded thus far Friday while the summit is being held. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Rueters "There will be no let up in our resolve. We will also support you every step of the way on your journey to the EU," EU chairman Charles Michel wrote on Twitter Friday, with a photo of him in the capital's iconic central square. But Zelensky does has a specific timeline in mind, which he voiced Thursday after initial talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. "I believe that Ukraine deserves to start negotiations on EU membership this year," Zelensky told reporters. "Only together a strong Ukraine and a strong European Union can protect the life we value." EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell was also at the summit. After Ukraine's candidacy was approved by the EU last June, huge hurdles remain which will without doubt make the process slower that Kiev desires, given any country seeking membership must meet key conditions in areas like corruption, an independent judiciary, media, and rule of law issues. For this reason, European Commission President von der Leyen acknowledged "no rigid timelines" it is being guided by. "There are no rigid timelines, but there are goals that you [Ukraine] have to reach," she told Zelensky. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, via Twitter She did preview the EU's next sanctions package targeting Russia, which in part will focus on sanctioning makers of drone components the Russian military is using to target Ukraine's energy and civilian infrastructure. In reality, if Ukraine is let into the EU, it will take not months but years: "The EU will support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people against Russia's ongoing war of aggression for as long as it takes," the EU leaders were expected to say a joint statement, a draft of which was seen by Reuters in advance. EU officials have listed multiple membership requirements, from political and economic stability to adopting various EU laws. The process is likely to take years. "Some may want to speculate about the endgame but the simple truth is that we are not there yet," an EU official said. Still, von der Leyen, Charles Michel, and Borrell are vowing to support Ukraine "for as long as it takes". Yet Ukraine's leadership, accustomed of late to get almost anything it asks of the West (with the latest being Leopard and Abrams M1 battle tanks), is likely to continue to voice its impatience. Together, we are bringing light to Ukraine!⁰ Ukrainians can exchange their old bulbs at the post office for energy-efficient LED bulbs. The EU is gladly providing 35 million of them. Every kW of energy saved is precious to counter Russia's energy war. pic.twitter.com/dkKpSRH6yv — Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 3, 2023 Not helping things is Ukraine's notorious corruption. Recently, Zelensky has booted well over a dozen top officials from office in an effort to show his Western funders that the government is getting serious about rampant corruption, especially as tens of billions in foreign aid flows through Kiev coffers. Zelensky on Friday also announced that Ukraine needs "accelerated" arms supplies if its forces hope to recapture Donbas, and at a moment Russian troops are poised to encircle the strategic city of Bakhmut. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 14:01.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 33 min. ago Related News

New Student Loan Rule To Cost $361 Billion; Study Shows Debt Forgiveness Benefits The Wealthy

New Student Loan Rule To Cost $361 Billion; Study Shows Debt Forgiveness Benefits The Wealthy Authored by Andrew Moran via The Epoch Times, A new rule proposed by the Department of Education could cost up to $361 billion over the next decade, while a separate study says President Joe Biden’s landmark student loan forgiveness plan benefits the wealthy. The White House recently confirmed that more than 16 million people were approved for its student loan forgiveness program. Since October 2022, approximately 26 million people have applied for student debt relief. The borrowers will be approved for the aid if the initiative survives a legal challenge in the Supreme Court in February. The administration’s program would forgive up to $10,000 for borrowers with federal student loans and up to $20,000 for Pell grants recipients. Individuals earning less than $125,000 and families with incomes below $250,000 would be eligible. In total, 95 percent of all student loan borrowers would qualify for forgiveness. “More than 40 million Americans would qualify for one-time student debt relief,” the White House tweeted on Jan. 30. “Nearly 90% of the relief going to out-of-school borrowers would go to those earning less than $75,000 a year. This relief is currently on hold because of lawsuits brought by opponents of the plan.” This comes as the Department of Education proposed a rule to overhaul one of its income-driven repayment plans by cutting borrowers’ payments to a specific percentage of their discretionary income. The plan—known as REPAYE—would slash monthly costs for undergraduate borrowers by as much as half. It’s estimated that the average graduate from a four-year university could see savings of as much as $2,000 per year. But this could cost hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years, says a new study. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel North Portal in Baltimore on Jan. 30, 2023. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images) According to the Penn Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan organization at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, it’s projected that the concept could cost taxpayers between $333 billion and $361 billion. By comparison, the Education Department estimated that it would cost $137.9 billion. The gap is caused by the government planning for enrollment to remain “static,” but the Penn Wharton projections show that there would be an acceptance rate of as high as 75 percent of eligible loan volume. “Taking this factor into account, our estimates provide a range of potential budgetary cost for the government over the 10-year budget window starting in 2023,” the study authors said in a statement. “Higher costs emerge at higher take-up rates.” This would be in addition to the administration’s one-time cost of direct loan forgiveness that it projected would come with a price tag of $469 billion. Student Debt Relief is ‘Regressive’ A separate University of Virginia report learned that the federal government’s present student loan payment pause had benefited high-income individuals more than anyone else. The study revealed that the top half of earners garnered 70 percent of the benefit, and the top quintile, which accounted for 16 percent of student loan borrowers, enjoyed close to 30 percent. Put simply, the program, which has received nine extensions, is believed to be more regressive than Biden’s debt cancellation efforts. Previous studies have also concluded that the administration’s debt cancellation plan supports high-income households. “The benefits of the payment pause tie directly to the balances, monthly payments, and the interest rate on the loans. Each of these components contributes to the net regressive impact of the payment pause continuation,” the report stated. “Continuing to extend the student loan payment pause is expensive and regressive. It costs at least $5 billion per month and delivers the bulk of the benefits to upper-income families. In addition, these many extensions threaten the government’s future credibility to administer student loan programs or, indeed, any government lending initiative.” The paper recommends restarting student loan payments immediately, arguing that additional extensions might result in more pressure on the federal budget and the student loan system. In October 2020, the Brookings Institution, an economic research think tank, concluded that high-income households benefited the most from canceling student loan debt. The highest-income 40 percent of households owed nearly 60 percent of outstanding education debt and represented 75 percent of payments. Conversely, the lowest-income 40 percent of households maintained a fifth of the outstanding debt and accounted for 10 percent of the payments. “It should be no surprise that higher-income households owe more student debt than others,” the think tank wrote. “Students from higher-income households are more likely to go to college in the first place. And workers with a college or graduate degree earn substantially more in the labor market than those who never went to college.” Economists also aver that student loan debt relief is “net regressive,” according to a November 2020 Chicago Booth poll. Moreover, they believe that it would “exacerbate U.S. economic inequality,” adding that a preferable policy would be offering “targeted relief.” Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers posted a series of tweets in December 2021 that stated that student loan debt reduction is “regressive,” warning that it would also add to inflationary pressures. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 14:26.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 33 min. ago Related News

Big Misses From Alphabet, Amazon, And Apple Confirm "The Web 2.0 Bubble Is Bursting"

Big Misses From Alphabet, Amazon, And Apple Confirm "The Web 2.0 Bubble Is Bursting" By Dhaval Joshi of BCA Research The Web 2.0 bubble is bursting, with far-reaching consequences. But to understand the consequences, let’s begin with a brief history of the web: how it evolved from the original Web 1.0 to the current Web 2.0, and how it will evolve to the coming Web 3.0. The Web 1.0 Bubble Burst In 2000, The Web 2.0 Bubble Is Bursting Now If you are over the age of 30, you will remember the original Web 1.0 of the 1990s. Web 1.0 was dull. It was like having a massive encyclopaedia at your fingertips – with static, non-interactive, read-only content, whose ownership remained with its creators: typically, the traditional media, and publishing companies. Nevertheless, facilitated by the telecom and tech giants of the time, Web 1.0 expanded the reach of traditional media content to a massive global audience. Thereby was born the Web 1.0 boom, otherwise known as the technology, media, and telecom (TMT) or ‘dot com’ boom. But as in all booms, hopes for a new paradigm of super-growth were shattered, and the Web 1.0 bubble burst in 2000. Then, around 2005, came Web 2.0. The great leap forwards was user-generated content combined with interaction, which became real-time with the introduction of iPhones. First came blogs, then forums, and finally the explosion of social networks such as Facebook and YouTube. However, Web 2.0 also became the web of big data and advertising. Most of the content – whether blogs, videos, or photos – is user-created, but the effective ownership lies with a handful of ‘Web 2.0 oligopolies’ that control or own the networks: Facebook (now Meta), Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google (now Alphabet), collectively called the ‘FAANG’ stocks. The Web 2.0 oligopolies realised that web users produced vast quantities of data about their lifestyles and consumption habits, which the companies could sell to advertisers and marketers. And on that growth model was born the Web 2.0 profit boom, otherwise known as the ‘FAANG’ boom of the 2010s. To visualise this, compare the performance of the US stock market excluding tech, Amazon and Netflix with the European stock market excluding tech, and the difference through the past decade melts away. Proving that the US market’s spectacular outperformance is almost entirely due to the Web 2.0 boom. But now, the Web 2.0 bubble is bursting, because the scandals of privacy protection and content ownership have put paid to the 2010s growth model. Just as in 2000 for the Web 1.0 companies, hopes for a new paradigm of growth for the Web 2.0 oligopolies have been shattered. All of which brings us to Web 3.0. This is still a work in progress, but after the scandals of Web 2.0, we know the key requirements for Web 3.0 – to protect everyone’s data as well as to reward users for content creation and network participation. This means decentralisation, with no third party imposing the rules. Hence, Web 3.0 will almost certainly be blockchain based and incorporate its technology, such as blockchain tokens and smart contracts.  The Web 3.0 boom might be imminent, or it may be some years away. But just as the Web 1.0 bubble burst several years before the Web 2.0 boom was born, the bursting of the Web 2.0 bubble is not premised on the birth of the Web 3.0 boom. To repeat, the Web 2.0 bubble is bursting because the scandals of privacy protection and disenfranchising content creators have shattered the growth model of the Web 2.0 oligopolies. And the bursting of this bubble has long-term consequences, which we will now discuss. Consequence 1: The Duration Of The US Stock Market Has Shortened The first consequence is a technical point but nonetheless of huge importance. The US stock market’s duration has shortened. The duration of an investment is simply the time to the average cashflow that the investment generates. As the growth model of the dominant FAANG stocks has shattered, their expected cashflow profile has been pulled forwards, shortening the duration of the stock market. This is important because the duration of any investment determines its sensitivity to a change in bond yields. The shorter the duration, the smaller is its price change for a given move in the bond yield. The US tech sector’s duration has shortened. On the way up through 2018-21, the valuation tracked the 35-year bond price. But on the way down through 2022, it has not tracked the 35-year bond price. The good news of shortened duration is that, through 2022, the US stock market’s valuation fell far less than it would have done with longer duration. But the bad news is that the US stock market’s valuation will rise less when bond yields plunge. Consequence 2: Healthcare Will Outperform Technology In the decades preceding 2010, profits in the US tech sector trended higher broadly in line with those in its fellow ‘growth sector’ US healthcare. But after 2010, US tech profits pulled away from healthcare. As already explained, this profit acceleration was almost entirely attributable to the Web 2.0 boom. But now that the Web 2.0 bubble is bursting, the profit trends of US tech and healthcare are likely to re-converge, which means that the profits of US healthcare will outperform those of tech. Yet US healthcare is still trading at a 20 percent valuation discount to US tech. The combination of superior profit growth and a cheaper valuation means that healthcare is likely to outperform tech massively as the Web 2.0 bubble fully bursts. Our preferred expression of this in the past year has been to overweight US biotech versus tech. This structural position is already up 30 percent, but there is a lot further to go. Stick with it. Consequence 3: Europe Will Outperform The US Finally, to repeat, European versus US stock market underperformance through the 2010s is almost entirely attributable to the Web 2.0 boom. If we exclude tech, Amazon and Netflix from the US stock market and compare with the European stock market ex tech, Europe’s underperformance melts away. In this regard, the Web 2.0 boom, whose benefit was focused in the US FAANG stocks, was different to the Web 1.0 boom, which had no geographical bias, at least between the US and Europe. The Web 1.0 boom boosted the European market as much as the US market. Hence, until the 2010s there was no structural downtrend in European versus US stock market performance. But now that the Web 2.0 bubble is bursting, Europe’s 2010s disadvantage versus the US will become its 2020s advantage. A European renaissance is about to begin, at least relative to the US. Hence, today we are opening a new position on a structural (over 2 year) time horizon: Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 15:00.....»»

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Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon Might Be Headed To East Coast

Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon Might Be Headed To East Coast.....»»

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These Were The Best And Worst Performing Assets To Start The Year

These Were The Best And Worst Performing Assets To Start The Year Markets got the year off to a stellar start in January, with a positive performance for 34 of the 38 non-currency assets tracked by Deutsche Bank thematic research group. In fact, in terms of the breadth of gains, that’s the strongest start to a year since 2019, with advances across equities, sovereign bonds and credit. The main exception to this pattern has been among energy commodities, but lower oil and gas prices have themselves been good news to consumers who’ve been squeezed by higher energy prices last year. Elsewhere, As DB's Henry Allen writes, Chinese assets have continued to perform strongly amidst the economy’s reopening, which has also supported a strong rally amongst industrial metals. Nevertheless, it hasn’t been all good news, with investors remaining nervous about a US recession, as well as the prospect of more persistent inflation. Below we share some more details from the latest DB January performance review Month in Review - The high-level macro overview 2023 got off to a positive start in January, with investor risk appetite supported by several good news stories. The most important was the decline in energy prices, particularly in Europe, where natural gas futures continued their decline from late December with a further -24.8% decline in January. That took them down to their lowest levels since September 2021, and means that the outlook for the European economy is much brighter than expected only a few weeks ago, prompting numerous economists to positively revise their forecasts and remove a Euro Area recession from their 2023 projections. This brightening picture has also been reflected in sentiment indicators, with the European Commission’s numbers for Euro Area consumer confidence at an 11-month high in January. The other positive story for markets in January was the continued reopening of China’s economy. Easing restrictions have made investors more optimistic on China’s economic performance, with the Shanghai Composite up +5.4% in total return terms. And more broadly, industrial metals prices have performed very strongly, with copper (+10.9%) advancing for a third consecutive month, raising concerns that China’s reopening could be inflationary for the global economy. The brighter macro outlook meant that various assets put in a very strong performance over January. For instance, the S&P 500 (+6.3%) had its best start to a year since 2019, and Europe’s STOXX 600 (+6.8%) had its best start since 2015. Meanwhile for US Treasuries (+2.8%), it’s been their second-best monthly performance since March 2020, back when the Fed slashed rates to zero as the Covid pandemic began. Tech stocks saw a particularly strong performance following an awful 2022, with the FANG+ index of 10 megacap tech stocks up by +18.7%, marking its best month since August 2020. However, a more negative story over the month has been continued fears about a US recession. These were present from the start of the month, when the ISM readings showed that December was the first month since May 2020 that both the services and manufacturing components were in contractionary territory. Then both the retail sales and industrial production data for December came in beneath expectations. And lastly, the Conference Board’s Leading Index showed a year-on-year decline of -6.0%, which historically has been consistent with either recessions or the recovery from recessions. Other leading indicators such as the yield curve remained deeply inverted too, with the 2s10s closing in inversion territory for a 7th consecutive month. A final theme over the month was growing speculation that central banks might be nearing an end to their current cycle of rate hikes. That was turbocharged by the weak ISM services index for December at the start of the month, and then the US CPI release for December cemented expectations that the Fed would downshift to a 25bps move at their February meeting. Similar themes were evident elsewhere, with the Bank of Canada formally announcing a pause in their rate hikes for the time being. That said, nervousness about stronger-than-expected inflation was still evident, and the end of the month saw a modest sell-off on the penultimate day amidst fears that the central bank meetings in February could see a continuation of their hawkish stance. Which assets saw the biggest gains in January? Equities: January was a positive month for all the major equity indices, including gains for the S&P 500 (+6.3%), the STOXX 600 (+6.8%), the Nikkei (+4.x%) and the Shanghai Composite (+5.4%). Certain sectors like tech did particularly well, with the NASDAQ up +10.7%. European banks also outperformed, with the STOXX 600 Banks index up +14.1% in its strongest January since data begins in 1987. Sovereign Bonds: After an awful 2022 performance, sovereign bonds have had a very strong start to the year, with gains for US Treasuries (+2.8%), Euro Sovereigns (+2.4%) and UK gilts (+2.8%). For US Treasuries, it marks their second-strongest monthly performance since the height of the pandemic in March 2020. Credit: All the credit indices we follow were in positive territory over January, although as with sovereign bonds, EUR credit underperformed USD and GBP credit. The biggest gain was for USD fin sub (+4.4%), where the gain was more than double that for EUR fin sen (+2.1%). Metals: China’s reopening was a big support for industrial metals in January, with copper up +10.9% in its third consecutive monthly advance. In the meantime, gold advanced a further +5.7%, which brings its gains over the last 3 months to +18.0%, and marks its strongest advance over 3 calendar months since August 2011. EM Assets: Emerging markets put in a strong month over January, with the MSCI EM equity index up +7.9% for its strongest start to a year since 2019. Other EM assets also outperformed, with EM bonds up +3.9%, and EM FX up +2.5%. Cryptocurrencies: Having struggled in 2022, crypto assets have had a much better start in 2023. Bitcoin was up +38.8% over the month to $22,951, which is its strongest monthly performance since October 2021. The gains were widespread elsewhere, with Ethereum (+31.5%) and Litecoin (+32.9%) seeing significant advances as well. Which assets saw the biggest losses in January? Energy Commodities: Natural gas prices have declined significantly since the start of the year, with European futures (-24.8%) and US futures (-40.0%) seeing big falls over January. Oil prices have also lost ground, with Brent Crude (-1.7%) and WTI (-1.7%) both down slightly. US Dollar: The dollar index (-1.4%) fell for a 4th consecutive month for the first time since 2020. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 15:20.....»»

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Watch: Democrats Oppose Amendment To Recite Pledge Of Allegiance; Label Republicans "Insurrectionists"

Watch: Democrats Oppose Amendment To Recite Pledge Of Allegiance; Label Republicans "Insurrectionists".....»»

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Nasdaq Soars To Best Start Since 1975 After Jay & Jobs Outperform

Nasdaq Soars To Best Start Since 1975 After Jay & Jobs Outperform.....»»

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More Recession Signs: Money Supply Growth Went Negative Again In December

More Recession Signs: Money Supply Growth Went Negative Again In December Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, Money supply growth fell again in December, falling even further into negative territory after turning negative in November for the first time in twenty-eight years. December's drop continues a steep downward trend from the unprecedented highs experienced during much of the past two years. During the thirteen months between April 2020 and April 2021, money supply growth in the United States often climbed above 35 percent year over year, well above even the "high" levels experienced from 2009 to 2013.  Since then, the money supply growth has slowed quickly, and since November, we've been seeing the money supply contract for the first time since the 1990s. The last time the year-over-year (YOY) change in the money supply slipped into negative territory was in November 1994. At that time, negative growth continued for fifteen months, finally turning positive again in January 1996.  During December 2022, YOY growth in the money supply was at –2.4 percent. That's down from November's rate of –0.55 percent and down from December 2021's rate of 6.44 percent.  The money supply metric used here—the "true," or Rothbard-Salerno, money supply measure (TMS)—is the metric developed by Murray Rothbard and Joseph Salerno, and is designed to provide a better measure of money supply fluctuations than M2.1 The Mises Institute now offers regular updates on this metric and its growth. This measure of the money supply differs from M2 in that it includes Treasury deposits at the Fed (and excludes short-time deposits and retail money funds). In recent months, M2 growth rates have followed a similar course to TMS growth rates. In December 2022, the M2 growth rate was –1.3 percent. That's down from November's growth rate of –0.01 percent. December's rate was also well down from December 2021's rate of 12.5 percent.  Money supply growth can often be a helpful measure of economic activity and an indicator of coming recessions. During periods of economic boom, money supply tends to grow quickly as commercial banks make more loans. Recessions, on the other hand, tend to be preceded by slowing rates of money supply growth. However, money supply growth tends to begin growing again before the onset of recession.  Negative money supply growth is not in itself an especially meaningful metric. But the drop into negative territory we've seen in recent months does help illustrate just how far and how rapidly money supply growth has fallen in recent months. That is generally a red flag for economic growth and employment. Money supply growth also appears to be connected to yield-curve inversion—itself a recession indicator. For example, the 3s/10s yield spread often heads toward zero as money supply growth moves in the same direction. This was especially clear from 1999 through 2000, from 2004 to 2006, and during 2018 and 2019, and beginning in 2022. This is not surprising because trends in money supply growth have long appeared to be connected to the shape of the yield curve. As Bob Murphy notes in his book Understanding Money Mechanics, a sustained decline in TMS growth often reflects spikes in short-term yields, which can fuel a flattening or inverting yield curve.  It's not especially a mystery why short-term interest rates are headed up fast, and why the money supply is decelerating. Since January 2022, the Fed has raised the target federal funds rate from 0.25 percent up to 4.75 percent.  This means fewer injections of Fed money into the market through open market operations. Moreover, although it has done very little to sizably reduce the size of its portfolio, the Fed has nonetheless stopped adding to its portfolio through quantitative easing and allowed a small amount (about 5 percent of $8.9 trillion) to roll off.  It should be emphasized that it is not necessary for money supply growth to turn negative in order to trigger recession, defaults, and other economic disruptions. With recent decades marked by the Greenspan put, financial repression, and other forms of easy money, the Federal Reserve has inflated a number of bubbles and zombie enterprises that now rely on nearly constant infusions of new money to stay afloat. For many of these bubble industries, all that is necessary for a crisis is a slowing in money supply growth, brought on by rising interest rates or a confidence crisis.  Numerous indicators now point toward recession along with the falling money supply and the inverted yield curve. The Leading Economic Index is in recession territory. Real wages have fallen for twenty-one months. Home builder confidence fell every month of 2022. The Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index has been negative since September. Home price growth has been cut in half. The fact that the money supply is actually shrinking serves as just one more indicator that the so-called soft landing promised by the Federal Reserve is unlikely to ever be a reality.  Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 16:20.....»»

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Vanilla is the world"s second-most expensive spice. So why do Madagascar"s farmers live in poverty?

Madagascar grows an estimated 80% of the world's supply of vanilla. But vanilla farmers live in poverty as they face fluctuating prices and thieves. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT9 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

Mortgage rates are falling back near 6%, reopening the housing market for 3 million home buyers, according to Freddie Mac

Mortgage rates slipped after the Fed's softer rate hike this week, a sign that conditions in the housing market are easing slightly. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Mortgage rates have eased closer to 6%, a sign the housing market is cooling off. Lower rates open the market to 3 million borrowers who'd been priced out, according to Freddie Mac. Markets expect the Fed to stop hiking rates, which could help mortgages become more affordable.  Mortgage rates are falling back near 6%, and that could help reopen the housing market to about 3 million buyers who were priced, according to Freddie Mac.The government-sponsored enterprise said that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage inched lower to 6.09% on Thursday, notching its fourth-straight week of declines. That's the lowest rates have been since peaking at over 7% in November of last year, Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater said in a statement."This one percentage point reduction in rates can allow as many as three million more mortgage-ready consumers to qualify and afford a $400,000 loan, which is the median home price," Khater added.Mortgage rates skyrocketed over the course of 2022, influenced by the Federal Reserve's rate hikes aimed at taking some heat out of the economy.The Fed hiked rates another 25 basis-points on Wednesday, dialing back from the previous 50 basis-point hike in December. Investors are beginning to price in the end of the Fed's rate hike cycle in the coming months, which could lower interest rate volatility and cause mortgage rates to ease. Other areas of the housing market are also showing signs of picking back up. Home builder sentiment is rising, and lumber prices have jumped 33% since the start of the year as buyers dip back into the housing market. Meanwhile, markets are pricing in another mild 25-basis-point hike from the central bank in March, which would bring the Fed funds rate target to 5%-5.25%. But despite the steady easing of conditions in the housing market, some experts are still warning of a 2008-style housing crash, which could entail home prices plunging as the housing market undergoes a correction. Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel expects home prices to fall 10%-15%, and Goldman Sachs recently warned four major cities in the US could see a housing implosion on par with the last financial crisis. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT9 hr. 21 min. ago Related News