In the News

Javier Silva of Demos, a New York-based think tank, yesterday opposed any change. Raising the limit would extend a dangerous trend of loosening lending standards to enable consumers to buy homes they can't truly afford, Silva said. "The answer is to find ways to lower home prices, not simply raise debt limits to allow inflated prices to soar even higher," he said.
 
A proposal to reduce housing costs by relaxing federal lending limits in pricey real estate markets drew a mixture of praise and sharp criticism yesterday from real estate analysts.
Demos's senior research associate and author of A House of Cards: Refinancing the American Dream, Javier Silva, said that, even in the absence of a real estate crash, many families "are facing a financial crisis," partially because they've taken on more mortgage debt.
 
As more and more people have rushed to be homeowners, they actually own less of their homes than they have in decades...adding another risk factor to the overheated real estate market.
"I've been raising this issue since the early 1990s but people only started pay attention after the election of 2000," Hayden, director of the New York-based advocacy group Unlock the Block, said in a telephone interview. "It became an issue after people became aware that 800,000 citizens in Florida couldn't vote.

Senior Fellow George Packer investigates how the U.S. Administration has replaced, revised, or expanded the G.W.O.T. with a new phrase: "a global struggle against violent extremism" — noting the war is now a struggle.

At its root, the struggle is an ideological contest, a war of ideas that engages all of us, public servant and private citizen, regardless of nationality.

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It's not just young people who can begin to have a different view of the profession. David Callahan, author of the 2004 book "The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead," says a focus on the bottom line creates problems with ethics in many industries.
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"The Congress members of both parties who are embracing these punitive measures for working families are dangerously out of touch with the grim economic realities faced by ordinary families," says Tamara Draut, director of the Economic Opportunity Program of New York-based think tank Demos.
 
For decades, declaring bankruptcy has been a last-resort measure to re-establish financial standing for economically distressed individuals and families.
But a recent report by Demos, a think tank in New York, said the refinance boom has put many homeowners at financial risk because inflated appraisals that are used to refinance homes can leave homeowners with negative equity in their properties.
 
As falling interest rates transformed millions of U.S. homes into virtual ATM machines, critics say the real estate appraisal system has become rife with conflicts of interest as inflated appraisals justify ever-riskier loans.
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The study revealed some startling results that suggest a college education has become unaffordable to many young adults. For example, more students are taking on debt to finance their college education because of a shift in federal student aid programs. In 1980, the most common form of college funding was federal grants, which amounted to 52 percent of the government's student aid system. Loans followed at 45 percent. But by 2000, loans had risen to 58 percent of the student aid pie while grants dropped to 41 percent.

"Appraisal fraud is part of a bigger, more ominous picture," said David Callahan, research director at Demos, a nonpartisan public-policy group in New York. "As home prices have continued to increase above inflation, even nearing 20 percent per year in some cities, American homeowners are vulnerable as never before to financial ruin if home prices fall to their natural market value.

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Heather McGhee, economic-policy analyst with Demos said progressives value "shared prosperity."
 
Campus Progress, a project of billionaire George Soros's Center for American Progress (CAP), seeks to "empower a new generation of progressive leaders."