Okay. So auto loans are easier to come by. To find out if that's the same for home loans, and to take a look at the overall housing market, we turn to David Wessell as we often do. He is economics editor of The Wall Street Journal. David, good morning.
DAVID WESSEL: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: You know, I got an email the other day that was offering, on certain kinds of mortgages, three percent interest, and I guess four percent is getting to be normal right now. So are more people taking advantage of that and buying homes?
Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 10:37 am
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Our colleague David Greene has done so much distinguished work for NPR that we've decided to send him to Siberia - really. David is wrapping up two years in Russia with a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, which crosses that gigantic country. He's head east from the capital, Moscow. We reached him about 150 miles into the journey in the city of Yaroslavl. Hi, David.
DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: Hey there, Steve.
INSKEEP: Why wrap up your time in Russia with this train ride?
The tough economy has taken its toll on most states, putting budgets deep in the red and putting people out of work.
But North Dakota has a low 3.5 percent unemployment rate and a state budget with a billion dollar surplus. That's because of a major oil boom in the western part of the state, a discovery of at least 2 billion barrels to be gained by fracking — the controversial process of injecting fluid deep into underground rock formations to force the oil out.
If you think the presidential campaigns are heating up, visit Hollywood — where campaigns of a different sort are kicking into overdrive. It's Oscar season, and studios are orchestrating a blitz of interviews, ads and billboards in an attempt to influence academy voters.
If this season has a commander in chief, it's producer Harvey Weinstein. He is credited with inventing the modern Oscar campaign — famously beating out Saving Private Ryan for best picture with Shakespeare in Love.