Chris Arnold

NPR correspondent Chris Arnold is based in Boston. His reports are heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. He joined NPR in 1996, and was based in San Francisco before moving to Boston in 2001.

In recent years, Arnold has spent much of his time reporting on the financial crisis, its aftermath, and the U.S. economy's ongoing recovery. He has focused on the housing bubble and its collapse. And he's reported on problems within the nation's largest banks that have led to the banks improperly foreclosing on thousands of American homeowners. For this work, Arnold earned a 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award for the special series, The Foreclosure Nightmare. He's also been honored with the Newspaper Guild's 2009 Heywood Broun Award for broadcast journalism. He was chosen by the Scripps Howard Foundation as a finalist for their National Journalism Award, and he won an Excellence in Financial Journalism Award from N.Y. State's society for CPA's.

Arnold is also reporting on the now government-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In a series of stories in partnership with ProPublica, Arnold exposed investments at Freddie Mac that raised serious concerns about a conflict of interest between Fannie and Freddie's massive investment portfolios, and their mission to make home ownership more affordable. The stories generated widespread attention, and led to calls for an investigation by members of Congress.

Arnold was recently honored with a Nieman Journalism Fellowship at Harvard University during the 2012-2013 academic year. He joined a small group of other journalists from the U.S. and abroad and studied, among other things, economics and the future of home ownership in America.

Prior to that, Arnold covered a range of other subjects for NPR – from Katrina recovery in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, to immigrant workers in the fishing industry, to a new kind of table saw that won't cut your fingers off. He traveled to Turin, Italy, for NPR's coverage of the 2006 Winter Olympics. He has also followed the dramatic rise in the numbers of teenagers abusing the powerful and highly addictive painkiller Oxycontin – more than 1 out of 20 high school seniors report using the drug.

In the days and months following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Arnold reported from New York and contributed to the NPR coverage that won the Overseas Press Club and the George Foster Peabody Awards. He chronicled the recovery effort at Ground Zero, focusing on members of the Port Authority Police department, as they struggled with the deaths of 37 officers - the greatest loss of any police department in U.S. history.

Prior to his move to Boston, Arnold traveled the country for NPR doing feature stories on entrepreneurship. His pieces covered technologists, farmers, and family business owners. He also reported on efforts to kindle entrepreneurship in economically disadvantaged areas ranging from inner-city Los Angeles to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota.

Arnold has worked in public radio since 1993. Before joining NPR, he was a freelance reporter working out of San Francisco's NPR Member Station, KQED.

For all the attention lately on the ballooning size of the national debt, short-term interest rates are so low that the government, at least at the moment, can borrow that money almost for free.

"Right now, with money as cheap as it is, the deficit is not a drag at all," said Albert "Pete" Kyle, a finance professor at the University of Maryland. "But if you look at what's coming in the future, the potential drag that you see in the future is a really big problem."

Members of Congress appear closer to reaching a deal in the ongoing drama over raising the nation's debt ceiling. The economic stakes are high, and top investors and executives at major companies have been putting increasing pressure on lawmakers to strike a deal.

Take the housing market for example: Industry insiders there worry that if the political theatrics continue much longer, that could spook investors, drive up interest rates, push down home prices and hurt the economy.

The housing market is still languishing this summer, leading some economists to believe prices won't begin to recover until 2014. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake says the market may be worse than most people thought.

This is due in large part to something economists call the shadow inventory — or the number of houses that will soon be up for sale.

On any given day in just about every city in the country, auctioneers are standing on the front steps of homes selling off foreclosed properties. Often no buyers even show up, and the bank takes the house.

This week some of the nation's biggest power tool companies sent their executives to Washington. They came to argue against tougher safety mandates for so-called table saws — the saws with large open spinning blades. NPR's Chris Arnold has this Reporter's Notebook.

Home prices around the country have fallen into a double dip. After declining around 30 percent from their peak, they started to rise a bit last summer with the help of a federal tax credit.

But with that stimulus gone, prices are now sliding again to new lows. And while some pundits say a lease makes more sense than a mortgage, other economists insist it's a great time to buy.

'American Dream' Under Fire

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