Well its official,
a beagle finally won the Westminster Dog Show after being shut out since 1874 Roger Clemens finally testified in front of Congress today President Bush signed the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, describing it as a “booster shot” for the American economy.
The bill I’m signing today is large enough to have an impact, amounting to more than $152 million this year, or about 1 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product),” the president said in the brief ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
About 130M Americans are going to get rebate checks by May.
A recent Associated Press-Ipos poll indicates most people have other plans. Forty-five percent said they planned to pay off bills, while 32 percent said they would save or invest it. Only 19 percent said they would spend their rebates.
The relevant benefit, as it relates to housing, concerns the expansion of the conforming loan limit from $417,000 to $729,750. However there have been concerns raised, based on past issues, with the GSE’s ability to manage the additional risk and the distraction that this temporary increase will have with their mission to encourage affordable housing (I think Paulson’s primary concern is the additional risk exposure because I fail to see how this prevents the GSE’s from their mission).
The temporary conforming loan limit expansion is still unknown and may prove to be of little benefit. As new mortgages that were once jumbos become conforming, the following could happen:
- Payments could drop because conforming loans are lower risk (in theory) and therefore have lower rates.
- Wall Street investors who buy mortgage-backed securities could demand a premium for the larger loans now purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so rates may not change at all or could fall in between the current rates for conforming and jumbo.
- The economy could get worse which seems likely given the FOMC futures market prediction of a 50% probability that the FOMC will drop rates by 50 basis points at their next meeting.