Housing bailout bill
Congress this week passed a massive mortgage-bailout bill that will offer $300 billion in relief to homeowners and lenders. The bill gives qualified homeowners facing foreclosure an opportunity to refinance into 30-year government-guaranteed mortgages. It also authorizes the Treasury to make loans to the troubled government-chartered mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and buy an unspecified amount of stock in both companies. The bailout of Fannie and Freddie could cost taxpayers as much as $25 billion.

The rich get richer
The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans garnered 22 percent of the national income in 2006, their highest share since 1929, the Internal Revenue Service reported. At the same time, those at the very top of the income pyramid saw their average income tax rate fall to
22.8 percent that year—the lowest tax rate paid by the top 1 percent since 1988.