FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
July 10, 2014

This chart from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, via Business Insider's Mamta Badkar, shows that Americans are moving less than they used to:

(Bank of America Merrill Lynch)

That may be bad news for the economy. A dynamic economy requires people being able to move to wherever their most productive niche may be. Often, that can be hundreds or even thousands of miles away. So less geographic mobility tends to mean less economic dynamism. (Although in the era of telecommuting, it is possible that this is beginning to matter less.)

Now, the U.S. still has far more geographic mobility than, for example, Europe. That is helped by the fact that the U.S. has a single common language, unlike Europe. That's one reason why Europe's economy is struggling so much — a lack of a common language means it is much harder for people in a weaker economic area like Greece to move to a more prosperous area, like Germany.

The trend toward less mobility has been driven via the rise of homeownership in the 1990s. Homeowners are less like to move than renters because it is significantly more expensive for homeowners to move, thanks to various costs including broker fees, transaction costs, mortgage fees, insurance, and so on.

Things have gotten worse with the emergence of mortgages with negative equity — in which a borrower owes more on their mortgage than their home is worth — since the 2008 financial crisis. Now that housing prices have bottomed out (they did so in 2012) and are rising again, mobility stands a chance of beginning to rise again. John Aziz

7:47 a.m. ET

Retired Gen. Michael Flynn's penchant for conspiracy theories has prompted growing calls for Donald Trump to drop him as national security adviser, and former CIA official Philip Mudd joined the chorus on CNN's Situation Room on Tuesday. "We have a history of remarkable servants in the Oval Office and in the Situation Room under Republican presidents," he told Wolf Blitzer, name-checking Brent Scowcroft, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice. "We transition now to a national security adviser in a political realm who argues that opponent on the stump should be locked up in prison and who argues that a billion-plus Muslims should be grouped together."

"You want to tell me that we're going to transition in the Situation Room to reality and I'm watching a clown show — I've had it with this, Wolf," he said. "I want to see a transition from a campaign to a reality and I don't see it yet."

Mudd also criticized Flynn's son and chief of staff, Michael G. Flynn, for his conspiracy-tweeting, but the president-elect has already dumped the younger Flynn from his transition team. Peter Weber

7:38 a.m. ET

Time named Donald Trump as Person of the Year on Wednesday morning "for reminding America that demagoguery feeds on despair and that truth is only as powerful as the trust in those who speak it, for empowering a hidden electorate by mainstreaming its furies and live-streaming its fears, and for framing tomorrow's political culture by demolishing yesterday's."

"It's a great honor," Trump told the Today show. "I've been lucky enough to be on the cover many times this year, and last year."

The President-elect beat out Hillary Clinton as well as Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, Russian President Vladimir Putin, musician Beyoncé Knowles, and others for the designation.

Time annually aims to select the person or idea that has had the greatest impact on the news and world in the past year, a tradition it has followed since 1927. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was Time's Person of the Year in 2015 due to her leadership in the Syrian refugee crisis and the Europe debt crisis. Jeva Lange

6:55 a.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

On Tuesday night, President-elect Donald Trump repeated his pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and as Vice President-elect Mike Pence met with congressional Republicans, the big question was how long before the repeal takes effect, with options ranging from six months to three years. Also on Tuesday, the two major trade groups representing hospitals warned Trump and GOP leaders in Congress that repealing ObamaCare could cost U.S. hospitals $165 billion by 2026 and force "an unprecedented public health crisis."

When Democrats wrote the Affordable Care Act over 14 months, they carefully balanced the needs of the various sectors in the health care industry, and the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals argued in a Washington, D.C., press conference that the flood of uninsured patients would cause massive losses at hospitals. If it repeals the law, the hospital industry said, Congress needs to step in with financial aid. The groups, citing a study, estimated that based on the only ObamaCare repeal law Congress has passed (and Obama vetoed), 22 million more people will be uninsured in a decade, and the strain to hospitals from those patients would be "unsettling," as FAH president Charles Kahn III said.

Republicans have put together a repeal vote that can pass with a simple majority in the Senate, avoiding a Democratic filibuster, but any replacement legislation would need Democratic assent. Peter Weber

5:53 a.m. ET
Youssef Karwashan/AFP/Getty Images

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said early Wednesday that rebel forces fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been driven from Aleppo's Old City and that Assad's forces now control all parts of the quarter. The Syrian army, with help from Russian and allied militias from Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, have been mounting a push to drive the rebels from the eastern part of the city, and after two weeks, they now control about 75 percent of eastern Aleppo. A rebel official in Turkey told Reuters that government troops control some but not all of the Old City.

If Assad's forces drive the rebels out of Aleppo, once Syria's commercial hub, it will mark a turning point in the civil war. Food supplies are depleted and all hospitals destroyed by months of heavy bombardment in eastern Aleppo, and tens of thousands of civilians are trapped in the besieged rebel-held areas. The rebels on Wednesday proposed a five-day cease-fire to evacuate civilians and 500 critically injured people. Peter Weber

5:14 a.m. ET

On Tuesday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert said he hears from a lot of viewers that he's like their TV dad, adding that in unspecified "uncertain times like these," it's important for parents to talk with their kids. "That's right, Dad's calling a family meeting," he said, but he wasn't leading it alone. "You know, I'm merely a father figure, I don't have any real power around here," Colbert said. "That's why I also invited a father figure who has actual authority, your Pops Joe."

"Hey champ, how're you doing?" Vice President Joe Biden said, sitting next to Colbert on the couch in nearly matching blue pullover. "Look, Pops and I, we've been worried about all these sudden changes," Colbert said. "We know that you're worried about the changes the family's going through." "It happens to every family, but I'm telling you, this terrible feeling you're having right now, it isn't permanent," Biden said. "It'll be over in four years, maybe eight." That was the closest the parental chat ever came to explicitly referencing Donald Trump, but there was a lot of tiptoeing up to the line.

"You've got to always do your best to mow the lawn," Colbert said. "Doesn't matter that somebody else is about the get the job of mowing the lawn after you, even though as far as you can tell that person has never touched a lawnmower in his life." "Look, kid, it doesn't matter who's mowing it," Pops Biden agreed. "The point is, it's the greatest lawn in the world, and no matter our differences, we're all responsible for its upkeep. And I've got to believe that in their heart, the next mower is going to do the best they can to make sure that lawn, that everyone feels safe to have a picnic on it." "That's a beautiful metaphor," Colbert said. "Metaphor?" Biden asked. "Metaphor, okay. I'm talking about mowing the lawn. What are you talking about?" "Same thing," Colbert said quickly. Watch the TV dads try to obliquely comfort a hurting national family below. Peter Weber

4:30 a.m. ET
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

On Tuesday night in Fayetteville, North Carolina, President-elect Donald Trump held his second "thank you" victory rally at a venue outside Fort Bragg, pledging to unify the country and pour more money into the military, and formally introducing retired Gen. James Mattis as his nominee for defense secretary. He called "Mad Dog Mattis" one of "the most effective generals that we've had in many, many decades," and when Mattis said he hoped Congress would issue him a waiver from the mandatory seven-year gap between military service and serving as defense secretary, Trump concurred. "You'll get that waiver, right?" he said. "If you didn't get that waiver, there will be such a lot of angry people."

The rally was generally more subdued than the one Trump held in Cincinnati last week. Trump did boast about winning North Carolina and other swing states, but he stopped the crowd from booing when he mentioned the news media. He laid out a vision of a militarily restrained foreign policy, as most recent presidents have, and pledged to repeal ObamaCare, stop illegal immigration, and renegotiate trade deals. Peter Weber

3:35 a.m. ET

For the first time since Gallup began asking 49 years ago, fewer than half of Americans say they want to scrap the Electoral College and choose a president though a popular vote. After Donald Trump's election in November, only 49 percent of Americans say they want to amend the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College, down from about 60 percent over the past 16 years and a high of 80 percent in 1968, when Richard Nixon narrowly won both the popular vote and Electoral College. Support for keeping the current system is 47 percent, up from 35 percent.

"The reason for this shift in opinion is clear," says Gallup's Art Swift: "In the aftermath of this year's election, the percentage of Republicans wanting to replace the Electoral College with the popular vote has fallen significantly."

[Gallup]

Gallup did not ask why Republicans have suddenly embraced the quirky American system of choosing presidents, but "one possible reason is that Republicans are aware that President-elect Trump would not have won the presidency without winning the Electoral College, and that Republicans possess a state-by-state advantage in this area, at least for now," Swift says. A majority of Republicans, 56 percent, say they know Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, while 23 percent say Trump won, Gallup found. Overall, 66 percent of Americans correctly said that Clinton won the popular vote, versus 15 percent who picked Trump and 18 percent who were unsure. Meanwhile, Clinton's lead in the popular vote keeps on growing:

Gallup conducted its poll Nov. 28-29 with 1,021 adults living in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The margin of error is ±4 percentage points. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads