Later this week, we get some key data to help judge the state of the nation's housing market. There are some early signs of recovery, but home prices are still falling in many areas, as NPR's Chris Arnold reports.
CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Tomorrow, we'll get the latest word on home prices from what's called the S&P Case-Shiller index. That keeps showing price declines in many areas. Though those price drops have been leveling off, so things definitely aren't as bad as they were.
Welfare changes in the 1990s helped slash cash benefit rolls, yet the use of food stamps is soaring today. About 15 percent of Americans use food stamps. The program has become what some call the new welfare.
A big reason why is a deal struck between President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress in 1996. At that time, the number of Americans who received cash payments â€” what's often thought of as welfare â€” was at an all-time high.
In his State of the Union address two years ago, President Obama argued there were a few things the U.S. needed to do in order to recover from the economic recession. One of them was to export more of our goods around the world.
"The more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America," Obama said.
That night, the president unveiled a new goal: to double U.S. exports over the next five years. It would be an increase that the president said would "support two million jobs in America."