👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
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1/ Federal Reserve officials warned of “significant” inflation risks, which could require them to raise rates again this year. At their July policy meeting, “most” Fed officials said inflation remained “unacceptably” high. A “couple” officials, however, thought the risks of raising rates too much versus too little “had become more two-sided, and it was important that the committee’s decisions balance the risk of an inadvertent overtightening of policy against the cost of an insufficient tightening.” The July meeting resulted in a quarter percentage point rate hike to a range between 5.25% and 5.5% – a 22-year high – and marked the 11th hike over the past 17 months, when they raised rates from near zero. Inflation, meanwhile, eased to 3.2% in July, down from a high of more than 9% in mid-2022. (Bloomberg / New York Times / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
2/ The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose to 7.16% – the highest level since 2001. Mortgage rates have more than doubled since the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates. Mortgage applications, meanwhile, were 29% lower than the same week one year ago, slipping to the second-lowest level since 1995. (Bloomberg / Reuters / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
- Student loan bills for some borrowers are higher than mortgage payments. “Almost 7% of debt holders face bills of $1,000 or more. At the same time, about 23.7 million homes in the US have a mortgage payment of $1,000 or less, according to Black Knight.” (Bloomberg)
3/ A paid campaign fundraiser for George Santos was indicted in New York on federal charges for allegedly impersonating Kevin McCarthy’s former chief of staff. Samuel Miele was charged with four counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft for sending “fraudulent fund-raising” emails to more than a dozen potential contributors. In those messages, Miele claimed to be a “high-ranking aide to a member of the House with leadership responsibilities.” Miele earned a commission of 15% for each contribution he raised, prosecutors said. Three months ago, Santos was arrested on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and making false statements to Congress. (New York Times / CNBC / Associated Press)
4/ A federal appeals court limited access to a widely used abortion pill after finding that the FDA failed to follow the proper process when it loosened regulations in 2016 to make mifepristone more easily available. Mifepristone, however, will remain available for now under existing regulations while the litigation continues and the Justice Department is expected to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. (CNBC / Washington Post / NBC News / Reuters / CBS News)
5/ Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis proposed a March 4 trial date for Trump and his 18 co-defendants. The date is one day before Super Tuesday, when more than a dozen states hold their Republican primary contests. Willis also asked to schedule arraignments for the defendants for the week of September 5, saying the dates “do not conflict” with Trump’s other criminal cases. The trial’s start date will ultimately be decided by a judge. Trump’s criminal trial in New York on charges of falsifying business records related to hush money payments, meanwhile, is set for March 25, and a federal judge in Florida set a May 20 trial date in special counsel Jack Smith’s case accusing Trump of mishandling classified records. In a separate federal case related to Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election, Smith’s office proposed a Jan. 2 trial start. (CNBC / Axios / CNN / The Hill)
poll/ 35% of Americans have a favorable view of Trump, while 62% have an unfavorable view. Among Republicans, 70% have a favorable opinion of Trump and 63% say they want him to run for president again. (Associated Press)
poll/ 53% of Americans approve of the Justice Department indicting Trump over his efforts to remain in office after losing the 2020 election. (Associated Press)
poll/ 54% of Americans think Trump should be prosecuted following the federal indictment accusing him of attempting to overturn the 2020 election. 42% think Trump should not be prosecuted. 64% say the federal criminal charges against Trump are serious, while 32% say they’re not serious. (Quinnipiac)
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