Salon has a smart follow-up to a Politico piece we noted last week about a new generation of pundits. While Michael Calderone debated whether these young guns are prodigies or pipsqueaks, Sara Libby is worried about something else:
What bothered me about Calderone’s ranting wasn’t so much whether any of these young men deserved to break into these famously stodgy, old-school institutions — I find all their work refreshing and valuable; Cillzza, especially, is an incredibly tenacious reporter — but that they were simply younger versions of what has long been an old boys club. Is it really that much of a surprise that pages typically populated with old, white men are now also occasionally featuring young, white men?
—Rethinking the American Dream was the headline above a big Washington Post weekend feature about changing views of homeownership. This is the kind of trend stuff we all love to read, complete with a young couple buying their first home and others choosing to rent, so they don’t have to worry about paying a mortgage if they lose a job.
But I wonder if the Post isn’t overstating its case.
In fact, the number of people who think that homes are safe investments has fallen 13 percentage points (to about 70 percent) in the past seven years, according to a poll released this week by Fannie Mae, a mortgage finance company that has operated under federal conservatorship since 2008. A survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling last year had dovetailing results, with about half of respondents saying that home ownership is not a realistic way to build wealth. And the American homeownership rate is on the decline, from a high of 69 percent in 2004 to 67 percent in 2009, according to the Census Bureau.
Are we sure that a two-point drop in the homeownership rate is really a permanent change in attitudes? Is some of that explained by the foreclosures that have swept across the country? Readers might need a bit information to be convinced.
—President Obama gave the press the slip over the weekend, dashing out to his daughter’s soccer game without telling the pool. For a White House press corps that’s already feeling vulnerable, this is serious business.
As the AP reports:
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama quietly breached years of protocol on Saturday morning by leaving the White House without the press with him.
About two hours before reporters were supposed to be in position to leave with the president, Obama left the grounds of the White House. Members of the press were told he was attending one of his daughter’s soccer games in northwest Washington, D.C.
I guess that means we’ll never know who won the game.