All eyes were on the Last Frontier last night for the results of the crucial Alaska caucuses—widely regarded as make-or-break for, depending on whom you asked, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, or Newt Gingrich. After Romney managed to squeak past Rick Santorum late in the night with a three-point lead, there can no longer be a doubt that he has the nomination in the bag. No president since 1960 has ever won a general election without votes from Alaska, so Romney’s surprise win could truly be a game-changer.
This week's a big one for the future of Europe, as Germany debates supporting the fiscal pact agreed to in Brussels on March 2 and investors sign onto a Greek bond swap that could write off half of the country's €177 billion debt.
Wages and salaries rose in January by 0.4 percent—up 5 percent from last year—but that extra money has yet to leave consumers' pockets and get back into the economy. Other good economic news was released yesterday, too: Filings for unemployment benefits are at a four-year low. Usually, when wages rise, consumer confidence also goes up, giving the economy a big boost. That hasn't happened yet this time.
Although the past few months have brough economic data that hints at recovery, one important statistic hasn't improved: housing prices. The Standard & Poors/Case-Shiller index of property values report of 20 U.S. cities released yesterday shows that national housing prices have dropped to their lowest levels since 2002. “It is hard to get entirely enthusiastic about the recovery when housing prices are still falling,” said Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. In December, the index decreased by 4 percent from a year earlier, and Detroit was the only city to see an increase from 2010.