A sign for Freddie Mac in front of its headquarters in McLean, Va. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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One of Freddie Mac's restrictions blocks people who have a short sale in their past from refinancing for two to four years following the short sale. Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

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A newly constructed home in Westport, Conn., in December. The past three years have been the worst for new housing starts since before record-keeping began, according to economists at IHS Global. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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According to the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday, home prices were down 3.4 percent this year as of October — around a 35 percent drop from their peak. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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A counselor (right) talks with a man about training programs at a nonprofit training and job placement center in Menlo Park, Calif. Seventy percent of the long-term unemployed and underemployed would like the government to offer more job training services, an NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation poll found. Paul Sakuma/AP hide caption

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Attorney Gary Klein in Boston is suing the largest U.S. banks on behalf of thousands of homeowners whom he says the banks wrongfully pushed into foreclosure. Chris Arnold/NPR hide caption

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Harvard Business School's Jayanth Iyengar (far left), Jonas Peter Akins and Genevieve Sheenan held their own, but eventually lost to IBM's Watson in a game of Jeopardy at a conference on jobs and technology. Chris Arnold/NPR hide caption

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Speaking in Las Vegas on Monday, President Obama announced a plan for homeowners to refinance mortgages at low interest rates, if they met certain conditions.

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Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, businessman Herman Cain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann participate in a Republican presidential debate last week in Las Vegas.

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Occupy Boston protesters congregate across the street from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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A bank-owned sign is seen in front of a foreclosed home in Miami. Florida was among the hardest hit states in the real estate collapse.

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A truck stop near Hesperia, Calif. To address a shortage of truck drivers resulting from a mismatch of skills in the labor market, some trucking companies have started free driving schools with the promise of a job upon completion.

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SawStop, a table saw safety tool, senses an electrical current in skin and triggers a brake when a finger comes into contact with the blade. Courtesy of SawStop hide caption

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One proposal for saving homeowners money is to have government-backed firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac extend their loan guarantees to cover new, cheaper, refinanced loans. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

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