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The 10-Point: My Guide to the Day's Top News

The Wall Street Journal
Good morning,
Weak on Arrival
Republicans were quick to lodge objections on Thursday to President Trump’s budget plans, many of which trim away smaller programs that help the sort of local communities he vowed to rejuvenate during the campaign. The response suggests Mr. Trump’s first blueprint for federal spending, like many before his, is likely to undergo a major rewrite by Congress. While GOP lawmakers embraced the president’s impulses to boost military spending by cutting what some consider wasteful programs, they then began scouring the fine print for details about school-enrichment, environmental-cleanup and other programs, and immediately began planning to shift the burden of cutbacks elsewhere. Republican leadership, including House Speaker Paul Ryan gave a muted endorsement. Meanwhile, the House GOP health plan passed a key test in Congress on Thursday, winning approval in the House Budget Committee on a narrow 19-17 vote.

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Goldman Strikes Again
In a strange reverberation of the housing crisis, Goldman Sachs has become a voracious buyer of soured mortgages, trying to make money even as it looks to fulfill terms of a government settlement that calls for it to help struggling homeowners. Over the past year and a half, the Wall Street giant has become the largest buyer of severely delinquent home loans from mortgage giant Fannie Mae. Goldman’s buying spree was sparked by its $5.1 billion settlement with federal and state governments over its role in packaging and selling mortgage-backed securities in the housing meltdown. As part of the settlement, the firm agreed to provide $1.8 billion in homeowner relief. The way it works: Goldman fixes up loans by helping borrowers get current, gets credit for doing so from regulators and hopes to sell the debt—when people are paying consistently again—at a profit.
A Splintered Europe
The Netherlands’ election result, for all its local idiosyncrasies, foreshadows themes that will color elections in the year ahead in France, Germany and potentially Italy. In the most closely watched Dutch election of modern times, mainstream conservatives shifted right to contain a strong challenge from anti-immigrant populists while social democrats’ voter base frayed and fresh faces opposed to populism filled gaps in the center. Thirteen parties won seats in parliament, with the largest—Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right VVD—winning only around 21% of the vote. The country’s simple, proportional electoral system allowed the party system to splinter to a degree that is unlikely elsewhere. But we report that across much of Europe, party systems are fragmented as allegiances to traditionally dominant conservatives and social democrats fade, and upstarts of various stripes win favor.
It Takes Two
Forget his-and-hers sinks. Homeowners with a hankering for extra elbow room are driving a small but lucrative market for homes with multiple master-bedroom suites. At the top 10% of the market nationwide, active listings for homes with multiple master bedrooms were priced about 9% higher on average than those with just one master. Master bedrooms may be multiplying in response to a broader demographic trend, as the last baby boomers hit middle age. Developers say that more homeowners are embracing multigenerational living, and want to create comfortable living spaces in their homes for elderly parents or boomerang offspring. Empty nesters building homes in resort areas often request an extra master bedroom to use as a VIP suite for guests. Less outspoken are those couples who want separate-but-equally luxurious bedroom suites for themselves.
TODAY'S VIDEO
The Sponge That Cleans Oil Spills
That Was Painless
Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory say they’ve invented a sponge made of common polyurethane foam that has been treated to absorb up to 90 times its weight in oil.
TOP STORIES
U.S.

U.S. Cities Battle Each Other for Jobs With $45 Billion in Incentives

Travel Ban Heads Toward Supreme Court in Transition
WORLD

Saudis Seek U.S., Asian Investment to Diversify Economy

Tillerson to Press China Over Handling of North Korea Threat
BUSINESS

Marathon Sells Muscular-Dystrophy Drug to PTC After Pricing Scrutiny

Twitter Tells McDonald’s Its Account Was Compromised
MARKETS

Canada Goose Soars in IPO

Did Xie Zhikun’s Nearly $1 Billion Go Missing? A Private-Equity Mystery
NUMBER OF THE DAY
$33.3 billion
Overdraft-fee revenue in 2016, up about 2.5% from 2015 and 5.4% from 2011. Banks and other financial firms generated the highest fees in seven years related to overdrafts on checking accounts, marking a turnaround for a charge crisis-era regulation tried to rein in.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
This is their last stand…99% of them came to die.
Lt. Gen. Abdelghani al-Assadi, the commander of Iraq’s elite U.S.-trained counterterrorism forces, on Islamic State fighters from outside Iraq increasingly being abandoned by local militants as the group loses ground in Mosul, leaving a hardened core of extremists that is girding for a fight to the finish.
TODAY'S QUESTION
Returning to our story above, what did you think about Mr. Trump’s budget proposal? Send your comments, which we may edit before publication, to 10point@wsj.com. Please include your name and location.
—Compiled by Margaret Rawson
READER RESPONSE
Responding to yesterday’s question on the indictments stemming from the Yahoo data breach, Rich Irwin of Ohio said: “I think it is comforting to know the feds have found the alleged culprits, even though only one is likely to do time for this action. I think that we shall have to accept that there will always be this dance between the cyberthieves and the cyberpolice and we shall have to be careful with what we reveal about ourselves online.” Roy Farrow of Nevada commented: “Everyone knows that hackers abound, so is this story really that sensational? In the present environment that requires the media to trumpet any reference to Russia, apparently it is. For my money, the real scandal is Yahoo’s ineptitude and duplicity, capped by the CEO receiving a multimillion-dollar severance for a job poorly done.” And Stewart D. Cumming of California weighed in: “Indictments concerning the Yahoo breach are all well and good but convictions are what counts and those have yet to occur. The real takeaway here is that there is no security to doing business over the internet.”

This daily briefing is named "The 10-Point" after the nickname conferred by the editors of The Wall Street Journal on the lead column of the legendary "What's News" digest of top stories. Technically, "10-point" referred to the size of the typeface. The type is smaller now but the name lives on.

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