With less than three week to go until the election, President Obama and Governor Romney find themselves in a dead heat across national polls. The only major poll where the lead is not within the margin of error is the daily Gallup tracking poll, where Romney is up 6 points (margin of error of +/-3). Regarding this poll, Karl Rove says: “No candidate who has led in mid-October with 50 percent or more in the likely voter poll has ever gone on to lose.” Romney must have as bright an outlook, especially as traditional Republicans are typically more likely to vote. In 2008 there was a significant exception as with historically high Democrat turnout drove Obama’s decisive win. Most analysts do not expect this to be repeated.

The missing California jobless claims not reported last week, leading to the supposedly lowest week during Obama’s presidency, have been reported this week, given the US its highest weekly number of new jobless claims-388,000-in four months.

Governments in the US spent $1.03 trillion on welfare in 2011. This “data excludes spending on Social Security, Medicare, means-tested health care for veterans without service-connected disabilities, and the means-tested veterans pension program” and is divided between $746 billion spent by the federal government and $283 billion spent by state governments.

Finally, in Cuba some private property ownership is now being allowed, mostly for apartments. There is a significant division in the value of apartments built since 1959 and those built in the 1940s and 1950s. The older apartments have a significantly higher value in the free market as they are typically marketed as ‘capitalist construction’.