A Week's Worth: Quick takes on the world of work and money

Most Americans will save their tax rebate, they say; housing optimismhigh in Midwest; is it OK to talk politics at work these days?

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost momentum, along with Asian and European stocks. Its 4.4 percent drop as of Friday's close was the first in three weeks.

The tax rebate that may be headed your way to help stimulate the economy: Will you save it, spend it, or use it to pay down debt? If you're like the vast majority of people polled on the subject by CCH, an online tax preparer, you'll pay bills or sock it away for later use. Only 21 percent said theirs would go for some product or service they don't already have.

What housing slump? A whopping 77 percent of Americans seem to think that others' homes may have lost value over the past year, but their own haven't. Or so says the online real estate clearinghouse Zillow.com. In a nationwide survey, it also found that 67 percent of respondents were confident enough about the market that they expect to spend money on a major upgrade or repair this year. Optimism was highest – and pessimism lowest – in the Midwest.

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As the US plunges deeper into the election cycle, are Americans more or less hesitant to talk politics in the workplace than they used to be? Less, if the results of a survey by the staffing service Office Team are correct. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they no longer consider the subject taboo, provided such conversation isn't "too heated." Another 14 percent rated political discussions as "useful." And 39 percent said they "often" overhear fellow employees discussing politics on the job.

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