A 'For Sale' sign stands in front of a house on May 31, 2011 in Chicago, Ill.
A 'For Sale' sign stands in front of a house on May 31, 2011 in Chicago, Ill. - 
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Buying a home is hard enough these days, with mountains of paperwork and lenders enforcing tight standards. But it could get even worse during this month.

The government shutdown is hampering lots of different mortgage processing, and not just for Federal Housing Administration loans used by many first-time buyers with low or moderate income.

If you’re keeping up with the budget fight in D.C., you might be thinking, “I could figure this out, why don’t they ask me?” Well, in San Francisco, some residents are getting that chance. The city by the bay just finished an experiment in participatory budgeting. The idea is simple. Let ordinary folks decide how to spend public money. San Francisco is one of a handful of cities around the country piloting the idea. 

Every company strives to be innovative, but Thomson Reuters says it’s figured out a way to measure innovation. Today, it released a list of the world’s 100 most innovative companies. U.S. companies dominate the list, taking nearly half the spots. But what about companies in the world’s second largest economy? Not a single Chinese company made the list.


Follow David Brancaccio at @DavidBrancaccio