PDA

View Full Version : Economics Fannie Mae's Patron Saint


***SPRAYER
09-19-2008, 07:25 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122091796187012529.html?mod=opinion_main_review_and_outlooks

Taxpayers are now on the hook for as much as $200 billion to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and if you want to know why, look no further than the rapid response to this bailout from House baron Barney Frank. Asked about Treasury's modest bailout condition that the companies reduce the size of their high-risk mortgage-backed securities (MBS) portfolios starting in 2010, Mr. Frank was quoted on Monday as saying, "Good luck on that," and that it would never happen.

There you have the Fannie Mae problem in profile. Mr. Frank wants you to pick up the tab for its failures, while he still vows to block a reform that might prevent the same disaster from happening again.

At least the Massachusetts Democrat is consistent. His record is close to perfect as a stalwart opponent of reforming the two companies, going back more than a decade. The first concerted push to rein in Fan and Fred in Congress came as far back as 1992, and Mr. Frank was right there, standing athwart. But things really picked up this decade, and Barney was there at every turn. Let's roll the audiotape:

In 2000, then-Rep. Richard Baker proposed a bill to reform Fannie and Freddie's oversight. Mr. Frank dismissed the idea, saying concerns about the two were "overblown" and that there was "no federal liability there whatsoever."

Two years later, Mr. Frank was at it again. "I do not regard Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as problems," he said in response to another reform push. And then: "I regard them as great assets." Great or not, we'll give Mr. Frank this: Their assets are now Uncle Sam's assets, even if those come along with $5.4 trillion in debt and other liabilities.

Again in June 2003, the favorite of the Beltway press corps assured the public that "there is no federal guarantee" of Fan and Fred obligations.

Fannie Mayhem: A History
Click here for a compendium of The Wall Street Journal's recent editorial coverage of Fannie and Freddie.
A month later, Freddie Mac's multibillion-dollar accounting scandal broke into the open. But Mr. Frank was sanguine. "I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis," he said at the time.

Three months later he repeated the claim that Fannie and Freddie posed no "threat to the Treasury." Even suggesting that heresy, he added, could become "a self-fulfilling prophecy."

In April 2004, Fannie announced a multibillion-dollar financial "misstatement" of its own. Mr. Frank was back for the defense. Fannie and Freddie posed no risk to taxpayers, he said, adding that "I think Wall Street will get over it" if the two collapsed. Yes, they're certainly "over it" on the Street now that Uncle Sam is guaranteeing their Fannie paper, and even Fannie's subordinated debt.

By early 2007, Mr. Frank was in charge of the House Financial Services Committee, arguing that he had long favored some kind of reform. "What blocked it [reform] last year," Mr. Frank said then, "was the insistence of some economic conservative fundamentalists in the Bush Administration who, to be honest, don't think there should be a Fannie Mae or a Freddie Mac." What really blocked it was Mr. Frank's insistence that any reform be watered down and not include any reduction in their MBS holdings.

In January of last year, Mr. Frank also noted one reason he liked Fannie and Freddie so much: They were subject to his political direction. Contrasting Fan and Fred with private-sector mortgage financers, he noted, "I can ask Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to show forbearance" in a housing crisis. That is to say, because Fannie and Freddie are political creatures, Mr. Frank believed they would do his bidding.

And this is exactly what Mr. Frank attempted to prove when the housing market started to go south. He encouraged the companies to guarantee more "affordable" mortgages, thus abetting their disastrous plunge into subprime and Alt-A loans. He also pushed for, and got, an increase in the conforming-loan limits to allow Fan and Fred to securitize and guarantee larger mortgages. And he pressured regulators to ease up on their capital requirements -- which now means taxpayers will have to make up that capital shortfall.

But the biggest payoff for Mr. Frank is the "affordable housing" trust fund he managed to push through as one political price for the recent Fannie reform bill. This fund siphons off a portion of Fannie and Freddie profits -- as much as $500 million a year each -- to a fund that politicians can then disburse to their favorite special interests.

This is also why Mr. Frank won't tolerate cutting the companies' MBS portfolios. He knows those portfolios (bought with debt borrowed at taxpayer-subsidized rates) were a main source of Fannie's profits before the housing crash, and he figures that once this crisis passes they can do it again. And this time, his fund will get part of the loot.

* * *
Mr. Frank has had many accomplices from both parties in his protection of Fan and Fred. But he was and is among the most vociferous and powerful. In any other area of American life, this track record would get a man run out of town. In Washington, he's hailed as a sage whose history of willful error will be forgotten faster than taxpayers can write a check for $200 billion.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.

And add your comments to the Opinion Journal forum.

***SPRAYER
09-19-2008, 07:42 PM
Mortgage Meltdown's Roots in Moonbattery
Despite his ties to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, Obama has been exploiting the current financial crisis by spinning it into evidence that we must abandon economic freedom in favor of socialism. Yet coercive intrusion by government moonbats had a large hand in creating the crisis. From Investor's Business Daily:

[I]t was the Clinton administration, obsessed with multiculturalism, that dictated where mortgage lenders could lend, and originally helped create the market for the high-risk subprime loans now infecting like a retrovirus the balance sheets of many of Wall Street's most revered institutions.
Tough new regulations forced lenders into high-risk areas where they had no choice but to lower lending standards to make the loans that sound business practices had previously guarded against making. It was either that or face stiff government penalties.
[] Clinton-era corruption, combined with unprecedented catering to affordable-housing lobbyists, resulted in today's nationalization of both Fannie and Freddie, a move that is expected to cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.
And the worst is far from over. By the time it is, we'll all be paying for Clinton's social experiment, one that Obama hopes to trump with a whole new round of meddling in the housing and jobs markets. In fact, the social experiment Obama has planned could dwarf both the Great Society and New Deal in size and scope.
Clinton crony Franklin Delano Raines looted the quasi-governmental Fannie Mae for almost $100 million in compensation in just a few years before he had to abandon his CEO post under an ethical cloud. Since then he has moved on to other nefarious activities, serving as a "high level economic advisor and donation 'bundler' to the Obama Campaign."

Jim Johnson, who also stuffed his pockets with $millions as Fannie Mae CEO, served on Obama's VP search committee. Obama chucked him under the bus when his involvement in the questionable loans scandal at Countrywide Financial became public.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been big believers in greasing the wheels in Washington, as an alternative to restricting themselves to sound business practices. Despite being a junior Senator of little apparent consequence, Obama managed to soak up more of their money than any other Senator after Chris Dodd.

Whatever Obama means by Change, it won't pertain to the corruption that results when the government meddles in the private sector's business.

On a tip from The Him.


moonbattery.com

***SPRAYER
09-20-2008, 09:31 AM
http://biglizards.net/blog/archives/2008/09/subprime_mccain.html

But perhaps the public doesn't understand -- as I didn't until this month -- just how much of that collapse was in fact orchestrated by the socialist hijinks of congressional Democrats (including Obama), by Bill Clinton, and by Jimmy Carter: Between them, they forced banks and S&Ls into the volatile and risky sub-prime market; and then the Democrats repeatedly prevented any attempt by congressional Republicans (and by President Bush) to oversee and regulate that market.

Why would they do this? First, because Democrats have long been getting huge campaign donations from banks and other mortgage lenders; in fact, the top two recipients of such money are Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT, 95%) and Barack Obama. Both subsequently encouraged exactly the sort of loan speculation they now decry, an act that reeks of corruption. In addition, many former members of the Clinton administration, including Franklin Delano Raines, former Commerce Secretary William Daley, and Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick (of "Gorelick's wall" infamy), ended up running Fannie and Freddie or lobbying for them... and incidentally raking off tens of millions of dollars for themselves.

But the real culprit in this collapse isn't just Democratic corruption; it's the leftist demand to increase minority home ownership by lending low-income borrowers more money than they qualify to borrow, with higher mortgage payments than they are able to pay. That is, offering mortgages that violate the most basic rules of banking, as a form of "housing welfare." That is the crux of this very real, but very specific crisis.

What caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis?
One of the most evil, anti-capitalist movies ever made is also one of the most beloved by audiences and critics (including supposedly capitalist critics and pundits such as Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt): It's a Wonderful Life, directed by liberal fascist Frank Capra and starring conservative Jimmy Stewart.

In that movie, George Bailey (Stewart) is shown to be a great guy because he offers mortgages to people who cannot afford to pay them -- and then lets them slide on their payments without foreclosing. Such a wonderful life! (Well, not for the bank's investors; and not for the depositors, when the bank fails -- as it inevitably will do.) In a sense, then, Philip Van Doren Stern (author of the short story, "the Greatest Gift," that was the basis for the movie) invented the utopian idea of "sub-prime mortgages."

It's a Wonderful Life makes great theater but lousy economics, and the financial events of the past few months illustrate why.

The primary rules to prevent the collapse of banking are (1) not to lend money to unqualified borrowers -- you can't give a mortgage to someone who cannot possibly pay it -- and (2) to maintain a sufficiently high cash reserve that people who need to draw out all their money can do so -- the bank can't lend out all its depositors' money. But those rules make it more difficult for the poor (disproportionately minorities and Democrats) to obtain housing loans: They're restricted to much smaller mortgages for a smaller percentage of the total cost of the house; and because the bank can't lend out every penny, it must pick and choose to whom to lend.

This infuriates liberals, who believe the very purpose of a bank is to give the poor a chance to own their own home (even without pulling themselves out of poverty first). Thus, liberals have long championed a supposed "reform" that is actually an element of unbridled liberal fascism: That government should force private banks to make bad loans to Democratic constituents, under threat of massive fines from the SEC... or even loss of their license.

Democrats in Congress forced that act of semi-nationalization on the banks as long ago as 1977, where they pushed through Congress the anti-capitalist, Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977. That was the year that was: Democrats in the 95th Congress, still surfing the tsunami of Watergate, enjoyed a 61% majority in the Senate and a 67% majority in the House; and in Jimmy Carter, they had the most left-liberal Democrat in office since FDR. It was the perfect storm of socialism.

banyon
09-20-2008, 09:42 AM
http://biglizards.net/blog/archives/2008/09/subprime_mccain.html

But perhaps the public doesn't understand -- as I didn't until this month -- just how much of that collapse was in fact orchestrated by the socialist hijinks of congressional Democrats (including Obama), by Bill Clinton, and by Jimmy Carter: Between them, they forced banks and S&Ls into the volatile and risky sub-prime market; and then the Democrats repeatedly prevented any attempt by congressional Republicans (and by President Bush) to oversee and regulate that market.

Why would they do this? First, because Democrats have long been getting huge campaign donations from banks and other mortgage lenders; in fact, the top two recipients of such money are Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT, 95%) and Barack Obama. Both subsequently encouraged exactly the sort of loan speculation they now decry, an act that reeks of corruption. In addition, many former members of the Clinton administration, including Franklin Delano Raines, former Commerce Secretary William Daley, and Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick (of "Gorelick's wall" infamy), ended up running Fannie and Freddie or lobbying for them... and incidentally raking off tens of millions of dollars for themselves.

But the real culprit in this collapse isn't just Democratic corruption; it's the leftist demand to increase minority home ownership by lending low-income borrowers more money than they qualify to borrow, with higher mortgage payments than they are able to pay. That is, offering mortgages that violate the most basic rules of banking, as a form of "housing welfare." That is the crux of this very real, but very specific crisis.

What caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis?
One of the most evil, anti-capitalist movies ever made is also one of the most beloved by audiences and critics (including supposedly capitalist critics and pundits such as Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt): It's a Wonderful Life, directed by liberal fascist Frank Capra and starring conservative Jimmy Stewart.

In that movie, George Bailey (Stewart) is shown to be a great guy because he offers mortgages to people who cannot afford to pay them -- and then lets them slide on their payments without foreclosing. Such a wonderful life! (Well, not for the bank's investors; and not for the depositors, when the bank fails -- as it inevitably will do.) In a sense, then, Philip Van Doren Stern (author of the short story, "the Greatest Gift," that was the basis for the movie) invented the utopian idea of "sub-prime mortgages."

It's a Wonderful Life makes great theater but lousy economics, and the financial events of the past few months illustrate why.

The primary rules to prevent the collapse of banking are (1) not to lend money to unqualified borrowers -- you can't give a mortgage to someone who cannot possibly pay it -- and (2) to maintain a sufficiently high cash reserve that people who need to draw out all their money can do so -- the bank can't lend out all its depositors' money. But those rules make it more difficult for the poor (disproportionately minorities and Democrats) to obtain housing loans: They're restricted to much smaller mortgages for a smaller percentage of the total cost of the house; and because the bank can't lend out every penny, it must pick and choose to whom to lend.

This infuriates liberals, who believe the very purpose of a bank is to give the poor a chance to own their own home (even without pulling themselves out of poverty first). Thus, liberals have long championed a supposed "reform" that is actually an element of unbridled liberal fascism: That government should force private banks to make bad loans to Democratic constituents, under threat of massive fines from the SEC... or even loss of their license.

Democrats in Congress forced that act of semi-nationalization on the banks as long ago as 1977, where they pushed through Congress the anti-capitalist, Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977. That was the year that was: Democrats in the 95th Congress, still surfing the tsunami of Watergate, enjoyed a 61% majority in the Senate and a 67% majority in the House; and in Jimmy Carter, they had the most left-liberal Democrat in office since FDR. It was the perfect storm of socialism.

Double posting from "biglizards"? How desperate are you to try to pin this on your political enemies?

http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showpost.php?p=5037000&postcount=48

***SPRAYER
09-20-2008, 12:54 PM
Double posting from "biglizards"? How desperate are you to try to pin this on your political enemies?

http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showpost.php?p=5037000&postcount=48

Just making sure it gets read. I know how libs just love to obfuscate and revise things as time goes by.

Baby Lee
09-20-2008, 01:52 PM
Double posting from "biglizards"? How desperate are you to try to pin this on your political enemies?

http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showpost.php?p=5037000&postcount=48

You seem pretty scrupulous about this 'not assigning blame' thing.

So how's Obama's apples these days?

banyon
09-20-2008, 02:30 PM
You seem pretty scrupulous about this 'not assigning blame' thing.

So how's Obama's apples these days?

That was SHTSPRAYER'S idea that he wasn't assigning blame, then everything he posts afterwards is an attempt to do just that.

***SPRAYER
09-20-2008, 04:18 PM
That was SHTSPRAYER'S idea that he wasn't assigning blame, then everything he posts afterwards is an attempt to do just that.

We can't name names?

whoman69
09-20-2008, 04:27 PM
Hmm, the deregulation on these type industries was done by none other than Sen. Gramm with a big assist by his buddy John McCain, head of the Commerce Committee despite his own statement that he knows little about the economy.

WilliamTheIrish
09-20-2008, 04:36 PM
Between them, they forced banks and S&Ls into the volatile and risky sub-prime market; and then the Democrats repeatedly prevented any attempt by congressional Republicans (and by President Bush) to oversee and regulate that market.

Forced? I don't think so.

HonestChieffan
09-21-2008, 04:57 PM
Dems own the issue and hold all the responsibility.

HolmeZz
09-21-2008, 08:51 PM
The overwhelmingly majority of the money Obama got was from lower employees.

Among lobbyists and officers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac McCain has gotten $169,000 to Obama's $16,000.

I don't think McCain wants to go there.