Breakingviews

Negative intellectual equity traps mortgage reform

February 26, 2013

The latest plan to shake up U.S. housing finance, from a bipartisan think tank, offers nothing new. It rests on the usual received wisdom that the market cannot exist without a government backstop. The idea’s prevalent among lawmakers, bankers and investors. It’s wrongheaded.

Mortgage finance needs new foundation

August 18, 2010

Fixing up U.S. mortgage finance involves more than just Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the private home loan market. The Obama administration was right to finally put the bailed-out mortgage giants on center stage at a conference convened on Tuesday. But the crisis had a third leg: borrowers got ahead of themselves.

U.S. needs to reset lopsided mortgage mish-mash

August 16, 2010

Washington faces a mortgage market conundrum. A conference on Tuesday hosted by the U.S. Treasury is supposed, finally, to start addressing what to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Walking away will gain cachet

December 30, 2009

Why bother? That's the question more underwater Americans are asking themselves about their mortgage.

U.S. mortgage giants may getter bigger still

December 24, 2009

As with many giants, it’s hard to cut Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac down to size. The government, which controls the mortgage behemoths, planned to shrink them by 10 percent in 2010. Don’t count on it.

Keep Fannie, Freddie out of new programs

September 28, 2009

While Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still on the government's dime, they could soon be entrusted with lending a hand to yet another corner of the housing market. This brings a whole new meaning to conservatorship, and shows that the Obama administration, like its predecessor, is still relying too much on two failed companies to right the wrongs in the housing slump.

Washington needs to quit housing business

September 25, 2009

There are, to be sure, lots of villains to blame for America's financial crisis: regulators, Wall Street executives, credit ratings agencies, Alan Greenspan. But the one baddie Washington doesn't want to touch is, well, Washington. Its crime: pushing federal policies that favored ever-increasing home ownership, thus helping spawn the housing bubble at the center of the devastating meltdown.