This article was written in response to “How Ralph Nader learned to love Fannie and Freddie” (February 18) by Bethany McLean.
The Great Debate
The U.S. Senate should move quickly to confirm Mel Watt as the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), but not for any of the political or procedural reasons usually discussed. A quick confirmation is required because we need new leadership on U.S. housing policy — a policy that on some crucial points is headed in the wrong direction for the wrong reasons.
We shouldn’t have to sue to get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to follow their congressional mandate and put some of the billions they are generating into affordable housing for the millions of families who need it. But that’s what is has come to for housing advocates, who are frustrated that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is still refusing to fund the National Housing Trust Fund.
Last week, I spotlighted three ominous trends in consumer banking. The last one spotlighted a brewing war “between the private bank sector and the government over who exactly controls the allocation of consumer credit in this country.”
from Stories I’d like to see:
1. Crash Winners
Here’s a new entry for the lists of winners and losers that get published this time of year: The ten lawyers, bankers, consultants or accountants who reaped the most from the financial disaster of the last three years.
By Maureen Tkacik
The opinions expressed are her own.
Also read part one of this series, How Ed DeMarco finally cried fraud.
A big clue something had become dysfunctional at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac came in the first week of 2011, when the government mortgage market makers announced the terms of a settlement agreement they’d reached with Bank of America, and were immediately pilloried for extending the bank another “backdoor bailout” by the likes of Maxine Waters and the American Enterprise Institute.
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
The opinions expressed are his own.
America is on a path to fiscal disaster. The skyrocketing national debt will continue to force the Nation to make fundamental decisions about what the government will and will not do, and how to share budget resources across competing programs. Too bad Congressional budget rules give misleading signals on the best path forward.
A year after the government's seizure of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG , not to mention the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers that sent the global financial system into a tailspin, very little has changed to prevent debt from being sliced and diced, again and again.