Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 29, 2008 / 29 Elul 5768

Partners at the Destruction: Fannie, Freddie and just about everybody

By John H. Fund


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We will look back on the failure of Congress to reform the government-sponsored enterprises at the heart of the mortgage meltdown as one of the most expensive derelictions of its duty ever. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac used their lobbying clout, political contributions and even charitable largesse to charm or bully anyone demanding reform in their lending practices.


The Bush administration certainly didn't cover itself in glory either, for example issuing news releases in 2005 touting the introduction of "zero down-payment " mortgages through federal housing programs designed to encourage home ownership.


But the administration at least tried to warn Congress that the GSEs should be reined in. Gateway Pundit notes that President Bush publicly called for GSE reform 17 times this year before Congress finally passed a bill increasing oversight of Fannie and Freddie — though by then it was too late.


Indeed, the White House's list calls for GSE reform is a long one, stretching as far back as April 2001. At that time, the administration's first budget declared that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's growing dominance of the mortgage market was "a potential problem," because "financial trouble of a large GSE could cause strong repercussions in financial markets, affecting Federally insured entities and economic activity."


In 2003, after both Fannie and Freddie were found to have cooked their accounting books, then-Treasury Secretary John Snow urged Congress to "create a new Federal agency to regulate and supervise the financial activities of our housing-related government sponsored enterprises" and set prudent and appropriate capital requirements.


Two years later, Mr. Snow again called for GSE reform, noting that recent events "reinforce concerns over the systemic risks posed by the GSEs and further highlight the need for real GSE reform.... Half-measures will only exacerbate the risks to our financial system."


The response? Rep. Barney Frank, who now vilifies Republican House members for questioning a policy of throwing another $700 billion on the bonfire, insisted to the New York Times during the 2003 accounting scandal: "These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."


The tale of lost opportunities and thwarted reform is a long one. As a reporter who covered the savings and loan meltdown of the late 1980s, I wish I had paid more attention to the next impending disaster. I knew Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were bad-faith actors. I just didn't realize how much their recklessness would spread to other players in the financial markets and create the conditions for the current meltdown. But make no mistake. When the history of this debacle is written, Washington's failure to supervise and rein in Fannie and Freddie will be seen as the original sin.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

Comment on this column by clicking here.

ARCHIVES

© 2006, John H. Fund

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles