Economics

Putting the "Government" in Government Sponsored Entities

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You bailed it out, you own it:

Despite assurances that the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be temporary, the giant mortgage companies will most likely never fully return to private hands, lawmakers and company executives are beginning to quietly acknowledge. […]

In the last six weeks alone, the Obama administration has essentially transformed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into arms of the federal government. Regulators have ordered the companies to oversee a vast new mortgage modification program, to buy greater numbers of loans, to refinance millions of at-risk homeowners and to loosen internal policies so they can work with more questionable borrowers.

Lawmakers have given the companies access to as much as $400 billion in taxpayer dollars, a sum more than twice as large as the pledges to Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, General Motors, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley combined. […]

On Monday, Freddie Mac's chief executive, David M. Moffett, unexpectedly resigned less than six months after he was recruited by regulators, having chafed at low pay and the burdens of second-guessing by government officials, according to people with knowledge of the situation. […]

Last week, Fannie Mae announced that it lost $58.7 billion in 2008, more than all its net profits since 1992. Freddie Mac is also expected to reveal record losses in coming days. […]

One reason that Fannie and Freddie will never return to their earlier forms is simple mathematics: to become independent, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must repay the taxpayer dollars invested in the companies, plus interest. Even if the firms achieve profitability, it could take them as long as 100 years — or longer — to pay back the government. And almost no one expects the companies to return to profitability anytime soon.

Reason on Fannie and Freddie here.