The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, July 21, 2008
Dems Hold Freddie/Fannie for Ransom
Read the whole thing.
You'll love this one. In the strange accountability of Washington, the same folks who put taxpayers on the hook for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now demanding ransom to let taxpayers bail them out. It's as if Andy Fastow insisted that Enron shareholders pay his fines after his fraud cost them their life savings.
"I don't know how in good conscience you come up here and ask me to give unlimited lines of credit" to Treasury for Fannie and Freddie without giving Democrats something in return, Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.) told the Journal last week. Come again? This is the same Chris Dodd who long resisted tougher regulation while more recently handing Fan and Fred even more room to expand their risk-taking.
In any other business, Mr. Dodd would be begging forgiveness. But in Washington he now wants the Bush Administration to bow to his political wishes in return for protecting the financial system from the risks that Mr. Dodd long claimed Fan and Fred didn't pose. His demands include nearly $4 billion in Community Development Block Grants that are a payoff to liberal interest groups. He also wants an "affordable housing trust fund" for more such largesse that could take as much as a $1 billion a year out of Fan and Fred even as they struggle to stay solvent.
Meanwhile, another leading cause of this fiasco, House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, has his own demands. He wants to increase the size of the loans Fannie and Freddie can purchase and package as mortgage-backed securities (MBSs), which would allow them to grow market share. Earlier this year he pushed for, and got, a temporary increase in the so-called conforming loan limit to $729,250, allowing Fan and Fred to buy and securitize jumbo loans. Now he wants to make that increase permanent.