Congress is considering legislation that would reform the entire financial system of the United States - except the now government controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
The purpose of this legislation is to prevent another financial meltdown. If so, why no new oversight for Fannie and Freddie? This Investors Business Daily editorial explains:
The panic of 2008 drove all private-sector investors from the secondary mortgage market. At present, only Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie Mae issue mortgage-backed securities. Thus far in 2010, Fannie has issued $91.5 billion in MBS, Freddie $65.7 billion and Ginnie $23.9 billion.
"The administration and the majority party never saw or admitted that the GSEs played any role in the cause of the financial crisis," said Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J. "If you don't see it as a cause, you don't see a need to fix it."
Key Democrats insist that the GSEs are not being overlooked.
"This is a favorite talking point of the right wing, that you can't have reform without Fannie and Freddie," said a spokesman for Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. "But they have not yet made a policy case why GSE reform needs to be part of regulatory reform."
Frank has said he wants to abolish Fannie and Freddie in their current form. His committee is holding hearings on government's future role in the housing market.
At a March hearing, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner suggested that GSEs needed reform, but that there was a strong case for "some form of guarantee by the government to help facilitate a stable housing finance market." No concrete plan was forthcoming, he said.
In fact, as several analysts have pointed out, Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie, and the FHA are all repeating the same mistakes that got us into this mess in the first place. And yet, because admitting they need reform would shift blame for the meltdown from evil, greedy bankers to stupid, conniving Democratic politicians, it appears that the government is thinking "in for a penny, in for a trillion dollars' when it comes to these now government owned mortgage lenders.
There's no secret that Fannie and Freddie are going to need another infusion of cash to stay afloat. It may be as little as $60 billion or as much as half a trillion dollars when all is said and done. But what is most needed is for Democrats to own up to their role in this disaster and that Fannie and Freddie be prevented from wasting more of the taxpayer's monies.