On Talk of the Nation (NPR) today, NYT's Gretchen Morgenson was a guest brought on to opine about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The first question is why?
Her paper is supposed to have very strict guidelines about what reporters can and cannot do. From the program, we now know her opinion on Freddie and Fannie and let's not pretend that it hasn't shaded her work for the paper. From the show:
ROBERTS: So you say in your piece imagining life without Fannie and Freddie, that the private market should operate the housing market to a certain extent?
Ms. MORGENSON: Well, as you know, this is the way it's operated in most parts of the world and, you know, quite successfully. We, of course, have been mightily spoiled in this country ever since Fannie Mae was created out of the Depression era of the '30s. We've been spoiled into believing that, you know, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is, you know, the thing that we all are entitled to.
And unfortunately, what has happened, as we all saw during the housing boom, is that these kinds of mortgages that were backed by - ultimately by the government in these government-sponsored enterprises really resulted in now hideous losses that the taxpayers have to have.I can remember a NYT reporter (now former) getting into trouble for offering her opinion of the Supreme Court in a campus speech. How the hell was it okay for Morgenson to opine on such an important issue when it's one she covers?
And, for the record, Gretch, the US didn't always have Fannie and Freddie. It had what sad-sacks like you want now. And that failed.
Freddie and Fannie failed due to predatory lending by banks. Stop trying to blame them. What the government should do is force the banks to pay off every one of those loans.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Tuesday: