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  • CAP's Faulty Fannie/Freddie Facts

    The left is desperate to pin this financial crisis on the free market.  The left knows that if the American people knew the truth about how government intervention in the market caused this current credit crunch, their agenda would be dead for a generation. So what do they do? They make stuff up. Just look at the blatant falsehoods the Center for American Progress is peddling in this single item on Fannie and Freddie:

    CAP FALSEHOOD: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are private institutions that were set up by Congress.

    THE TRUTH: Fannie Mae was created as a government agency by FDR in 1938. LBJ partially privatized it in 1968. Freddie Mac was created as a government agency in 1970. It was partially privatized in 1989. At no time were either entities purely private institutions. Even after their quasi-privatization they continued to enjoy lower capital requirements than real private companies, guaranteed access to federal credit that real private companies did not have, and an industry-wide assumption that their debt was federally guaranteed. This allowed Fannie and Freddie to borrow at lower rates than real private companies.

    With these government advantages Fannie and Freddie created a massive mortgage financing duopoly. By 2003, Fannie and Freddie held just over 50% of all U.S. mortgage debt. Read that again: two government entities controlled over half of the entire residential real estate market. Fannie and Freddie did not attain this market share through business acumen. They won it by fiercely maintaining their government granted advantages.  Only the socialists at CAP could try and say Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “are private institutions” with a straight face.

    CAP FALSEHOOD: Their participation in the secondary market did not assist in the creation of the subprime market.

    THE TRUTH: Fannie and Freddie do not actually make any home loans at all. Their purported reason for existence is to create liquidity so that lenders can make more home loans. Lenders can not make loans of any kind, unless the get the capital they need by selling off other loans they already made. Every time Fannie and Freddie buy any loan or subprime security, they make it easier for lenders to make new loans. Countrywide Financial was an industry leader in issuing bad subprime loans. Fannie Mae was Countrywide’s biggest customer for mortgage securities. Every dollar of loans that Fannie and Freddie bought from unscrupulous lenders like Countrywide, is another dollar Countrywide can then lend out in bad subprime mortgages. Fannie and Freddie were absolutely essential to the creation and growth of the subprime market.

    CAP FALSEHOOD: Fannie and Freddie weren’t the biggest players in [the subprime market] and, most importantly, started this practice very late in the game. In fact, the subprime market had already started to go bad when they started their purchases.

    THE TRUTH: CAP is either ignorant or flat out lying here. Fannie and Freddie began purchasing subprime securities in 1995.  By 2003, the two were buying $81 billion in subprime securities a year. In 2004, they purchased $175 billion subprime securities — 44 % of the market. Read that again: At the height of the housing bubble Fannie and Freddie bought 44% of the entire subprime securities market. No entity bought more subprime securities than Fannie and Freddie. They were by far the biggest players in the subprime market, they started playing in the subprime market very early on in the housing bubble, and at the bubble’s peak they compromised almost half of the entire market.

    CAP FALSEHOOD: Fannie and Freddie were supposed to be more closely supervised than other lenders—with their own regulator, which was supposed to keep a special eye on them because they are important institutions. Those regulators, who were part of the Bush administration, failed along with the rest of the Bush regulatory apparatus to stop the problem.

    THE TRUTH: The Bush administration is plenty guilty in this mess. But the left and their allies in Congress are far more guilty. When real conservatives in Congress pushed for legislation to rein in Fannie and Freddie it was the left who carried Fannie and Freddie’s water. Witness:

    There is a clear and causal nexus between Fannie and Freddie’s massive intervention into the residential real estate market and the current credit crunch that was caused by a housing bubble. The left will probably get away with denying this link for a couple of months, but the American people are smart and the truth will catch up to them.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to CAP's Faulty Fannie/Freddie Facts

    1. Nancy Miller, Toledo says:

      I believe that the hole that the banks are in started much longer ago than anyone talks about. When the variable rate mortgage was offered, I was in the real estate business. It was a very bad idea then and obviously it has caught up with home owners. At that time each point that the mortgage rate went up it meant another $100 a month to the borrower.

      With all the increases from energy, taxes, cost of sending children to school, cost of automobiles, insurance costs, etc. that $100 just might be the reason that people no longer can pay for their homes.

      I wonder just how many of those mortgagers the banks sold.

    2. Pingback: Morning Bell: The Left’s Official News Service

    3. Robert Grant, San Jo says:

      But the question is, "Why shouldn't Fannie or Freddie be allowed to participate in the purchase of loans just as any other private lender (Fannie and Freddie are mostly private) should be?" As I understand it, sub-prime loans were never part of the government mandated CAP (Capital Access Program) system. Thus, the decision to participate in sub-prime was a private business decision. A bad one for sure, but not the fault of the government.

    4. Pingback: Morning Bell: The Left’s Official News Service | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

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