Open Thread 9-6-2008

Save Me — Queen

The big story of the weekend seems to be the “conservatorship” of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The American taxpayer will now be liable to pay for all the losses on the toxic mortgages these two poorly-run entities insured.

From Calculated Risk:

Bloomberg: Paulson Plans to Bring Fannie, Freddie Under Government Control

WSJ: U.S. Near Deal on Fannie, Freddie

WaPo: U.S. Nears Rescue Plan For Fannie And Freddie

NY Times: U.S. Rescue Seen at Hand for 2 Mortgage Giants

LA Times: Fannie, Freddie takeover possible

This is the bottom line: Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and insured billions of dollars in toxic mortgages. The losses on these mortgages will end up exceeding the amount of money these companies have. If these companies were to go out of business, the entire secondary mortgage market would collapse, and our real estate markets will be in turmoil as transaction volume would plummet from its already anemic levels. The government believes it has to take over these companies in order to have a secondary mortgage market. A government takeover means the taxpayers of the United States just became liable for all the losses on the bad loans insured by these two companies. When you pay your taxes, you are now paying for a portion of all the bad mortgages given to speculators, flippers, fraudsters and the like.


It started off so well
They said we made a perfect pair
I clothed myself in your glory and your love
How I loved you,
How I cried…
The years of care and loyalty
Were nothing but a sham it seems
The years belie we lived a lie
I love you ’til I die
Save me, save me, save me
I can’t face this life alone
Save me, save me, save me…
I’m naked and I’m far from home

The slate will soon be clean
I’ll erase the memories
To start again with somebody new
Was it all wasted,
All that love?
I hang my head and I advertise
A soul for sale or rent
I have no heart I’m cold inside
I have no real intent
Save me, save me, save me
I can’t face this life alone
Save me, save me, ooooohhhhh…
I’m naked and I’m far from home

Each night I cry I still believe the lie
I’ll love you, ’till I die

Save me, save me, oh, save me
Don’t let me face my life alone
Save me, save me, ooh…
I’m naked and I’m far from home

Save Me — Queen

46 thoughts on “Open Thread 9-6-2008

  1. Henry

    Yes. We all know it is comming. But if they only inject money as capital, then we are on the hook for a few years. After that, the question comes whether the capital will ever leave.
    Think the whole thing again! We use all tax payers’ money to subsize 70% home owners. Is it fair?

  2. Henry

    Another question is whether it is efficient. Govt operated org with such a size and all the political agenda. Whose idea to create such a org in the first place? Canada, europe and other countries do not have it, their houses market are still all right.

    Strange enough: To make the financial market safe, it is critical to avoid any company or org too big to fail.

  3. Chris In Seattle

    Let’s not overreact. We’re just going to borrow the money anyway, so it’s not like it’s really coming out of our taxes.

    1. IrvineRenter

      Yes, and since government financing is a Ponzi Scheme similar to the bubble, it will just go on and on forever…

    2. Kirk

      Exactly. Tax and spend liberals would be taxing our balls off right now. Thank the Lord that we have Republicans in control who are sophisticated enough to borrow the money. I’ve heard that Paulson plans to introduce pay option treasuries. That should fix this whole situation.

      1. r€nato

        I know you are being facetious, but at least ‘tax-and-spend’ liberalism has the virtue of honesty. ‘Borrow-and-spend’ conservatism is much, much more expensive, but if you are the typical “Fuck you, I got mine” Republican, you don’t care because you are not going to be around to pick up the tab.

        Works the same way with global climate change denial… put off the issue long enough that you’ll be dead and someone else will have to pay the cost.

        1. Kirk

          What exactly is honest about liberals stealing my hard earned money? That they admit it? Wow, so I get robbed at gunpoint at the ATM and the gunman says, “I’m taking all your money.” At least he’s honest, right?

          We are not going to have to pay dime one in taxes for this free market operation. We’ll simply walk away since all our treasuries are non-recourse loans. Only the Republican Party is capable of making a sound business decision of this nature. Democrats are too busy “hoping” they can pay back the money. Screw them and screw our lenders. It’s their fault we got ourselves into this situation.

          1. eLCee (East Coast version)

            The wackiest comment I have heard in days: “Only the Republican Party is capable of making a sound business decision of this nature”–tell that to John McCain’s son or to Bush’s idiot brother or the fellas at Enron.

          2. Kirk

            SMEAR!!! SMEAR MERCHANT!!!

            The fact is that Andrew McCain resigned as director of Silver State Bank on July 26th, 2008.

            Silver State Bank was still in business on July 27th, 2008. It failed on September 5th, 2008. Quite the opposite of what you are implying, the bank failed AFTER the person holding it together, Andrew McCain, left. If Andy had stayed on that bank would be raking in billions of profits instead of floundering like a flounder in Newfloundland.

            Rest assured that John McCain has the same level of economic competence that his son does no matter what the drive-by commenters say.

          3. LC

            Taxes are not going away — you may have heard something about death and taxes. You might want to get something in return for your tax money — this is called the “evil socialism” that you read about. Otherwise, we can blow up the money in a desert — that is called “the Iraq War.”

          4. Kirk

            You should read your Bible. Taxes will be abolished on day one of the Second Coming. That is change we can believe in.

          5. scott

            But do those that get Raptured still have to pay their tax – no death & no taxes, what a deal…why didn’t I see that slogan at the RNC?

          6. eLCee (East Coast version)

            Kirk is a mindless drone, spouting precisely and exactly what all the other rightwingers are spouting. The Republicans have got exactly what they wanted from spineless dems (Pelosi and Reid) and then eviscerated them after using them. When things go wrong, the repubs blame the dems. Same story every four years for about the last twenty or so years. Funny part is that neither party seems to be able to exploit the housing mess this year. It’s toxic like social security in that anyone who acknowledges it gets blamed for it. I can’t figure if talking about the problem will solve it or make the housing mess even worse.

          7. A Minor Point

            tell that to John McCain’s son or to Bush’s idiot brother or the fellas at Enron.

            Or to Fanie Mae or Freddie Macc…er, oh that’s right, they’ve been run by DEMOCRAT insiders for the past fifteen years.


        2. Vito

          I think the “FUCK-YOU-IT’S-NOT-MY-MONEY-LIBERAL” is far more destructive. Case in point: Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba

          1. Kirk

            Well put. There’s no country in the world more liberal than North Korea.

            But, we also have problems at home with liberal welfare mothers expecting the government to inject capital into their households every time they make bad financial decisions. This just reinforces bad behavior and has to stop.

  4. Major Schadenfreude

    “You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie”, pretty much sums up my thoughts about the US government.

    1. Some Non-Partisan Guy

      You do realize that Fannie and Freddie have been run by DEMOCRAT insider appointees for the past fifteen years. And that the conservatives made multiple runs at those sleazy scumbags over the past five to ten years, only to be thwarted by DEMOCRATS.

      Just sayin’, you might want to check your facts before blaming BUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

  5. alan


    “Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and insured billions of dollars” should be ‘insured hundreds of billions”.

    Total losses to the US Treasury will easily pass 1/2 a trillion before this is over.

      1. Alan

        $5 trillion (and counting) …

        It’s ok, just look at Zimbabwe. Push up inflation a bit, and once we’ve got $10,000,000 bills in circulation in place of today’s $20’s, paying it off will be trivial. Republicans got a great plan, just please keep it secret so the foreigners go on buying our bonds.

  6. ochomehunter

    US Treassury will go BK, mark my words. With current FRE/FNM actions, US $ will plummet, US Treassury has no means to pay back the debt and
    mortgages will continue to go sour quarter after quarter as Alt-A resets, US taxpayers will be on the hook for all of this mess. The artificial lifeline to the market has gone, life support is no longer effective. God help LEH and others now. Shame on those who elected Bush Administration. Shame on FED and US Treassury. Go Republicans Go! Go vote again and relect Bush or McCain, same thing!

    The crooks at the Govt. level are again protecting the rich, the banks/brokers who have preffered shares of GSE’s, the same folks who caused this mess in the first place, and tab is being shoved up taxpayers poor guys, and wiping out common share investors, again guys who were trying to play along. I say do a complete wipeout, banks/brokers deserve the bigger kick.

    1. George8

      The US tax payers, especially ones who have been financially responsible, are screwed big time one way or another.

      Before the government takes over, all equity and assets should be marked to market. That means FRE and FNM stocks should go to zero, and all of their debts and mortgage portfolio be marked down to about 30-50 cents on a dollar.

    2. Chris

      Sure…and my AUD continues to go down against USD.

      Sure…and SP and Moody still rates USA as AAA or Aaa.

      Don’t bet against USA, buddy. Germany and Japan did and so did the Soviet.

  7. idrnkurmlkshk

    I have a question on the Housing Bill that passed a while back:

    Does anyone know of a link that explains, or breaks down the bill?

    Specifically, isn’t there a section that addresses how lenders who take back foreclosures must continue to pay HOA dues, and maintain the properties that they take over?

    I swear I read someone here post about this when people started discussing the implications with HOA’s now.

    Any links or insight would be appreciated!!

      1. idrnkurmlkshk

        That’s my problem. I need to see the pdf of the actual bill. Our HOA is trying to raise our dues because of a few foreclosures. I think this is completely b.s.

        I don’t believe the bill would allow the banks to avoid these fees. HOAs going up would only encourage the destruction of the housing market further.

        1. alan

          In my HOA, the board has the authority to raise dues as much as 20% each year without a vote of the members, anything over 20% requires a vote.

          Check your CC&R’s.

  8. granite

    I’ve been waiting for this analysis. With the easy money now gone will local housing come down to “true value”. In other words will Irvine prices come done below 50% of peak. In my opinion it has to and will likely overshoot to the downside, as IR predicted.

  9. jemy

    Is it just me, or doesn’t this whole fiasco have the flavor of Dick Cheney thinking it was a great idea to consult with Enron over why California was having an energy crisis? Do you remember that after he talked to them, he confidently stated that it was absolutely California’s fault b/c they didn’t “fully deregulate” the energy industry, and actually California was still “the most regulated” energy industry in the US (b/c that’s what Enron told him was the root of the problem).

    Oh, but wait, it actually was the foxes in the henhouse wasn’t it? Enron gaming the system? And FERC was supposed to be the last regulatory hail mary, and does anyone remember who (falsely) said FERC should do nothing?

    Sorry guys, looking at McCain’s advisors (and seriously, I can’t figure out WHAT he believes in as far as economic policy is concerned), I don’t have a lot of confidence he’s going to figure this mess out. If I had my druthers, I’d hire Frank Wolak and just do what he says. But since that’s not likely, I’m voting for Obama.

    On another note, anyone have any advice where I should park my down payment money so that it doesn’t get wiped out while I wait to buy a house?

    1. LC

      Ah, a trip down memory lane. The looting has come full circle, and now even Arnold may be recalled. I wonder if the Bushes will steal the furniture on the way out? I remember that Ari Fleischer accused the Clintons of doing that. It seems like the Clintons were small-time crooks, and the Bushes know how to think big. We are going to be paying for this bailout for a long time.

      I recommend that you work on your Canadian accent, eh?

  10. MalibuRenter

    If I was one of the people stuck with implementing the conservatorship, I certainly wouldn’t let the spread between treasuries and mortgage rates get much smaller. I would add on considerable guarantee fees. This would result in a similar spread between treasuries and MBS to what we have now. The important thing is collecting a lot of fees to help cover the losses on securities guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie.

    1. Chris

      The current spread is already high enough to prevent the housing price from stabilizing. It will probably shrink a bit but not by much.

      One thing is possible: Fed will probably drop the rate down another 1/2 pts to 1.5% since the commodity inflation threat has abated. The drop in interest rate will help lower the current 6+% mortgage rate as well as to help the economy (sort of). I think Benny Boy and his cohorts will probably heed this.

      Oh well, more loss for our savings/CDs/MMs.

  11. Lose_the_music_videos

    I used to enjoy this blog, but I’m sickened by the daily music videos that must be posted. Total shite.

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