Posts Tagged ‘GSE Reform’
March 18th, 2014 at 1:23 pm
Crapo-Johnson Housing “Reform” Bill: More of the Same
Posted by Print

The Senate Banking Committee’s chairman and its ranking member – Senators Tim Johnson and Mike Crapo, respectively – released their version of housing finance reform on Sunday.  Unfortunately, their bill largely duplicates the problems already found in the proposed Corker-Warner legislation.  Both proposals – focusing on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two behemoth government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) – have been touted as a bastion of bipartisanship, but both fail miserably at upholding the rule of law or the rights of property owners.

Instead of proposing sensible free-market answers that could benefit taxpayers while adhering to rule of law, the legislation does neither.  Rather, it reinforces the Obama Administration’s big-government overreach that disrespects our legal system and the people it seeks to protect.  And by creating yet another new federal agency to regulate the mortgage market, Crapo-Johnson uses similar mechanisms that Corker-Warner does.  In so doing, it maintains the same market uncertainty that Corker-Warner does, without any guarantee for future investments into the government-backed agency.

Further, the proposal continues to disregard investors’ rights – the community banks, pension funds and individuals that supported Fannie and Freddie, before, during and after the bailout.  Under Crapo-Johnson, those investors remain left out in the cold, their savings and retirement in limbo.  Meanwhile, taxpayers would remain on the hook because the full faith and credit of the U.S. government would backstop the newly-created entity under Crapo-Johnson.

Since becoming profitable in 2012, Fannie and Freddie have not only made taxpayers whole, they’ve made the government billions of dollars following confiscation by the Treasury Department.  Instead of following the rule of law and marketplace standards, Crapo-Johnson would codify that illegal taking and perpetuate the federal government’s dangerous habit of undermining property rights and sowing uncertainty.  That’s not what our housing market, or our economy generally, need.

You can try to put lipstick on a pig, but you’re not fooling anyone:  Crapo-Johnson is more of the same.

October 31st, 2013 at 12:16 pm
GSE Reform Bills Fail to Sufficiently Protect Taxpayers and Private Investors

In an op-ed published yesterday on The Hill’s Congress Blog, CFIF Sr. Vice President Timothy Lee writes how legislation advancing in the House and Senate to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fail to sufficiently protect taxpayers and private investors.

Specifically, Lee focuses on the PATH Act, sponsored by Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) in the House, and the Housing Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013, sponsored by Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) in the Senate.  Not only could both pieces of legislation “end up putting taxpayers at even greater future risk,” Lee writes, but in addition:

[B]oth proposed bills fall terribly short in terms of protecting the rights of private investors in Fannie and Freddie, many of whom were actively encouraged by federal regulators to take their risk.  Not only would it be inherently unfair for the federal government to undercut their bargained-for investment rights, it would also send a terrible signal to future investors.  When even Ralph Nader laments that the federal government unfairly threatens to turn those private investors into “zombies,” the impropriety of the government’s proposed course becomes even more obvious.

Accordingly, if Congress seeks to eliminate both GSEs, then using something approximating the existing bankruptcy process would be a far better option for all involved.  Under that process, the government, taxpayers and creditors would be treated more fairly, and taxpayers would not be stuck with trillions in liability.   While not ideal, at least that would constitute an orderly and transparent process, one that more closely adhered to the rule of law on which our society is ostensibly based.

Lee concludes by warning, “unless and until the bills are significantly revised, American taxpayers and private market investors stand to lose.”

Read the entire piece here.