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Author: Subject: Freddie and Fannie Takeover

Zen Peach





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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 11:11 AM
Does anyone have any thoughts on the government takeover of Freddie and Fannie Mae?

I get nervous when the government takes over anything.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 11:32 AM
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-fannie8-2008sep08,0,3276692.story

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 11:40 AM
Listen here:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94223417

 

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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 11:40 AM
One more example of why things are messed up. Both CEO's were fired, but hit the door with a combined severance package of $24,000,000! We are ruled by a government that wants to punish achievement, but rewards failure.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 12:01 PM
quote:
One more example of why things are messed up. Both CEO's were fired, but hit the door with a combined severance package of $24,000,000! We are ruled by a government that wants to punish achievement, but rewards failure.


I think your last sentence sums up things very well.

Good link fujirich.....here is another interesting article:

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/dec/09/opinion/op-fraser9

 

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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 01:04 PM
A few random thoughts:

Executive Compensation - can't comment intelligently without knowing what their employment contracts says. You don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate and these guys clearly negotiated their contracts well.

Gov't Takeover - my personal belief is that the housing markets have further to fall and the sooner the better. This only delays that, perhaps temporarily, perhaps the next economic recovery puts it off for good.

Here's the thing...Freddie and Fannie are the primary sources of liquidity in the mortgage market. By buying mortgages and then holding or selling them, this liquidity does some very important things for consumers:

Banks don't hold the loans they originate. If they did, they would be concentrated geographically and therefore riskier. So, they would charge more.

Mortgage brokers/originators originate mortgages for banks and direct to the secondary market (F & F are considered part of the secondary market). By having both direct lenders and brokers offering mortgages, consumers get better terms and lower rates/fees.

I don't personally support this buyout, I don't think that should be the government's role, but I think the impact is clear - without it the housing and lending crisis gets more severe in the near term. In the longer view, it could soften the landing or delay it. If you are a homeowner or prospective buyer, this is good news for you.

 

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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 01:05 PM
The Gov'ment needs to stay out of it. They sure as hell aint bailin' my business out.
Bad decisions should be left at that...bad decisions..now there's another bad decision to add to the problem.....poor use of my tax dollars.
"Hey Congress, My gigs have really fallen off and I need about $100,000. to hire me some new musicians...how about sendin' me a check?"

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 01:06 PM
quote:
The Gov'ment needs to stay out of it. They sure as hell aint bailin' my business out.
Bad decisions should be left at that...bad decisions..now there's another bad decision to add to the problem.....poor use of my tax dollars.
"Hey Congress, My gigs have really fallen off and I need about $100,000. to hire me some new musicians...how about sendin' me a check?"



I'll start practicing real hard.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 03:05 PM
So far I think the gravity of this move is being very under-reported. This has very serious implications for the taxpayer, as well as speaking to the corruption of DC. In the very least this should be a shining example to everyone: when you let our government back something financially or take it over, no one cares about the costs.

This has been the playground of politicians for years; helping cronnies get cushy postions with giant bonuses, helping constituents in lower income ranges get mortgages they could never qualify for under normal circumstances, helping themselves to favorable loans, accepting fat campaign contributions, etc. All the while attempts at oversight were rebuffed by those same politicians, even while warning alarms were ringing.

Now that its on the verge of collapse, which would take much of the rest of our financial infrastructure with it (goodbye FDIC), we have no choice but to bail it out. Like so much of the credit crisis, the truth right now is that we don't know what this will cost the taxpayers. $50 billion? $200 billion? No one really knows.

The key will be to see if the federal government will do the right thing. That would be to break these giants into smaller portions, and sell them off to private companies as quickly as possible. Then, a clear notice must be sent out: "NO MORE BAILOUTS!" No matter what the company or industry, we can not have private profits but socialized loses. The market must work in both directions in order to get back the health.

This should be a clear sign of policy direction in the presidential campaigns. Whomever adhears to something like the above is being fiscally responsible. If they want to keep government involvement with these market functions, then watch out - it's your money they want to bet with.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 03:21 PM
quote:
The Gov'ment needs to stay out of it. They sure as hell aint bailin' my business out.
Bad decisions should be left at that...bad decisions..now there's another bad decision to add to the problem.....poor use of my tax dollars.
"Hey Congress, My gigs have really fallen off and I need about $100,000. to hire me some new musicians...how about sendin' me a check?"



One of the few times Ill ever agree with you.... I dont believe the government needs to bail anyone out. People make their own mistakes and like you said, poor use of tax dollars. That said, so much real estate finances are tied up in Freddie/Fannie that to not bail them out, as I understand it, would be disasterous for the entire housing market.

Bhawk is well versed in all this. Maybe he will swing by and comment.

 

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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 05:41 PM
We're also reaping the rewards of bad Federal Reserve policy that artificially lowers rates and increases money supply, on top of the Federal Government putting pressure on the mortgage industry to "stop discriminating" against certain lower income people and to stop keeping people from "realizing the American dream."

This may help the market in the short term but this is no good development. As if the Federal Government wasn't big enough with enough power and influence on our lives already....

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 06:08 PM
http://www.foreclosuredataonline.com/blog/foreclosure-crisis/the-subprime-m ortgage-crisis-how-did-it-all-start/


An enlightening overview of the situation. I find it interesting that the people are losing their homes (and granted, they shouldn't have bought something they coudln't afford) and the people who invested in Fannie and Freddie in common stock are out of luck while in the meantime, everyone else makes out like a bandit with tax payer money.

I know it might be necessary, but there were a number of warnings about animpending crisis that might have changed the outcome had they been heeded. Now, the taxpayers are stuck paying for everyone else's greed.

 

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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 08:38 PM
Palin is *ucking lost on this issue... unreal.


http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/a-confusing-com.html

quote:
A Confusing Comment on Fannie & Freddie From Gov. Sarah Palin

September 08, 2008 2:56 PM

Saturday in Colorado Springs, Colo., Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said, "The fact is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers. The McCain-Palin administration will make them smaller and smarter and more effective for homeowners who need help."

"Too expensive to the taxpayers?"

They're private entities.

Though they're private entities ultimately backed up by the taxpayers.

But the only way Fannie and Freddie are "too expensive to the taxpayers" is if you're talking about the bailout announced over the weekend.

Is that what she meant?

So, does "too expensive" mean that Palin opposes the bailout?

Or did she misstate how these entities function?

I asked the McCain-Palin campaign for an explanation.

Its response was to send an e-mail from domestic policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin:

&#8220;John McCain supports the steps needed to keep the financial troubles at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from further squeezing American families, and endorses the idea that management and shareholders should not benefit from government backing," Holz-Eakin said. "While details are not yet available, the actions taken today are consistent with those objectives. Fannie and Freddie have been the poster children for a lack of transparency and accountability, and remind us of the needed reforms to financial markets in general. We need to create jobs and get the economy going &#8212; and get way from the practice of sticking Main Street Americans with these bills. If elected, John McCain will continue his crusade for the right reform of the institutions. Sen. McCain will get real regulation that limits their ability to borrow, shrinks their size until they are no longer a threat to our economy, and privatizes and eliminates their links to the government.&#8221;

Right.

That doesn't really answer my question.

A McCain aide e-mails on background that Fannie and Freddie "have $5 trillion in exposure. They either own or insure this much in loans, as such, they are too big a part of the economy to be allowed to fail. Their failure would pose a systemic risk to the economy, which is why treasury is stepping in, and has committed billions in taxpayers to keep them afloat. They are too big, and now, too expensive."

So -- according to this aide, speaking on background -- Palin meant they are CURRENTLY too expensive, though presumably she supports the Bush administration's bailout.

What do you think? You buy that explanation?

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/8/2008 at 11:18 PM
Candidates on the bailout:

http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/08/news/economy/easton_freddie_fannie.fortune/ index.htm?source=yahoo_quote

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 9/9/2008 at 12:10 AM
quote:
Palin is *ucking lost on this issue... unreal.

Is there any limit to what you'll post as criticsm of Palin? Do you understand the ramifications of this takeover?

Her statemment is not incorrect. The taxpayers were already on the hook due to the first action taken to prop up Fannie and Freddie a month or more ago. Remember those? The Feds put in place some guarantees in the hopes that those would be enough to inspire private investors to keep money flowing into Fannie and Freddie. Just to be clear: federal guarantees = our tax money at risk. And once that happens, the one guarantee you can safely bet on is that they will use our money.

That plan didn't work. Private investors have remained reticent to put their money into Fannie and Freddie, thus the move this weekend to take them over and restructure. What were gurantees have turned into full ownership of something that private investors have been wary of and stopped investing in. So we now have a condition where, at the best, Fannie and Freddie's holdings will be broken up and sold to private companies - at a loss. At this point, no one knows how much loss. Our tax dollars will fund that loss.

It should have never come to this point, and this outcome is a last desperate move to keep the US credit markets from completely falling apart. Had the feds not done this, the volume of defaulting loans would take down many of the nation's biggest financial institutions. As they failed, depositers would want their money, creating a classic "run" on these banks. That would cause the FDIC to fail, because there is no way they have enough money to ensure all those deposits.

If all these things were allowed to occur, the signals to the world financial structure would be devastating. The US treasury would be seen as unable to keep it's commitments. Foreign credit would disappear. Who knows what that would mean for the value of the dollar, but it wouldn't be good. We're talking a financial avalanche that would have serious, worldwide implications.



This bloger obviously forgot about the guarantees that had been tried some weeks ago, already committing taxpayer monies. Palin did not mis-speak. In fact, these should have never been allowed to be connected with the Federal government to begin with.

By the way; one of the organizations who pressured politicians to lower the standards for Fannie and Freddie lending was none other than Acorn - Obama's old employer. So now we know at least one little part of what a community organizer does.



[Edited on 9/9/2008 by Fujirich]

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/9/2008 at 12:40 AM
Another nice post, Rich. I always wondered why these two were publicly traded in the first place. Much less what the government was doing in the real estate business. I'm sure you noticed today that the market had a big rally, but these two stocks got hammered.

 

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  posted on 9/9/2008 at 01:53 AM
The stocks got hammered because there's great uncertainty about how the common stock issues are going to be treated. Indications are that those with common issues are going to be hit with losses that the government won't back up, preferred shares will probably do better, and international investors (China, Japan, etc) will not suffer losses.

So along with whatever taxpayer absorbed losses there will eventually be, the common stock holders are gonna get hit. Which they should in most normal cases. But this is far from normal, as everyone always took assurance that the US treasury would back up all problems. No one ever saw the potential problems becoming as vast as they have.

So you have what were quasi-private companies, backed by government assurances, but far too open to political manipulation. Politicans, who rarely exert financial discipline (especially those in DC), used these companies to further a variety of political aims while at the same time turning a deaf ear to years of calls for investigation and cleanup. Like the investors, they all just thought; screw it, the treasury will back up any problems.

This isn't terribly different from management at a private company cooking the books, leading investors down a rosey path to get their money, and finally getting caught when it falls apart. Except in this case, the credit and faith of the US treasury is involved, plus the solvency of so much of the country's financial infrastructure. There was no choice but to step in. Do you think that any members of congress will be prosecuted because of their actions or inactions in regard to this? If it were a private company, that would surely happen. Not a chance here. And to think that some believe that corporations and CEO's can do more harm than the government - ha!

There's an interesting side story I read concerning those private investors and their options in all of this. Seems like there may be some potential for legal action by them against the feds because of this takeover and what its done to their investments. I won't pretend to understand it at present without further research, but its another angle that has to be considered in all this.

But what happens if housing values continue to weaken, defaulting mortgage rates rise significantly, and the fed boys don't act quickly enough to sell off these assets? A worst case scenario is that this drags the federal government to insolvency. We've tied the credit and faith of the US treasury to the condtions of the housing market. That should be a scary thought for everyone.

 

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  posted on 9/9/2008 at 08:56 AM
Good posts Rich.

 

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  posted on 9/9/2008 at 08:59 AM
yes... very good posts Rich..

 

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  posted on 9/9/2008 at 09:15 AM
I'm still amazed by how little explanation seems to be included in the general media about what's going on here. And overall, how underplayed this story is in the headlines. I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist, but it feels like a concerted effort is being applied to keep the public in the dark about just how serious this is.

I'm sure there will be some in-depth analysis that starts to come out in the coming weeks, but right now its not "front and center", as you'd expect something this serious to be.

Aww heck; it only brings with it the potential for a country-wide, if not worldwide financial collapse, with the best possible outcome being that the US taxpayers will be on the hook for probably hundreds of billions. But its being treated like just another Washington "whoopsie".

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/9/2008 at 09:40 AM
quote:
Is there any limit to what you'll post as criticsm of Palin? Do you understand the ramifications of this takeover?


Yes, I do. You also laid it out quite well here. The problem is that neither Palin nor McCain echo your statements with regards to previous bail out efforts. Either its not to the degree that you or they think or they dont understand the issue. Given McCain has admitted he knows little about the economy, Im not surprised.

quote:
Her statemment is not incorrect. The taxpayers were already on the hook due to the first action taken to prop up Fannie and Freddie a month or more ago. Remember those? The Feds put in place some guarantees in the hopes that those would be enough to inspire private investors to keep money flowing into Fannie and Freddie. Just to be clear: federal guarantees = our tax money at risk. And once that happens, the one guarantee you can safely bet on is that they will use our money.


Of course. Just like they are using our money to bail out individuals that got ARMs and cant afford to make the payments now.

quote:
By the way; one of the organizations who pressured politicians to lower the standards for Fannie and Freddie lending was none other than Acorn - Obama's old employer. So now we know at least one little part of what a community organizer does.

[Edited on 9/9/2008 by Fujirich]


So, theres a myriad of reasons why Palins statement isnt correct, but we have to drag Obama into it because of a company he USED to work for lobbied the government to lower lending standards? If Im not mistaken, dont the individual lenders bear some responsibility for the decisions they make?

 

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  posted on 9/9/2008 at 09:53 AM
quote:
I'm still amazed by how little explanation seems to be included in the general media about what's going on here. And overall, how underplayed this story is in the headlines. I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist, but it feels like a concerted effort is being applied to keep the public in the dark about just how serious this is.



I have a ton more feedback to add to this thread, but I've got one killer workday...dratted work getting in the way...

I will say this. This story is underplayed. Waaaay underplayed. However, few things say "boring" to the general public than financial news, no matter how much it might affect anyone's life.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/9/2008 at 11:22 AM
quote:
I'm still amazed by how little explanation seems to be included in the general media about what's going on here. And overall, how underplayed this story is in the headlines. I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist, but it feels like a concerted effort is being applied to keep the public in the dark about just how serious this is.

I'm sure there will be some in-depth analysis that starts to come out in the coming weeks, but right now its not "front and center", as you'd expect something this serious to be.

Aww heck; it only brings with it the potential for a country-wide, if not worldwide financial collapse, with the best possible outcome being that the US taxpayers will be on the hook for probably hundreds of billions. But its being treated like just another Washington "whoopsie".



The lack of coverage concerns me also. When the people aren't being told what's going on, it makes me wonder what's being hidden. I'm going to throw something else out here that's been a question I've not yet been able to answer.....who, exactly, is the money source behind the Federal Reserve? I was totally surprised several years ago to discover itis not our Federal government.

 

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  posted on 9/9/2008 at 11:53 AM
CNBC has been talking about it quite a bit, but only from the market angle, not the potential financial crisis it has contributed to. I found some interesting stories on the net.

Here is one take on the situation from Peter Schiff, a guy I've seen on the TV financial shows. I even bought his book. He is quite a pessimisitc individual, but perhaps rightfully so.

quote:
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the man who said that subprime was contained and that the Bazooka in his pocket would never be used, now assures us that the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be costless to taxpayers. Despite the near euphoria that the plan has sparked on Wall Street, the move will go down in history as the biggest policy blunder of all time, and will be credited as a pivotal point in the financial collapse of the American economy. The ultimate cost to Unites States citizens will be in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars, perhaps more.

The original idea that gave birth to Freddie and Fannie, which is to make housing more affordable to average Americans, should now be seen as farcical. Their new goal is to keep housing prices high. Absent Freddie and Fannie, housing prices would fall sharply and the mortgage market would stabilize. Americans would once again be able to buy affordable houses with mortgages they could actually repay –just like their grandparents did. Instead they will keep overpaying for houses, burdening themselves with excessive payments in the process, and ultimately sticking taxpayers with the bills when they default.

In contrast to Paulson’s continuous misreading of the market, I have consistently predicted the failure of Freddie and Fannie. I did so in my book Crash Proof, and in numerous speeches, commentaries and television appearances. I also was quick to point out that Paulson’s Bazooka would not remain holstered for long.

There is absolutely no substance to Paulson’s insistence that based on the government’s first claim on the future profits of Fannie and Freddie, the plan offers protection for taxpayers. There will be no future profits, just more heavy losses. Americans will now have unlimited ability to continue to overpay for houses and commit to mortgages they can’t afford. In fact, the plan insures that eventual public sector losses will vastly exceed those that would have befallen the private sector in a free-market resolution.

Paulson claims that his goal is to stabilize the mortgage market. But the best way to do so would be to allow housing prices to fall to a market clearing level. As long as home prices remain artificially high, the risks of mortgage lending will keep credit tight, and the high costs of mortgage payments will keep potential buyers on the side-lines. With private lenders justly cautious, the government intends to hold open the lending spigots, without the pesky concerns over losses or financial risk. The hope is that the new lending will prevent home prices from falling further. It won’t work. The government “solution” will simply delay the fall of artificially high home valuations and temporarily preserve the illusion of prosperity.

In order to preserve current home prices, the government will be forced to maintain the lax lending standards that got us into this mess in the first place. Since all the losses will now be borne by taxpayers, those lax standards will be much more problematic. The moral hazard that existed prior to this bailout has become that much more hazardous. Every mortgage now insured by Fannie and Freddie is the equivalent of a U.S. Treasury bond. This allows anyone to borrow on the full faith and credit of the U.S. government so long has the money is used to buy a house. In addition, mortgage lending will now be a government function, run with Post Office-like efficiency.

Of course the biggest collateral damage caused by Paulson’s bazooka is the large hole ripped through the already tattered U.S. Constitution. If the government can do this, does anyone believe there is anything it can not do? In effect the Federal government now has absolute power to corrupt absolutely.

For a more in depth analysis of our financial problems and the inherent dangers they pose for the U.S. economy and U.S. dollar denominated investments, read my new book “Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse.”

http://www.europac.net/externalframeset.asp?from=home&id=13922



And another where Peter was interviewed for the story in the SF Chronicle.

quote:
Like profligate cousins you can't bear to see penniless, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are getting a bailout from their good old Uncle Sam - the same deep-pocketed fellow who already rode to the rescue of Bear Stearns and depositors at IndyMac.

Now that the government has established a precedent for outright rescues of tottering financial titans, where else might it need to intervene? The potential trouble spots are wide-ranging and, well, troublesome.

There is also the question of just what will happen long-term with Fannie and Freddie.

"They're presenting this as fairly temporary, but once you've jumped on the back of the tiger, how do you climb off?" said Kurt Eggert, a law professor at Chapman University in Orange and a former member of the Fed's Consumer Advisory Council.

It's unlikely that every one of these situations would reach crisis level, but observers said they expect some of these issues to rear their heads in coming months:

Housing still deteriorates
Nobody says the Fannie/Freddie bailout is a panacea that will miraculously halt the free fall in real estate values.

"This bailout doesn't address the fundamental problem that housing prices have dropped significantly, and many people are in mortgages whose value is greater than the value of their house," said Sam Alberts, financial restructuring partner at White & Case, a Washington, D.C., law firm. "The market is still very saturated with properties (for sale). I don't think we're out of the woods yet."

In fact, some observers say the housing crisis could get worse if the government continues Fannie and Freddie's current lending policies. While the entities tout their strict underwriting guidelines, which include requiring full documentation of income, "you can still buy a house with only 3 percent down," said Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital in Darien, Conn. "That's tantamount to nothing down" and creates a breeding ground for more foreclosures down the road.

What tools are left in the government's arsenal? Precious few.

Just weeks ago, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson asked Congress for the right to use taxpayer funds to shore up the two entities but said the pledge alone would be enough.

"When it was obvious it was a giant disaster, he went to Congress and said, 'Give me this giant bazooka I'll never have to use,' " Schiff said. "Well now he's already emptied the cartridge; there's no more ammunition."

Pension funds need aid
Both public and private pension funds have extensive holdings in the stock market, hedge funds and other battered sectors, including, of course, Fannie and Freddie themselves, whose shareholders are now effectively wiped out.

"When (pension funds) do their reporting for next year, I think they will look much worse," said Dean Baker, director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. The government already has a backstop for pension funds that get into trouble: the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp., which is funded by insurance premiums from funds, assets of funds it takes over and investment income.

However, if enough funds, or big-enough funds, go belly up, Baker could foresee the guarantee corporation having to go to Congress, hat in hand, to request more money.

Moreover, the agency's limits mean that many pensioners won't end up with the benefits they were counting on. "High-end workers like pilots with six-figured pensions get badly nailed if they're over the top of the guarantee" offered by the agency, Baker said. "Early retirees like auto industry workers who started at age 18 and are out after 30 years would collect their pension at a much lower rate."

Major banks fail
Failures at small banks continue to trickle through the system, at perhaps once a week. IndyMac was the biggest bank to date to go belly up - but nobody thinks it will be the last.

"It certainly is in the realm of possibility" that another major bank will fail, Eggert said. "Not just through its own direct mortgage exposure but indirectly through investments and securities (backed by home loans). I won't name names, but there are certainly plenty of whispers."

Automakers need cash
Faced with slumping sales, General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC want $50 billion in low-cost U.S. government loans. While they say this is not a bailout, the three are expected to use the Fannie/Freddie intervention as an argument that they, too, deserve government assistance.

Foreign investors pull out
The United States relies on immense capital infusions from overseas investors. If those investors lose confidence in putting money here, the economy could be devastated.

"All hell would break loose," Eggert said. "It would have a disastrous impact."

He hastened to add: "I'm not arguing this is going to happen, but this is the risk. It's why Treasury felt they had to step in now; they're trying to calm the markets and convince investors the U.S. will fix things."

Schiff does think this doomsday scenario could happen.

"The government wants to maintain the illusion the world will support America forever," he said. "The world will figure it out. They'll flee. No one will want to buy our Treasurys; no one will want our debt. What good is a U.S. government guarantee when it's U.S. dollars? It's not gold bullion; it's just something you can run off a printing press. It will be just like Zimbabwe - hyperinflation and a collapsed economy."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/09/08/BUOB12Q9MV.DTL




Here is one from a month ago that foresaw this coming after legislation went through Congress earlier this summer.

http://www.napavalleyregister.com/articles/2008/08/06/opinion/commentary/do c48992a31b9fe5852633599.txt



 

Ultimate Peach



Karma:
Posts: 3636
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Registered: 5/1/2002
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  posted on 9/9/2008 at 12:00 PM
Rich I'm surprised at the coverage too. I'm in the commercial finance business and at an industry trade meeting last night I came away with the distinct impression that lenders' balance sheets are under tremendous pressure that is going to be reflected in less credit available to borrowers and what is available will be much more expensive to justify the capital allocation.

I think there are many financial institutions on shaky ground, the housing market has room to fall, job numbers stink and we have potentially higher gas/heating oil prices coming in the winter. It seems like we're on the precipice of even worse economic issues.

 

____________________
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