Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fannie and Freddie Still Bleeding

The financial disaster isn't over yet.

The government-sponsored enterprises [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac], now in conservatorship, have already cost the government about $145 billion.

And there's no limit to how much more they can ask for for the next two years!

Fannie Mae lost $11.5 billion in the first quarter while Freddie Mac lost more than $6.7 billion. After posting those massive losses, they asked for a combined additional sum of nearly $20 billion in government assistance.

"Are they losing money as a matter of policy or are they losing it as bad judgment?" asks Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, who calls the Fannie and Freddie the elephant in the bailout room.

Baker and Fusion IQ's Barry Ritholtz are convinced the government is effectively sponsoring a backdoor bailout of the banks via the GSEs. "This is a conscious, willful decision," says Ritholtz, author of The Big Picture blog and Bailout Nation. "Fannie And Freddie act as a conduit for taking all this junk off the banks' balance sheets."

Banks made billions by creating, selling, and risk swapping trillions in bad mortgages, and now American taxpayers are on the hook for the worst of the losses, in addition to saving the bad banks with bailouts.

This is the greatest scam ever perpetrated.

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