Thursday, February 11, 2010
Fannie and Freddie: Budget Busters
It's looking increasingly like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are going to cost the US government much more than AIG. In its latest long-term budget outlook released in late January, the CBO projected that the AIG bailout would ultimately cost the Treasury $9 billion dollars. Indeed, the entire private financial industry bailout is ultimately expected to cost less than $30 billion; of the $99 billion that the CBO expects we will ultimately lose on TARP, half of the loss comes not from helping the "banksters", but from the Obama administration's decision to bail out the automakers. A further $20 billion will be spent on the Home Affordable Mortgage Program, aka the administration's mortgage modification plan.
By contrast, the nationalization of the Government Sponsored Entities is expected to cost the Federal government $64 billion between 2011 and 2020, on top of the $110 billion we've already spent. Fannie and Freddie have long defended themselves on the grounds that their underwriting standards weren't nearly as bad as those in the private sector. But they've certainly been better at socializing their losses; firms that controlled maybe half of the mortgage market will end up costing the taxpayer four times as much as the other troubled financial institutions....