This phrase “carefully designed” popped up again and again throughout the conference, as one speaker after another denounced Fannie and Freddie in the strongest terms, only to follow this condemnation with a solemn warning that the government must not let the GSEs’ irresponsible behavior give a bad name to the service they were designed to provide, namely, a subsidy for moderate-to-low-income homebuyers made possible by the implicit government backing the GSEs enjoyed. Speaker after speaker stressed that some more “carefully designed” government program must take the place of the GSEs in providing this subsidy — as if the government planners behind Fannie and Freddie had set out to create a sloppily designed mortgage subsidy.
Only a few participants in the conference had the temerity to note that the design flaw is intrinsic to the subsidy. AEI’s Alex Pollock was chosen to be the token conservative on a panel of industry special-pleaders such as PIMCO’s Bill Gross and liberal activists such as the Urban League’s Marc Morial. Pollock, to his credit, gave as good as he got. Pollock’s three-step plan for the future of housing finance? 1) Counter-cyclical lending standards, which would actually work to tighten credit risks as speculative bubbles started to form. 2) The reprivatization of mortgage securitization. Contrary to the claims of Bill Gross, the mortgage-bond trader who claimed that private investors would not step in to replace the GSEs in the secondary mortgage market, Pollock noted that the private sector was heavily involved in this market before the financial crisis and would probably return if there was money to be made. That means 3) No more GSEs.
Pollock found few takers for his plan, which was odd considering how many conference participants were eager to declare the GSEs already dead. Later, during one of the breakout sessions, it became clear that, while these specific GSEs are dead, the idea of government-guaranteed mortgage lending is going to be with us for a long time. Numerous participants from the private sector and academia voiced support for some sort of combined mega-GSE that would concentrate the government’s mortgage activities into one entity. The classic Washington game of reshuffling the bureaucracies has not worn out its usefulness as a solution for keeping useless agencies alive.
In written testimony sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, a third named witness has rejected the allegations made by Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser. Having been asked by a Senate staffer to comment on the charges advanced against the nominee, a lawyer for Leland Ingham Keyser wrote: Under 18 U.S.C § 1001, ... Read More
Judge Kavanaugh labels The New Yorker’s report a "smear, plain and simple." He should be applauded for his restraint. I am struggling to remember reading a less responsible piece of “journalism” in a major outlet. The piece starts out not with a summary of the story, but with the news that Democrats in ... Read More
Judge Brett Kavanaugh plans to provide the Senate Judiciary Committee his calendar from 1982, which supports his claim to have never attended a party like the one Christine Blasey Ford described, the New York Times reported Sunday. While it does not disprove Ford's allegations, the calendar indicates that ... Read More
A friend of the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault has denied that she was at the party where the alleged assault occurred. The Senate Judiciary Committee reached out to Leland Ingham Keyser, a friend of Christine Blasey Ford. Ford claims Kavanaugh pinned her to a ... Read More
The cynics — or, perhaps more precisely, the realists — believed that the Democrats were playing for time in the hopes of finding another accusation against Brett Kavanaugh. The cynics were right. The New Yorker stooped to publish a shoddy story alleging that Kavanaugh exposed himself to a woman while he ... Read More
President Trump was supportive of his nominee to the Supreme Court during a radio interview set to be broadcast on Monday morning, in which he characterized Brett Kavanaugh as a “fantastic, fantastic man” and called into question allegations of sexual assault. In the interview — recorded on Sunday, ... Read More