Magazine October 20, 2008, Issue

The Road to Financial Hell

Fannie Mae headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
We’re only at the beginning

Until very recently, an economist who wrote an op-ed about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would get only yawns for his trouble — typically from editors saying, No thanks. But in mid-September, economist Kevin Hassett (an NR contributor) got 1,500 e-mails, most of them nasty, in response to his Bloomberg News column on the subject.

Hassett wrote that these “government-sponsored enterprises,” to use the term of art, are at the heart of the financial crisis. “The economic history books will de­scribe this episode in simple and understandable terms: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exploded, and many bystanders were injured in the …

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

In This Issue


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Film & TV

Burn before Watching

If you’re the sort of filmgoer who thinks of the Coen brothers as American cinema’s most nihilistic, misanthropic double threat, you’ll find vindication aplenty in Burn after ...



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