God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay - listen now

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Don't Let Barney Frank Touch Your Dice

Wise words in any context, but especially when it comes to Fannie and Freddie. Here's some - hopefully more, and more well known - quotes from Democrats about the two government mortgage giants:
House Financial Services Committee hearing, Sept. 10, 2003

Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.): I worry, frankly, that there's a tension here. The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see. I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disaster scenarios. . . .

Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.), speaking to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez: Secretary Martinez, if it ain't broke, why do you want to fix it? Have the GSEs [government-sponsored enterprises] ever missed their housing goals?

House Financial Services Committee hearing, Sept. 25, 2003

Rep. Frank: I do think I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness that we have in OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] and OTS [Office of Thrift Supervision]. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing...

Senate Banking Committee, Oct. 16, 2003

Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.): And my worry is that we're using the recent safety and soundness concerns, particularly with Freddie, and with a poor regulator, as a straw man to curtail Fannie and Freddie's mission. And I don't think there is any doubt that there are some in the administration who don't believe in Fannie and Freddie altogether, say let the private sector do it. That would be sort of an ideological position.

Mr. Raines: But more importantly, banks are in a far more risky business than we are.
A Washington joke making the rounds in 2006: What's the difference between Enron and Fannie Mae? The guys at Enron have been convicted. More here.

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