A tale of Fannie, Freddie and failure

Book Review: 'Guaranteed to Fail'

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I love a double entendre. The team of authors who wrote "Guaranteed to Fail: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Debacle of Mortgage Finance" apparently do, too. The book’s title is not only descriptive, but a pithy primer for those who are unclear on the nature of the debacle to which it refers.

The federal government has now spent over $150 billion in taxpayer funds — and counting — to bailout these agencies. Those guarantees, the authors argue, do nothing to prevent the inevitable failure of both entities.

Funny enough, the way Fannie and Freddie got in trouble in the first place was by guaranteeing billions in subprime loans that were also set up from the beginning for failure, resulting in them collectively holding a bag full of over 150,000 foreclosed homes.

Fannie and Freddie are, or I should probably say were Government Sponsored Enterprises: privately owned companies created by Congress to further the ultimate aim of making homeownership more affordable and available to a wider group of Americans than it would otherwise have been.