A series of high-level meetings between Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and the chief executives of Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), along with the companies’ new regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency took place today.
Rumors of the meetings had obviously leaked out earlier in the day, as the Financials and Homebuilders ramped up into the afternoon. Beazer Homes gained +8%, and Lennar popped 8.5%, despite the 4 million plus homes in inventory.
The announcement is more likely to be modest — $35-50 Billion dollars — but that is a mere bandaid. Once the initial bolt is shot, it will be back to the well, over and over again. $5 to 6 Trillion move back on to Uncle Sam’s balance sheet, plus whatever losses that accrued from buying the bum mortgages — figure a few $100 billion. (Hey, it must be nice to be Pimco!)
As to the crappy derivatives that Phony and Fraudy bought when they thought of themselves as giant hedge funds — the first person in government that suggests taxpayer money be used to cover those losses, I will personally feed into a wood chipper . . . Feet first . . . Slowly.
Bloomberg reported some of the rumored details:
"The Treasury Department is close to finalizing a plan to help shore up
mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to people
familiar with the matter.
Precise details of Treasury’s plan couldn’t be learned. The plan is
expected to involve a creative use of Treasury’s new authority to make
a capital injection into the beleaguered giants.
The plan includes changes to senior management at both companies,
according to a person familiar with the plans.
An announcement could come as early as this weekend.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson met with regulators and executives of
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac today amid speculation the Bush
administration is near completing a plan for an injection of government
funds in the companies.
Paulson gathered with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, Fannie
Mae Chief Executive Officer Daniel Mudd, Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron
and Federal Housing Finance Agency director James Lockhart in
Washington. Mudd and his aides have also been meeting at the FHFA,
which oversees the two firms, with catered food scheduled for delivery
at the agency through the weekend."
I suspect this will be another hugely expensive and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to bailout our prior irresponsible profligacy. Ultimately, we pay for this through 1) the massive printing of more dollars; 2) some corresponding form of hyper inflation; and 3) the kindness of not strangers but our overseas overlords.
That’s right — we have no money for rebuilding our infrastructure, for any form of National Heath Care, for fixing/saving social security, but a bunch of rogue traders and Alan Greenspan, under the guise of "Deregulation" can leverage up and lose trillions, which you the taxpayer is on the hook for!
Free market my arse!
Here are your weekend questions:
How much is this going to cost the taxpayer?
Is this anything more than a temporary band aid?
Does this do anything for the Housing Market? For other Financials?
What is the political fall out from this?
What say ye?
U.S. Near Deal on Fannie, Freddie
Options Include Injecting Capital in Mortgage Giants; Management Shakeup Coming
By DEBORAH SOLOMON and DAMIAN PALETTA
WSJ, September 6, 2008
Paulson Meets With Bernanke, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Chiefs
By John Brinsley and Dawn Kopecki
Bloomberg, Sept. 5 2008