Senate Committee Approves Fannie/Freddie Phaseout, But Bill Keeps Government Role

Johnson, CrapoEveryone in Washington favors “reform.” Unfortunately, the term can be highly deceptive. Such is the case of the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014 (S.1217), a bill that would abolish troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in favor of a federally-backed private insurance system. Last Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee approved the measure by a 13-9 vote. Yet the bill, sponsored by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho (in photos), may never reach the Senate floor – and not undeservedly. For the real problem with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which now are profitable and have more than repaid their federal bailout debt, is not their existence; it is their subjection to tight federal control. The “new” system would retain and even expand this control, while not restoring the rights of shareholders left high and dry.

National Legal and Policy Center several times …

Obama Mortgage Borrower Bailout Prevents Foreclosures, Slows Recovery

housing chartThe mortgage foreclosure crisis in this country may have been superseded by events in Japan, Libya and elsewhere for now, but in its own way it’s taking a heavy toll. And it’s likely to get worse, given the context of evidence that an Obama-initiated homeowner subsidy program to stem the tide isn’t working and of a new federal agency poised to extract $20 billion from lenders on behalf of heavily delinquent borrowers. The agency, known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), was created by the mostly-misguided Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation signed by President Obama last July. And it’s headed by Harvard law professor-turned-populist zealot Elizabeth Warren, who appears to be making it her personal mission to shake down banks on behalf of borrowers. By all accounts, she has the full weight of the administration behind her. 

The housing market will take a while before it fully recovers from the …

House Passes Financial Services Bill; Mandates Racial Favoritism

Maxine Waters photoSupporters call it “financial services reform.” Yet one has to wonder what the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 is reforming or stabilizing. The House on Wednesday by a 237-192 margin passed the 2,300-plus-page conference bill designed to protect American households from predatory practices by banks, subprime lenders, brokerage houses and other intermediaries. But evidence suggests that if it becomes law, the bill instead will lay the groundwork for another major federal bailout. During House-Senate conference sessions, affirmative action zealots inserted a host of mandates to promote credit allocation by race. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the prime sponsors of this “comprehensive” bill, have refused to entertain legitimate objections. If the Senate approves the measure – Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has vowed to corral the necessary filibuster-breaking 60 votes in a matter of days – Congress once more will have shown that it places a higher priority on …

Dodd’s Financial Services ‘Reform’ Would Mean More Bailouts

Sen. Christpher Dodd, D-Conn.The word “reform” in the age of Obama has taken on a clear meaning: aggressive expansion of government control over economic decision-making by businesses and consumers. The recently-passed health care bill, rammed through Congress via highly unorthodox parliamentary procedures, is evidence enough of that. Yet even supporters of new financial services reform legislation now before the full Senate may be hard-pressed to explain how the mammoth 1,336-page measure is supposed to improve efficiency and integrity in credit markets.

To the contrary, the bill’s most likely legacy, if passed into law, would be the creation of powerful federal bureaucracies that in the long run not only would fail to avert future banking crises, but may well increase their likelihood. The House of Representatives, led by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., passed its own somewhat different package last December 11 by a 223-202 vote. 

The Senate bill, unveiled last Monday, March 15, is …