Government as Guarantor of Last Resort

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now preparing to sell bonds that supposedly indemnify us taxpayers from the results of another mortgage market melt-down.

Called Connecticut Avenue Securities by Fannie Mae and Structured Agency Credit Risk by Freddie Mac, the securities are essentially bonds whose performance is tied to that of a pool of mortgages. If the mortgages default, investors in the bonds could lose some or all of their principal.

That’s the claim. There are a number of fallacies to this. One is that Fannie and Freddie still are government controlled. Another is that the government, through the Fannie-Freddie regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has already demonstrated that it will manipulate regulations and pass along actual money to “protect” these agencies from failure.

The largest fallacy, though, is exposed by Lewis Ranieri, who co-invented mortgage-backed securities in his own assessment of this nascent Federal scam:

There’s still a question of whether [the securities sales] can be expanded to really provide the goal of making the government the guarantor of last resort.

Government as guarantor of last resort means us taxpayers aren’t protected from anything that Fannie or Freddie might take a notion to try our luck at.

In the end, though, why should government—which is to say, you and I—be the guarantor of anything in a free market other than that it is, in fact, free, with all transactions freely entered into and with each of the participants in any exchange—and no one else—owning every bit of their part of that exchange?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *