Hey Fannie and Freddie, Pay Us Back!

WHO says Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on anything? When it comes to fixing the government’s troubled and costly relationship with the private mortgage market, bipartisanship is very much alive. Politicians in both parties have reached consensus over the past four years to simply do nothing.

Consider the elephant in the room: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac owe American taxpayers nearly $140 billion — and there seems to be no plan on any front to pay it back.

Though many Americans aren’t aware of it, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) are publicly traded companies — like I.B.M. or General Electric. Except these two giant housing lenders were created by Congress and, as a result, have a relationship, albeit an awkward one, with Uncle Sam. As so-called government-sponsored enterprises, or G.S.E.’s, they have long played an important role in the development of the nation, helping to channel credit to millions of Americans who might otherwise not be able to get home mortgages.

Rest here…