It’s just a little bit of Policy Fail Repeating

bad-bank-2When you let lobbyists make public policy, failure is an acceptable outcome. That’s because the point of the policy isn’t the public and isn’t necessarily doing what will work. The point of the policy is to enrich and perpetuate the entrenched interests. Every other possible goal becomes expendable including those that have to do with protecting the public purse and welfare.

Imagine my lack of surprise when I saw that the creation of a “bad bank” policy is back in today’s WaPo headlines. Go take a look at “U.S. Considers Remaking Mortgage Giants:’Bad Bank’ Would Wipe the Slate Clean for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac by Taking Their Toxic Loans” and weep. This administration will reward bad players as long as there is a political reason for them to exist. So, instead of real reform of Fannie and Freddie, they’re proposing a solution that sweeps past mistakes under the rug and allows these failed institutions to operate in the same irresponsible way that brought them their current fate. There is no such thing as the discipline of the market or the bankruptcy court when you’re big enough to hire K Street impresarios to keep your show running and the federal government enables you.

The Obama administration is considering an overhaul of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would strip the mortgage finance giants of hundreds of billions of dollars in troubled loans and create a new structure to support the home-loan market, government officials said.

The bad debts the firms own would be placed in new government-backed financial institutions — so-called bad banks — that would take responsibility for collecting as much of the outstanding balance as possible. What would be left would be two healthy financial companies with a clean slate.

The moves would represent one of the most dramatic reorderings of the badly shattered housing finance system since District-based Fannie Mae was created by Congress to support mortgage lending during the Great Depression. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, based in McLean, have government charters to buy home loans from banks, which they then repackage and sell to investors. The banks can then use the proceeds to offer more loans to home buyers.

The leviathans became emblematic of the financial crisis when they were effectively nationalized in September amid a market meltdown that revealed much of their holdings to be troubled. The government has since pledged more than $1.5 trillion, including $85 billion in direct aid, to keep the mortgage market working through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The proposal, which is preliminary and one of several under discussion, is scheduled to be taken up by the White House’s National Economic Council on Thursday.

What about the Japanese lost decade and all the papers and studies written about the bad bank policy did these folks miss? Well, of course, you do know that the head of the “White House’s National Economic Council ” is La-La Summers, right? Mister, I got mine from Wall Street? Let’s look at the other players who buy into this. I’ll just highlight them so you can see that it’s basically the same players that had some kind of supporting role in the original failure. Why does Washington D.C. continue to reward the very same people and players? It has too be some thing pathological.

Read the rest of this entry »