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I heard a recent talk by Richard Wolff – Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (PhD in Economics from Yale) – where Wolff said that 97% of all U.S. mortgages are either written or guaranteed by the government.
As Bloomberg explained last August:
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled companies that issued and guaranteed more than 71 percent of mortgage-backed bonds last year. Between those companies and Ginnie Mae, which guarantees loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, the government backed nearly 97 percent of U.S. mortgages in 2009.
There are supposedly plans in Washington to wind down Fannie and Freddie. Critics say that would destroy the “recovery” in housing.
If continuing to throw money at Fannie and Freddie would stabilize the economy, I might be for it – even though it is not free market capitalism. I am not wed to either liberal or conservative ideologies, and am instead simply motivated to do whatever will work to stabilize the economy and help the most people.
But as I noted in January:
Most independent experts say that the government’s housing programs have been a failure. That’s too bad, given that the housing slump is now – according to Zillow’s – worse than during the Great Depression.
Indeed, PhD economists John Hussman and Dean Baker, fund manager and financial writer Barry Ritholtz and New York Times’ writer Gretchen Morgenson say that the only reason the government keeps giving billions to Fannie and Freddie is that it is really a huge, ongoing, back-door bailout of the big banks.
Many also accuse Obama’s foreclosure relief programs as being backdoor bailouts for the banks. (See this, this, this and this).
Read more97 Percent Of All US Mortgages Are Backed By The Government