“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were meant to make it easier for Americans to buy their own homes. By buying up mortgages issued by other lenders, they enabled the lenders to make more loans. Fannie and Freddie could then package the payments that Americans made on their home mortgages into securities to sell to investors, from big bond funds to foreign central banks. In this way, a saver in China financed the purchase of a home in Kansas.
In many ways, the system worked beautifully. But Fannie and Freddie accrued tremendous power and wealth because of the primacy of housing at the center of the American dream, combined with the perception that these loans had the full backing of the United States government. They abused that perception. Executives paid themselves lavish salaries, and the companies, particularly Fannie, relentlessly lobbied Congress to keep their advantages and dodge regulations.”
“But is it really practical to kill Fannie and Freddie? We as a society want much of what they provide, which is relatively consistent access, through good times and bad, for a wide section of society, to a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Critics argued that the Corker-Warner plan would essentially turn the mortgage market over to the big banks, and lead to fewer loans at higher rates.
At a time of economic uncertainty, when income inequality is a major issue, it is also not a great thing for social cohesion to require those at the lower end of the income scale to start paying far higher rates for their mortgages than those at the upper end, which most analysts agree would be the case if purely private capital financed the mortgage market.
If we can’t do any better, isn’t it time to fix what we have and ease Fannie and Freddie out of conservatorship? The first step is to stop sending all their dividends to the Treasury. That would allow them to start rebuilding capital, eventually to a level substantially higher than what they were allowed to operate with before the crisis. Then, let’s devise a tighter regulatory structure, one that limits the businesses in which Fannie and Freddie can operate, limits the incentives of their management teams to take risk, and limits their ability to lobby. We could cap the returns to shareholders, as utilities do.”
Apesar dos longos excertos, vale a pena ler o artigo todo. Porque as coisas não são simples, mas o bom senso, o equilíbrio, o desejo de justiça e o interesse pela coisa pública ajudam sempre a encontrar alternativas, neste problema citado no artigo, como noutros. É só querer.
E isto, interessa, muito, ao Governo das Sociedades.