Sunday, March 3, 2013


Fiderer, The “Hebrew Hammer” is Back
Has Blunt Message, Mostly for the GOP
Don't Believe the Pinto/Wallison Whoppers

But first.......

Bob Woodward—of Watergate fame--is the source and, naturally, in the middle of something quite specious.

With the Sequester now kicking in and plenty of people concerned not only about the public policy inherent but their own employment and economic dislocation, Woodward chose to chase the spotlight and remind people it was President Obama who first suggested the “sequestration” option in budget negotiations with the GOP 18 months ago and more recently said he didn't before owning up saying he did?

Good reporting Bob and now you've reminded people that fact was in your book and Obama waffled on his ownership.

Who really cares? Some Americans are facing the possibility of figurative hand and leg amputations and Woodward's geezing about the availability of manicures and pedicures.

Politicians tell tales? It can't be that Woodward just discovered, “There's gambling at Rick's??”

More power to him if Obama's suggested top the Republicans a deadlock breaking way forward, a year and a half ago, when all roads to compromise seemed blocked.

Reminder: Most of us deemed the “sequester” so grievous and monstrous a move that few believed either party would allow it to happen without making some reasonable effort to substitute policy changes.

Or was that when we were naive and thought “bipartisan agreements” were a possibility? Now it seems that many in the GOP think Sequester is preferable to negotiations.

As with most things, it's never too late in the Nation's Capital for a deal.

We'll wait until one side decides it will break the Gordian Knot of political intransigence and offer some thoughtful alternative savings or tax reforms in lieu of exclusive program cuts.

Sure, both sides share some of the blame, but once again I think the “Party of No” will bear the people's unhappiness the most.

For now, the GOP is adhering to their “no new revenues” position and—to my surprise—refused to counter the President's recent offer--of tax reforms and budget cuts in lieu of just the Sequester's mandated domestic and military budget slashes--with a Republican package.

It's one thing to mouth partisan platitudes but quite another to roll up your sleeves and engage in discussions that produce policy through real bargaining, meaning nobody gets all that they want but each side gets something.

If nothing more, where are the infamous GOP 's “loop hole closer” tax reforms, which the party, since the Romney-Ryan Campaign, claimed could produce major deficit reduction?

Back to my silly pinion.

In the middle of real life—to the extent that anything on the Hill resembles that—leaped a prancing Bob Woodward claiming he now has been threatened by the White House (reportedly by long time friend Gene Sperling) because BW pointed out Obama's Sequester parentage in a W Post op-ed.

There is a bigger problem here, Mr. Woodward, and it's not the one involving your ego. It's “Sequester Anxiety” and some blameless individuals, families, and communities--now just barely keeping their heads above water--are going to get whacked again.

Go write another book, Bob, or set your hair on fire, you'll get your requisite publicity fix.

(It will matter to nobody but me, but this segment was written last Thursday morning, before all of the mainstream media began jumping all over Woodward for his BS commentary about “being

Fiderer Calls Shots Out Wallison & AEI “ Big Whoppers”

In a timely column, linked on Barry Ritholz's blog, “The Big Picture,” David Fiderer warns against against believing the repeated falsehoods coming from the American Enterprise Institute's Peter Wallison and Ed Pinto engage.

Fiderer calls it, “The Big Lie Annotated: An AEI History of the Financial Crisis.

I am providing a link to it (below) because, like most of Fiderer's work it is an eye opener and also revealing of how some conservatives will repeat the same Fannie-Freddie untruths over and over, despite rejections and rebuttals from dozens of credible sources.

Drinking that foul kool-aid prevents many in the GOP from better understanding issues which they claim they want to legislate, reconfigure, or abolish.

I know friend Fiderer has been working on this column for some time and began certainly before House Financial Services committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling announced, last week, a series of hearings into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and related matters, starting next week.

But, if any of the Committee Members have open minds on the matter, Fiderer's work is prescient, a documented reminder of how some zealots get waylaid, ignore facts, and spout falsehoods long after their message has been trumped.

As the House Committee probes what role Fannie and Freddie had in the 2008 financial meltdown, they should consider Fiderer's observations.

The Committee also might find time to examine the impact of creating and selling more than three quarters of a trillion dollars of failed private label Wall Street created (shorthand “PLS”), which the Street injected into worldwide market.

But gosh, that would be off script and might give the House majority more accurate answers than the ongoing Fannie/Freddie witch hunt.

From what little I've seen of next week's witness lists, not surprisingly the F&F panels will have a decidedly anti-GS E cast.

However, if properly engaged even those individuals would have to admit that F&F have performed admirably since they were put into conservatorship—and continue to buttress the nation's secondary mortgage market, keeping it liquid—while maintaining high quality books of business which improve each year.

Freddie's record earnings last week (see link below), soon to be followed by Fannie's 2012 numbers, suggest the worst is behind them and—if permitted—over a few years, likely could repay whatever the Treasury invested in them.

Is there better testimony of the value of today's mortgage model than the fact that the nation's major lenders--commercial banks and their mortgage banking subsidiaries--still heavily utilize Fannie and Freddie services, swelling the latter's business volumes and earnings.

Banks, which the GOP believes would be excellent alternatives to F&F, certainly have not displayed that through their business actions and—in the past--have insisted on getting additional federal securities guarantees as their price for trying to emulate the Fannie/Freddie dedicated investor role.

If Republicans disdains the current federal presence in single family mortgage finance of direct lending, guaranteeing the securities of others, or second tier insurance of losses, maybe Chairman Hensarling or his colleagues—after looking at that nasty Wall Street “PLS” episode-- can explain how giving banks additional federal guarantees would represents “fresh private capital?”

Fiderer has a blunt message for the House Republicans, (paraphrasing), “Many of your Fannie/Freddie beliefs are the result of believing part/all of 'The AEI Big Lie.'”

Members on both sides of the aisle and their Senate counterparts owe it to themselves to consider that possibility.

Maloni, 3-4-2013


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Bill Maloni said...

Yes, I am a two finger typist and--although I use spell check several times in the process, for precisely the reason you cite--I still make errors.

(You should see my emails!!!)

Working on it. I edit other people's work better than I do my own.

However, if that's my only flaw, I can live with it (not happily) but I'll survive.

Glad you enjoy some parts of the blog. BTW, make sure the errors you see are in my stuff, not in that which I link because I don't edit or correct other writer's work when I link it.

(Can you negotiate a hockey trade between the Canucks and my Penguins; we have plenty of D to swap for a top 6 winger!)

Anonymous said...

I do not care about your spelling errors.
The factual errors of Pinto, Wallison and "Howdy Doody Henserling are substantive and not discussed or even reported in the mainstream media.
The thought that this group will have any influence on federal mortgage finance reform is frightening.

Bill Maloni said...

P&W seem to get a ton of institutional media attention, consistently showing up in the WSJ, today (yesterday?) in the Washington Times and people seem to parrot them and the AEI line.

That's one of the reasons why I try to link when critics and rebuttals to AEI appear.

I said that the suddenly revenue generating former GSEs will create doubt and confusion in the Congress and I think that's happening and will continue.

I don't see any major legislative restructuring for a few years.

Absent, another major crash, F&F earnings looked "cooked" (in a positive way) for the next few years.

If the two truly were private, I believe that most investors would be "going long F&F."