Sunday, April 21, 2013

God Bless and Keep the Residents of Boston



The Muse Temporarily Abandoned Me

I won't fool you, I don't have a lot I want to say this week. The muse  has wandered away from me.

Boston and all that goes with it left me pretty empty. I really can't add anything beyond what I said up top.

On the other hand, the Senate's gutless gun registration vote just angered me. The political cowards.

Nobody discussed anything about “gun confiscation,” but that didn't stop the crazies—mainly but not exclusively on the Right—from whipping enough enough votes to stop a bill to register guns sales from moving forward and, maybe, make it a little tougher for some bad people to get guns.

The GOP and their allies spun all sorts of grotesque arguments against a simple bill which could have had a major impact on Internet and gun show sales.

Recently, I was at a local establishment (casino) along side two gun advocates, one of whom was  a gun dealer who worried about the impact of registration on his “machine gun” collection (we were in Maryland, so state law got him when Washington failed). Barely prompted, he strung together a wild fantasy of gun registration leading to the “Feds” trying to stop cigarette smokers or others they deemed socially unworthy. It was like he was on acid and imagining demons everywhere.
 
People like him across the country leaned on their Senators to deny a vote on the legislative substance.

Mark Zandi and The Fannie/Freddie World

Back to a little bit of reality.

I want to reverse the blog a bit and have you tell me some stuff which could happen, if.......!

Let's wave the proverbial magic wand and assume two things, the first is that Mark Zandi well known economist, reportedly a registered D who counseled John McCain's presidential campaign, gets the nod from the Obama Administration to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and becomes Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's latest regulator.

Is he a big bank or Wall Street stooge, as some suggest, or a silent liberal intent on embedding Uncle Sam deeper in the mortgage finance system? Or, is he just a smart, rich guy who has some time to spend on the mortgage Gordian Knot?

Since the original buzz, there hasn't been much on this possible appointment, but that could be because of the intervening events which demanded our national attention.

Initially, there was some talk that Zandi has some strong ideas about reorganizing the nation's secondary mortgage market—which means it's primary market, too—and has hopes to implement those plans, as he oversees Fannie, Freddie, and the Federal Home Loan Bank System, which people need reminded is part of his portfolio.

The story goes that Zandi might want to do this mostly via regulation, not legislation, because presumably this Congress can't agree on much including whether to do away with or employ Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in some future incarnation.

So let me ask, readers, what do you think Zandi—if he gets the post—does or tries to do??

You can write your answer to my blog “Comments” section and share them with other readers or send them to me at either of the email addresses which grace your “New Blog Out” message. I'll try to summarize in future blogs—without identification if that is your choice--what you recommend. blogs.

Fire away at what you think Mark Zandi might try and do, if he succeeds Ed DeMarco as the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and how willing this Congress may be to cooperate and let Zandi try policy innovation??

Maloni, 4-22-2013




17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bill - my sympathies with you on both Boston and guns.

I have listened to much of the public CSPAN interviews of Zandi - he has made it a point that government should be involved in mortgage market. An academic approach, but i think he means it.

Bill Maloni said...

That means many in the GOP will make Zandi's life difficult.

I know what the Republicans claim they dislike, but I have yet to see a coherent GOP mortgage system plan for what it wants.

OK, the federal government disappears and its support leaves the system. Then who does what with/for whom and under what rules, if any??

Anonymous said...

I think Zandi is immaterial to the discussion. Whatever policy or plan is argued for, at some point some committee will ask; So, how would this have changed anything pre-2009?

Since nothing except the treasury's printing press could ever withstand the damage of a sudden 25% drop in RE, the same scenario, albeit with different characters, would repeat itself.

Anonymous said...

If I were Zandi, I would only take the job if the WH fully backed my plans to reform the mortgage markets.
As I indicated earlier, his only chance for success is to use the FHFA regulatory authority aggressively and let the Republicans play"catch up".
Without strong backing form the WH for his plan of action, the job is not worth taking.
A related issue, what is this WH strategy of floating names for appointments so that the Republicans can attack prospective appointments?
This is the most incompetent WH in recent history. How a bright guy like Obama can perform so poorly in the game of Washington politics is beyond comprehension.

Anonymous said...

If I were Zandi, I would only take the job if the WH fully backed my plans to reform the mortgage markets.
As I indicated earlier, his only chance for success is to use the FHFA regulatory authority aggressively and let the Republicans play"catch up".
Without strong backing form the WH for his plan of action, the job is not worth taking.
A related issue, what is this WH strategy of floating names for appointments so that the Republicans can attack prospective appointments?
This is the most incompetent WH in recent history. How a bright guy like Obama can perform so poorly in the game of Washington politics is beyond comprehension.

Anonymous said...

If I were Zandi, I would only take the job if the WH fully backed my plans to reform the mortgage markets.
As I indicated earlier, his only chance for success is to use the FHFA regulatory authority aggressively and let the Republicans play"catch up".
Without strong backing form the WH for his plan of action, the job is not worth taking.
A related issue, what is this WH strategy of floating names for appointments so that the Republicans can attack prospective appointments?
This is the most incompetent WH in recent history. How a bright guy like Obama can perform so poorly in the game of Washington politics is beyond comprehension.

Bill Maloni said...

Many critical observers, D and R, have ripped the Obama Administration for most its five years--with cause--for political missteps.

I suspect--unfortunately--that pentient won't change.


If he still is a candidate, Zandi intelligence and record might earn him a chance from the Senate R's (Maybe McCain would be his political "Rabbi"), but he faces the intransigence, I so often have commented on, based on marginal understanding of the markets and what can work.


Go back to my final comment in the first answer to that "Anonymous" and maybe someone can tell me what form the ideal GOP mortgage market would take.

By "ideal" I mean a mortgage market that can efficiently and effectively serve as well as the current structure, flaws and all, seems to serve the nation.

Anonymous said...

There is no "ideal" scenario, Bill. Either the govt is going to continue the fixed 30/yr entitlement, or they're going to hand the thing over to Wall Street. It is that black and white.

The govt can't have its cake and eat it too. It either dictates policy and guarantees the stuff, in which case F&F are as good a solution as any, or it keeps its mitts off.

Bill Maloni said...

Gee, you must read Maloni's blog!

I realize that simple fact, but I don't think it is apparent to a lot of Hill types who will make the policy calls.

Or, if it is clear to them, they are awfully silent.

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Anonymous said...

What Anonymous 5:41 AM said. So Zandi, no-Zandi is irrelevant.

But if he has a say he will stop short of any big change. One thing are big proclamations from the bench. A different story is executing them. And even more problematic, to be the excutioner. Big texan hat with no cows.

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