Wednesday, August 1, 2018

North Koreans and Russian still doing their thing, nothing changes with them

Some GSE thoughts and a few Presidential ones….

Even though he toiled in Fannie Mae’s Treasurer’s office when I still worked in the company, I don’t know and never met David Benson. Last week Benson was named interim successor to Tim Mayopoulos—Fannie Mae’s current President and CEO—when Mayopoulos announced his planned departure by year’s end after 10 years working for Fannie. (No doubt, TM is chafing under his limited $600k congressional imposed salary cap and the shackles he finds trying to run a successful entity which generates billions in quarterly income.)
Good friend Tim Howard knows DB and told me that Benson’s a very capable and effective mortgage executive, which is a strong endorsement from my perspective.
I hope Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) bless Benson’s succeeding Mayopoulos and don’t try and interfere with that elevation.

Mel Watt

Speaking of, I was as surprised as most when Director Mel Watt was accused of possible sexual harassment by a former employee who produced audio tapes to sustain her allegations.
Although President Trump might have inaugurated some new standard with revelations of his pre-presidential sexual antics, the accusations against Watt--if legitimate--likely means he’s gone before 2019 (his five year term ends in January, 2019) and his successor can be named by the POTUS, now.
You can bet there is mondo competition, back stabbing, and promoting going on behind the Conservative scenes in DC as GSE opponent forces seek to put their man (doubt they have any female candidates, since they are Republicans!).

Would be Watt successors

Before the latest Watt news above, an American Banker article several days ago identified seven possible candidates for the post of FHFA Director.

I don’t think I can claim any of them is good for the GSEs, I would say at least four/five are not good, with two rising above the gaggle, Craig Phillips, currently counsellor to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Mark Calabria, senior economist to Vice President Mike Pence and a former Senate Banking Committee and CATO Institute staffer.
Phillips virtue is he's close to Mnuchin and with executive action not legislative reform likely the most logical action, he would know how best to work with Treasury, while Calabria—who has been all over the GSE block intellectually—has at times called for them to be “re-privatized,” whatever that means.
But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t more choices who the President could stoop and tab; after all he did name low lights Betsy DeVos and Dr. Ben Carson to cabinet posts.


The FHFA has decided to give commenters on the agency “Risk Based Capital” proposal 60 additional days to do so, citing the followingFHFA is extending the public comment period due to the high level of interest in the proposed rule and requests from multiple stakeholders for more time to evaluate it.”

Judge Sweeney

Judge Margaret Sweeney has emerged from her “shelter in place” nest to—once again--accede to a government’s request this time to file  a “twice the size than originally sought by the court” report.

As our friend Peter Chapman writes, “In anticipation of filing its omnibus motion to dismiss the dozen cases pending in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims next week, the government is asking Judge Sweeney for permission to file an 85-page document that will exceed the 40-page default rule imposed by the court in run-of-the-mill cases.  Our government notes that if it were to file twelve separate motions to dismiss, rather than one omnibus motion, it would be entitled to drop up to 480 pages on Judge Sweeney’s desk.”

How have the Trump tax cuts been used?

When Democrats opposed the massive Trump tax cuts, many cited the likelihood that corporations would use their new found money to take a variety of self-enrichment steps, including stock buybacks to inflate prices on shares already owned by the executive and massive pay increase.

Here’s what POLITICO now is reporting.

It’s also worthwhile noting that workers’ salaries and wages—across the board--have not risen, despite the tax cuts, buy backs, etc.


The Koch Brothers are unhappy?

Trump economic policies, tariffs, trade wars, fights with allies, seem to be angering a powerful GOP/Conservative force, the Koch Brothers.

Here’s hoping the bros pull their big money/support from the Trump machine and his political friends, and insist that free trade—with appropriate limits—serves the United States better than what this President (who thinks he knows better than anyone else) is prescribing and implementing.

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy debates himself on “Cohen” and other matters

Who continues to believe that a tottering Rudy Giuliani has boosted the President chances to avoid strongly negative mention by Special Counsel Robert Mueller or increased that likelihood.
Daily Rudy—turned loose by this White House to deal with the media seems to conflict himself, then denies he’s now saying the opposite form what he recently once said.

Really, Mr. President? Try these GOP POTUS facts

“Trump, as he has before, also claimed he is the most popular commander in chief in
 the Republican Party's history, a line that stretches all the way back to Abraham
Lincoln's election in 1860. Setting aside the fact that widespread public polling
did not begin until the mid-1930s, Trump remains less popular among his party than
 a number of his recent predecessors.

“According to the Gallup tracking poll, as of July 1, 88 percent of Republicans
currently have a favorable view of Trump's presidency. But as CNN reported, only
Gerald Ford failed to reach an 88 percent approval rating within his own party by
 July of his first year in office. Overall, his popularity among all voters (42
percent in the most recent weekly poll) remains well below the high point of
predecessors: Dwight D. Eisenhower peaked at 79 percent in 1956, Ronald Reagan at
68 (twice), George H.W. Bush at 89 at the time of the Gulf War, and George W. Bush
 at 90 percent shortly after the 9/11 attacks.”

Maloni, 8-1-2018


Anonymous said...

I think the next FHFA director is one who Mnuchin is most comfortable with. Could be Brian P. Brooks , or Joseph Otting, or Craig Philips.

Bill Maloni said...

Don't know Otting; reputations of the other two seem intact (not virulent anti-GSEers), "honest broker" image might hamper them depending on what Treasury's plans are for Fannie and Freddie.