Monday, November 30, 2015

Weird, but so appropriate for a Maloni blog, especially this one………

In preparing this week’s blog, I had my usual three or four GSE issues: comments on a purported White House reaction to my blog use last week of the descriptive term of “White Boys at Treasury” (the appearance of the possibility embarrassed some close to the President, I was told); an observation on the piggish “mo, mo, mo” budget request by the GSE regulator for more employees and more staff in its “Inspector General’s” office; and the government’s plan to hire more outside consultants for their GSE legal defense team, an act which opens this so called super sensitive business information to hundreds of lawyers, court officials, and their administrative staffs (but laughingly/ironically not the “real Tim Howard,” since Fairholme’s request to give him access was zapped weeks ago. He must of done too good a job abiding by those same rules for 8 years, during his own federal court travails.)

I also had links to other important matters, including a major GSE matter, the GOP and Democrat presidential nomination campaigns; a first person account of congressional incompetence/ineptitude handling of Rep. Mark Foley’s disgraceful pursuit of male pages--and more.

That blog is not in front of you now because your self-identified “tech idiot" editor lost it in the blogosphere on Saturday and couldn’t recover it, even though I save every change, each time I worked on it.

This event just underscored a few uncomfortable realities about my ability to design and publish this beast every week.

However, the main reason I’m upset at screwing up this week’s publication is……

This will be my final weekly blog. I still may write about Fannie and Freddie issues in the future—because I care deeply about their systemic fate--but not regularly or on any set schedule, since I plan to take on a new project.

I’ve written before I think the die is cast on GSE issues. First, it’s tied up in a raft of court cases which will take years to work through the system.

No matter who wins the presidency next year, Congress is riven on mortgage finance matters and the special interests will maintain their pressure on either side and dissuade the Hill from doing anything which makes practical sense.

One solution for Congress would be to make a few desirable changes to the current Fannie and Freddie model, save itself years of fractious debate and the even worse transition from the resident mortgage finance scheme to a new one, which—unless designed to neutralize large bank power—just will have the large financial institutions dominating it, with no GSE to play the role of governor.

But, Congress isn't deft enough to work that way.

New project

As most people are aware, my wife Heidi and I have four adult sons—two of whom are married and the younger two still single—and 6 grandkids, with the chance of more.

Those kids all were born after my parents died.

They know nothing of my mother, her seven siblings (my wonderful aunts and one uncle who helped shape me), my Dad’s much smaller family, the City of Pittsburgh and all the institutions and friends who colored my early years and decisions.

I plan to write a family history for them (and their future cousins??) and anyone else who thinks the Bill/Heidi Maloni family and their family tree could be interesting.

The original “disappearing blog” had far more about this project, which really isn’t necessary beyond identifying with how I plan to fill my days.

If that doesn't work out, possibly I'll come back. But, even with my new plan, I’m still available to talk with anyone who wants to talk about Fannie and Freddie, especially their history, and their complex relationship with the Congress.

I also noted in the “lost paragraphs” about the many new GSE information sources and writers, which I consider a major positive. There likely will be a new GSE oriented website, established by a very smart individual, who is hoping to develop the technical skills so my fate doesn’t befall him.

After more than 500 weekly blogs and about 1.2 million words on the subject (and well over 100,000 hits), I’m moving on and I thank all of you for reading and the many (too numerous to single out) who helped me keep the blog going.

Fannie’s and Freddie’s fate was dictated less by business reality and more by ideology and politics, and there is/was enough cash involved to underscore the maxim, “follow the money.”

I want them to survive and perform much as they performed in the past. But if they are not maintained, I predict what follows still will have similar features—with a government back up (makes you wonder why Congress would change them)--but be less efficient, more clunky,  won’t work as well creating more homeowners, and the transition will be problem filled, unsatisfying, and ultimately more costly.

Maloni, 11-30-2015

(Happy birthday, tomorrow, Jason Wynn Maloni, our first born.)


Unknown said...

Thank You for all the great blogs ... and the friendship
your GSE family will surely miss you and your weekly appearances here
But I'm sure the Maloni family is thrilled
Oh and don't forget to tell em about that money you owe me ....

Bill Maloni said...

MrF--Thanks and what's $28,651.29 among friends?

jwnoblethree said...

Thanks for all your insight and the blog. You will be missed Bill, but it sounds like you have some good work to move onto.

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your insight with the rest of us all this time. Your analysis will be greatly missed in the coming 6-12 months(hopefully not years). I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

G. Buckman said...

Bill, sorry to see you go. Much thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom over the years. To me, it's meant more than you'll ever know.

Good luck with your family history adventure! After all, family comes first.

Please stay in touch.

Watch, you'll figure out you're related to Franco some how....Go Steelers!

Bill Maloni said...

Thank you both for the "thank yous."

Yes, I had/have an angle, but anyone with maximum low regard for the Congress and those who manipulate that institution and some political sense/experience, can fill that gap; someone will (not merely the mystery would be website owner to whom I alluded), because the territory is too choice not to.

Somewhere in my DNA is the Lone Ranger, Zorro, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger, meaning I am able to "come back," if I make progress on the family project and GSE issues, somehow, are not being clarified by the many who now comment on those matters. (Keep supporting "GSE Links" and the guy-whose real name I do not know--who maintains it. It's the latest GSE information and contains many perspectives.)

Your warm feelings are appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bill. I became a faithful reader the day I discovered it a few years ago and have read every blog since. I'll miss your comments!
Jeff Wood

Bill Maloni said...

Thank you, Jeff.

As noted, let me know if something comes up and you feel I can add some understanding/perspective for you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being an intelligent source of commentary on the GSE situation.

Bill Maloni said...

I appreciate that Anon. I tried to be.

Anonymous said...

Godspeed Bill, you're a good man, TH717

Bill Maloni said...

Thank you and I am happy to see you are alive (and back?).

Your site's hand wringing and the misinterpretation of "Caesar's" arrival or departure, had me seeking Roman scholars and paying them to respond.

As I've said and written to several today, I haven't lost my interest but--as you know-- staying abreast takes a lot of time.

But, if I've made and error with this choice, I have no shame in admitting it and getting back into the GSE game.

I have a feeling, damn it, the debate still will be there when I finish the other project. I just hope you and others fill the void and there is no lapse in among the progressives in calling out the "posers," F&F haters, and their TBTF allies.

Anonymous said...

Bill, thank you. Your insight has been well respected by this far west coast main street-er. I have stayed far away from politics in my career in technology (30 years) and construction services (10 years). What I have learned from your blog and my own FNMA investment has deeply affected my respect of the government.
A question I would be interested in your response: Is the government more or less irresponsible/corrupt now than in the past (say start of the industrial revolution 1890's)? I remember Will Rogers humorous lampooning of elected officials and their weaknesses. It sure seems to be a mess today, with not many in government willing to do common good, leaning more to feather their own nest and their constituents.


Bill Maloni said...

Brian--first off, thanks for reading and your comments. (One of my sons is a construction engineer and project manager on major builds.)

What I think about government is something like the following.

If you go back 50, 75, or a 100 years and read in the "Congressional Record," Members of Congress and Congress address different subjects of the days but their approach and their purported causes and effects sound very much the same.

Ditto, if you look at any of the "classics" and read discussions in the Greek and Roman Senates or Councils. The rhetoric hen sounds eerily familiar.

Politicians are politicians and it seems that's never ending and draws forth a series of similar behaviors if you hope to generate support (from the voters or your King) and stay in elected or appointed office.

In other words, those behaviors go with the turf.

What is different, something to which I can personally attest, and which our history books well record, is that the comity between political parties has largely disappeared.

I worked on the Hill for 11 years from the late 60's through 1979--with the D's firmly in control--but D's and R's talked to one another, as did their staffs, and worked with one another, despite some major disagreements, and often found common ground, with concessions made to the minority even though they didn't have the votes to force the same results. It just was considered the correct thing to do.

I just don't see that today.

So, bottom line, politicians haven't changed but the terrain on which they operate has and too many--both sides of the aisle--have bought into the "other side being too extreme" to even approach.

The situation cries out for a strong President, with broad public and media support, who understands how to work with those who disagree with the White House but respects them as representatives of their constituents.

Won't move the pendulum all the way back, because it's so far out of wack now, but any improvement would be better.

Anonymous said...

Bill, fascinating to me, thank you. I see the difference you point out. I had read Tip O'Neil's book "Strictly Speaking" and saw how he and Reagan worked together though diametrically opposed in philosophy. I appreciate your response as it clarify's my understanding. Enjoy your new undertaking. I, as many, will miss your writing on FNMA. I've learned it's a very important business for the citizens of this country. As a fairly conservative thinker I am ashamed at how it has been vilified by conservatives and the business press. They forget that beyond the home owners there is 25% of the economy, mostly of small businesses that have a good percentage of their success from the financing assistance and liquidity that FNMA/FMCC provide. As for government support, what of defense, roads and other programs society at large benefit from. Also as you point out, the congress is no position to work toward a better business model with their internal issues. Stay tuned bat friends to see what happens next......

Bill Maloni said...

I will, Brian.

I still am lurking on the periphery of the GSE issues and care about them because they represent more than a quarter of my life.

I've confirmed that a new GSE website soon will materialize, run by a very smart individual. So, there will be more grist out there for the pro F&F community.

I will look forward to the continuing court case soap opera and to see, notably, if the first case decided for the plaintiffs produces an appeal.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Bill. Your blog has been one of the few voices of sanity in this crazy world. With David Sims cutting back on his GSE coverage and TH717 missing in action (and apparently letting the GSE bashers take over the site), we're left with fewer and fewer sources for quality information. I certainly can't disagree with you that this could go on in the courts for years though and I wish you all the best on your new project.

Thanks for all you've done to keep us informed.

Bill Maloni said...

Thanks, CJ.

I received a nice email from "TH717," whom I thought was/is returning (although he didn't tell me that).

The Google GSE site has several very thoughtful and seasoned bloggers and, as noted, I was told by a very, very smart GSE guy that his new GSE website will be up soon.

In the past, on a variety of matters where a vacuum existed, I often would question myself, "If not me, who?"

It's not difficult to set up a site (I knew next to nothing, literally, when I found Blogspot). I encourage you to try it. Nothing bad can/will happen, assuming the "Cam Jam" is a pseudonym (as per TH717), nobody will know you even undertook the task.

Find three or four like minded people who will speak "F&F and politically comment," watch out for crazies, and you can generate a GSE dialogue. Word will spread; use the very effective "GSE links" to let people know you are open for business.

Go for it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting during this difficult time. Your approach, experience and contacts have added a lot to many of us. If you have time, please clarify what was confusing to you about th717's post of Caesar returning to Rome.

Oh. And one more thing... Thank you for the words below from one of your latest posts:

"The kids grow so fast and the adults seem to die off quickly. Don't be shy to show them--in whatever way is most comfortable for you--that you care deeply for those who move you that way. If you don't, at some point you'll wish you had."

So true!

Bill Maloni said...

Anon--I was joking with TH717--whom I don't know, but with whom I have an email relationship--about his use of "Caesar," which seemed to confuse a lot of his posters.

I just assumed it was a creative way to say he's coming back, but others who are regular posters read it differently, which is why I said I might hire a Roman scholar to divine his meaning. (Part of the Maloni humor side.)

On the observation about friends and loved pones. I live it every day. I try never to think "woudla, shoulda, coulda" with the ones I care for and love.

Whether it's a hug and a kiss to a departing son or grandchild, or a note to someone who achieved ("kudos" or "congrats" to a pal), I want them to know someone cares.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the clarification. Yes, for good or for bad I do not think he (TH717) is coming back near term. Hopefully, it's nothing legal or related to the lawsuits as he has been publishing things he may have not. We do know he is still around, reading. Like your blog.

Lucky you that you can devote yourself to close family. It requires a lot of emotional and sometimes financial stability, as in your head being free of issues. Kudos.

Bill Maloni said...

That's kind of what we signed up for when we chose to have four kids (kept trying for a girl!!!).

But, they all made in through college in four years, have good careers, jobs, and their health. So, we feel fortunate.


Not sure if anyone truly knows, but late today I heard that 717 is not coming back, but it didn't sound like poor health or legal reasons.

But, just like the GSE "community" will survive without me, ecah week, it will survive if 717 ceases his blogging, too.

Others will pick up the slack because it's to rich for speculation.

Anonymous said...

Interesting... 717 not coming back. So what to make about Caesar returning to Rome?

Anonymous said...

Caesar decided to go to Egypt instead.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your great work over the years, Bill! And really good to hear of your new project...knowing it will provide much joy to you and your family.

I'm sure we'll see you again at some point around the proverbial GSE water cooler... Cheers!

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Bill Maloni said...

Plz ignore Osman!

Anon--isn't that where he met Elizabeth Taylor?

Fan O.--yes you will still hear from me but selectively, as I told one trade association exec this week, I am not disappearing.

Unknown said...

thank you Bill for all your work and insight.


Anonymous said...


First Anon here.

Thanks for the notes. Wish this ended here and with positive results. Still amazed that the answer is so simple that no one can get there?

Eventually, its going to happen. Just seems to me too be when...

God speed.

Jamie D

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