Professor L. Randall Wray of the Department of Economics, University of Missouri, Kansas City is one of the leaders of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) approach to economics. His blogs are very clearly and simply written, well-organized, thorough, and generally fairly dispassionate. But the recent attack of the right on Fannie and Freddy really blew his gasket, and he responded with a really passionate rant against all the present attempts by the righties to impoverish the middle class, the old, the young, and generally everyone else except the rich in a post entitled: “The Wingnuts Go After Fannie and Freddy.”
Among other things Randy says:
Give me a break. These are the same bozos that are promoting home foreclosure and happily cheering the biggest transfer of wealth to Wall Street that the US has ever seen. Without Fannie and Freddie there would be no home financing or refinancing going on right now. Oh, right, free markets did such a good job with the subprime mortgage market, creating a global financial crisis that rivals the Great Crash of 1929. Hey, lets reward them by getting government out of the mortgage markets so that Pete Peterson can run the whole shebang for the benefit of Wall Street. That, of course, is the real goal. Wall Street wants to get back to predatory lending as quickly as possible, and hates the competition from a newly missioned Fannie and Freddie—which have turned away from the practices that assisted rapacious private lenders from 2004 to 2008. Better close them down.
How about a reality check? Fannie and Freddie made no subprime loans. Indeed, they originated no loans at all. Yes, they offered insurance on privately originated mortgages, and yes, they lowered their standards. This has been carefully studied, and all analysts have reached the conclusion that Fannie and Freddie got into trouble because they catered to "free" market demands that they either insure the kinds of toxic mortgages markets wanted to provide or that they become irrelevant. The free markets wanted to do Liar loans and NINJA loans, making loans that borrowers could never service. The old fuddy duddies Fannie and Freddie would never have agreed to guarantee this trash, so they were partially privatized, with big gun, high paid CEOs hired. And just like magic, they started behaving like a Goldman or a Countrywide—maximizing CEO pay while damning the firms. Yes, that is the free market solution and my colleague Bill Black calls it control fraud. Fannie became a control fraud, just like all the big boy private financial institutions. Peterson’s solution? Promote control frauds by freeing markets.
Make no mistake. The wingnuts are likely to win these battles. President Obama will not put up a fight. Social Security is a done deal. It is going to be "reformed". That is, it will be handed over to Pete Peterson, who will manage it right down the rat hole where all the private pensions are going. Wall Street will gamble away all the funds, whilst enriching itself with management fees. And Fannie and Freddie will be shut down so that Wall Street will have free reign in the housing market. Homeownership rates will plummet. Predatory mortgages will be the rule. Wealth will trickle up. Democratic Party coffers will be replenished.
But that’s not the best of it. Click on the link. Read the rest of it and note the fix we’re in. Then realize that nothing’s going to get us out of this fix in the long run except an equalizer that can neutralize the power of money in politics. The equalizer is described here, and here. Help us get it started!