walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

decision-making and the GSEs


This is the article that probably caused the GSEs to drop a bit further, and spawned a bunch of secondary commentary. It's a three-pager.

Here's what I would like someone to explain to me (Floyd Norris at the NYT has recently tackled the difficult issue of the business cycle viz. what's right for individuals often goat-fucks the group further, altho Mr. Norris, of course, would never, ever, ever use such language). If we're all so convinced (and that seems to be the punditry Trend Du Jour) that the GSEs are going to need to use that bailout provision and shareholders really are going to completely lose everything, why did Fannie show good judgment/get lucky by raising a round of new equity capital in May, while Freddie (on legal advice and in some articles, in compliance with their regulator's advice, but in this article to the Shock, Shock! of the Bush administration -- statements which may actually not be incompatible, which tells you a lot about where we are right now from a governance perspective) screwed the pooch by delaying then (when the stock was down from 67 to 25) and now (when it's down in the single digits).

Essentially, anyone who bought Fannie back in May is going to lost that shirt -- and probably sign up (or vote based on promises of) for whatever recompense might become available somehow, somewhen, whereas by _not_ raising capital that I think we all know is hopelessly inadequate to the disaster that is the real estate market right now, Freddie avoided pissing off some number of people who might have bought in back then.

I mean, this is like two people whose houses got foreclosed and sold. Person A gutted their retirement and borrowed every last nickel friends and family would loan them etc. and still lost the overpriced house on a bad loan in a terrible location. Person B kept a cash cushion, left their IRA and 401(k) intact and _maybe_ borrowed from friends and family for first last and security on a rental after mailing the keys to the lender.

And yet we are somehow after Person B, who is sensible and took the long view and will not be a burden on anyone else (subject to whatever future disaster overtakes them) and very sympathetic to Person A, who we are going to be funding, one way or another, for the foreseeable future. And possibly incarcerating their totally fucked up offspring. And so on. Unless, of course, we deport them (which seems to be the solution of the day.

I just don't get it. As near as I can tell, we've been making really bad decisions collectively for pretty much my whole life (while Carter cut a bunch of wasteful defense projects, they all got reinstated, so it's not clear that counts one way or the other). I don't see that changing. What I do see, is that every once in a while, someone decides _not_ to do the stop gap stupid thing to get through the day that isn't going to really help at all. And _those_ people, my god, they are THE DEVIL and WE MUST GET THEM.

Because otherwise, they might make the rest of us look like the fools that we are.

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