Freddie Mac Asks for Another $10 Billion Bailout

Since whatever Freddie Mac is doing is so essential to all our lives they are asking for another $10 billion in extorted money:

Troubled US government-backed mortgage firm Freddie Mac on Wednesday asked for an additional 10.6 billion dollars from the Treasury Department to cover losses.

Announcing a 6.7 billion dollar loss in the first quarter, Freddie Mac said it would need the new funding by June 30 this year.

The Washington-based company has already received more than 50 billion dollars in taxpayers cash to cover losses from toxic assets.

It also warned that further demands would be on the way.

“Freddie Mac expects to request additional draws,” it said in a statement.

“The size and timing of such draws will be determined by a variety of factors that could adversely affect the company’s net worth.”

Yeah … so I’ll opt out of that program if you don’t mind? Yeap, I’d like to not contribute any money to this corrupt company out of my pocket. I’d prefer to keep at least that portion.

That’s right, I’m basically opting out of this one, the one with the fat cat executives with political connections getting stupidly rich for nothing I ever asked for … yea exactly that one. I’m checking “no” on it. Hope you don’t mind?

Oh, sorry, I forgot that I have no choice in the matter, forgot you’ll throw me into a cell if I disagree. Nevermind …

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Treasury Scraps Limits for Fannie/Freddie Funding – How the US Government Created, Continued, and Perpetuated the Crisis

To get an idea of things to come in 2010, one need only look at the Treasury’s recent removal of all funding limits previously self-imposed on spending taxpayer money on Fannie and Freddie …

The Obama administration’s decision to cover an unlimited amount of losses at the mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the next three years stirred controversy over the holiday.

The Treasury announced Thursday it was removing the caps that limited the amount of available capital to the companies to $200 billion each.

Unlimited access to bailout funds through 2012 was “necessary for preserving the continued strength and stability of the mortgage market,” the Treasury said. Fannie and Freddie purchase or guarantee most U.S. home mortgages and have run up huge losses stemming from the worst wave of defaults since the 1930s.

“The timing of this executive order giving Fannie and Freddie a blank check is no coincidence,” said Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee. He said the Christmas Eve announcement was designed “to prevent the general public from taking note.”

Treasury officials couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

So far, Treasury has provided $60 billion of capital to Fannie and $51 billion to Freddie. Mahesh Swaminathan, a senior mortgage analyst at Credit Suisse in New York, said he didn’t believe Fannie and Freddie would need more than $200 billion apiece from the Treasury. But he and other analysts have said the market would find a larger commitment from the Treasury reassuring.

In exchange for the funding, the Treasury has received preferred stock in the companies paying 10% dividends. The Treasury also has warrants to acquire nearly 80% of the common shares in each firm.

The Treasury removed the cap on the size of available bailout funds by amending agreements it reached with the companies in September 2008, when the government seized control of the agencies under a legal process called conservatorship. The agreement allowed the Treasury to make amendments through the end of the year, without the consent of Congress. Changes made after Dec. 31 would likely involve a struggle with lawmakers over the terms.

Some Republicans are angry the administration is expanding the potential size of the bailout without having a plan for eventually ending the federal government’s role in the companies.

The Treasury reiterated administration plans for a “preliminary report” on the government’s future role in the mortgage market around the time the federal budget proposal is released in February.

The companies on Thursday disclosed new packages that will pay Fannie Chief Executive Officer Michael Williams and Freddie CEO Charles Haldeman Jr. as much as $6 million a year, including bonuses. The packages were approved by the Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, which regulates the companies.

The FHFA said compensation for executive officers of the companies in 2009, on average, is down 40% from the pay levels before the conservatorship.

Under the conservatorship, top officers of Fannie and Freddie take their cues from the Treasury and regulators on all major decisions, current and former executives say. The government has made foreclosure-prevention efforts its top priority.

The pay packages for top officers are entirely in cash; company shares have been trading on the New York Stock Exchange at less than $2 apiece, and it isn’t clear when the companies will to profitability or whether common shares will have any value in the long term.

For the CEOs, annual compensation consists of a base salary of $900,000, deferred base salary of $3.1 million and incentive pay of as much as $2 million.

When Mr. Haldeman was hired by Freddie in July, the company set his base pay at $900,000 and said his additional “incentive” pay would depend on a decision by the regulator.

At Fannie, Mr. Williams was chief operating officer until he was promoted in April to CEO. As COO, his base salary was $676,000. He also had annual deferred pay of $2.3 million and a long-term incentive award of as much as $1.5 million.

Under the new packages, Fannie will pay as much as about $3.6 million annually to David M. Johnson, chief financial officer; $2.4 million to Kenneth Bacon, who heads a unit that finances apartment buildings; $2.8 million to David Benson, capital markets chief; $2.2 million to David Hisey, deputy chief financial officer; $3 million to Timothy Mayopoulos, general counsel; and $2.8 million to Kenneth Phelan, chief risk officer.

At Freddie, annual compensation will total as much as $4.5 million for Bruce Witherell, chief operating officer; $3.5 million for Ross Kari, chief financial officer; $2.8 million for Robert Bostrom, general counsel; and $2.7 million for Paul George, head of human resources.

The pay deals also drew fire. With unemployment near 10%, “to be handing out $6 million bonuses to essentially federal employees is unconscionable,” said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican who is a frequent critic of Fannie and Freddie.

He also criticized the administration for approving the compensation without settling on a plan to remove taxpayer supports: “To be doing that with no plan in place is just unconscionable.”

The FHFA said that Fannie and Freddie “must attract and retain the talent needed” for their vital role in the mortgage market.

Millions and millions of Dollars paid out to executives that are accountable for nothing but billions of losses. Folks, this is a gravy train and a bonanza, way too beautiful for those involved to ever consider ending it.

I would only like to ask the officials in charge one humble favor: Don’t ever again impute the excesses that led to the crisis on the “free market” and “capitalism“. I have had it with that nonsense. The excesses were put in place, pushed forward, and are being maintained by the government, not the market.

All these people are doing is enriching themselves at the expense of the hard working taxpayer. Fannie and Freddie and with it all those lavish executive compensations for no performance at all would have never existed in a free market.

The market tried to correct all the inevitable consequences of government interventionism, namely Federal Reserve induced credit expansion, its corollary fractional reserve lending and the ensuing business cycle, the establishment of the government backed institutions Fannie and Freddie, the establishment of the government backed credit rating cartel, the ongoing increase in government spending in relation to private spending.

And yet, they STILL manage to get away with avoiding corrective market forces and making people believe that “just a bit more” government intervention, rules, and decrees will solve the problem. Does anyone realize that while sub-prime lending has vanished from the market, the single institution that to this day continues making subprime loans is the US government itself??  How blind and braindead must one be to chime in on this madness?

So please, go on ith your looting sprees, spend as much as you can until the system collapses and buries all its greedy, incompetent bureaucrats with it. But do let go with that incredibly intellect-insulting nonsense about how the market has created and encouraged the excesses of this crisis.

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Ron Paul in 2003 – “The Damage Will Be Catastrophic”

Ron Paul in 2003 to the banking committee:

The special privileges granted to Fannie and Freddie have distorted the housing market by allowing them to attract capital that they could not attract under pure market conditions. Like all artificially created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have otherwise been had government policy not actively encouraged over-investment in housing, the damage will be catastrophic.

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Freddie asks Treasury for $30.8 bln after big loss

MarketWatch writes Freddie asks Treasury for $30.8 bln after big loss:

Treasury had already injected almost $15 billion into Freddie last year, in return for senior preferred stock in the mortgage giant. After the latest investment, the government’s preferred equity stake will be $45.6 billion, the company said.

Despite huge losses, the government is still pumping billions of dollars into Fannie and Freddie, because they’re crucial to the housing market. Most mortgages are either purchased or guaranteed by these companies and the Treasury and Federal Reserve have promised continued support to try to keep money flowing and halt the real estate slump.

The Federal Government holds the taxpayer accountable for a total preferred equity stake of $45.6 billion while the company’s common equity is worth $270 million. All this money is going down a huge money hole. ” Treasury and Federal Reserve have promised continued support to try to keep money flowing and halt the real estate slump” – To hell with their endless assurances and promises. None of their policies will end the real estate slump. It is here and now and won’t go away for a long long time, thanks to precisely these interventions.

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KrugmanWatch – Against Stupidity…

If it wasn’t so sad it would be amusing how Paul Krugman has everything precisely backwards:

The most valuable lesson I learned from the year I spent in Washington (1982-1983, on the staff of the Council of Economic advisers — I was the senior intl economist, the senior domestic economist was a guy named Larry Summers. What ever happened to him?) was the extent to which senior government figures have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.

So when I read something like this:

“Why should we reward Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with $200 billion in taxpayer dollars without first reforming these housing entities that were at the heart of the economic meltdown?” House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement.

and people ask what on earth Boehner might mean when he talks about taxpayers “rewarding” institutions that are owned by taxpayers, I go for Occam’s Razor: Boehner doesn’t have some complicated notion in mind, he either doesn’t know that the government took over F&F months ago, or he just doesn’t get this “government-owned” concept.

First of all, Krugman did not even attempt to explain what exactly is supposed to be wrong about Boehner’s “stupid” statement. Whether or not he believes that the taxpayers in any way own these institutions is completely irrelevant. Let’s assume, for the sake of the argument, that they do. So what? How does this in any way invalidate Boehner’s statement. Just as a shareholder of a publicly traded private business at an annual meeting could speak out against an extension of a company’s shareholder’s equity unless the company improves its current operations, a representative of the taxpayers has the right to demand the same of a business that is held by the public trust, on behalf of the shareholders. Why in the world would anyone argue in favor of removing even this last small check on absolute power?

Now it should not surprise us that someone like Krugman gets upset about anyone asking for checks and balances when it comes to government spending. This is just another outgrowth of his small and shallow theories that favor bureaucracy and government spending anywhere and anytime. So long as we turn away from this kind of nonsense and debunk it quickly and unconditionally, no major harm is inflicted.

Regarding the issue of government ownership: The one who doesn’t get the “government-owned” concept at all is of course Paul Krugman himself. The government is a group of people that funds its operations via taxation. Taxation has always been ans will always be a form of theft. There is no way anyone can refute this simple causality.

Ownership over goods (as an economic concept) means control by one or several persons over the location of those goods in space and time. It is very different from the legal concept of ownership. Ownership over a good can come about in 4 ways: Homesteading, Exchange, Production, and Theft.

If ownership is transferred from the taxpayer to the people managing the entities in question by the means of theft, it is without a doubt a fact that the entire operation is not in the taxpayer’s interest and that the taxpayer himself won’t have any control over the allocation of the goods controlled by these entities. Thus the taxpayer doesn’t even remotely own government institutions, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Anyone who believes that the opposite is true, should ask himself how he can have the slightest impact on what course of action these entities will pursue in future. In particular he should ask himself if he was ever asked whether or not he even wants to have any stake in them in the first place.

But all this taken aside, the most important issue with government ownership of any business is The Trouble of Bureaucracy. Any thesis promulgated by Keynesian clowns such as Krugman completely breaks down at the latest when it is confronted with the problems caused by bureaucracy.

Please note that is is more than likely that Krugman has never ever dealt with the issue of ownership in economic terms or with the theory of bureaucracy. Thus we shall exculpate him from his mistakes, but at the same time hope that others won’t blindly follow his blatant and painful nonsense.

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