Meet the New Campaign Aides: Fannie & Freddie

Posted by: Theo Francis on September 10

As Election Day nears,a few days can be an eternity in an election campaign. Some issues rise and then vanish completely in less time. But there are signs that, 48 hours after the government’s takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, this issue is likely to linger at least a little longer as a campaign theme.

For one thing, both candidates have ties to the mortgage giants, the New York Times reports. Not that that’s stopping them from lobbing barbs at the companies.

Today, Barack Obama called for reining in pay packages for the ousted chiefs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a sentiment shared by Sens. Charles Schumer and Jack Reed, Democrats of New York and Rhode Island, respectively. "Under no circumstances should the executives of these institutions earn a windfall at a time when the U.S. Treasury has taken unprecedented steps to rescue these companies with taxpayer resources," Obama wrote. News reports have suggested the execs could be in line to receive more than $23 million together, though Richard Syron, until Sunday Freddie Mac's CEO, may give up some of his severance.

Meantime, yesterday, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, John McCain and Sarah Palin called for "permanent reform" of the mortgage giants -- calling vaguely to "downsize" them and for more ethical conduct and better disclosure among mortgage borrowers, buyers and sellers. Barack Obama, too, has criticized Fannie and Freddie, blaming Congress as well as the Bush administration.

Paulson, for his part, absolved Fannie and Freddie's management of the government takeover, blaming instead turmoil in the housing market and a bad business model. In Paulson's statement Sunday, he said the companies' "managements and their Boards are responsible for neither."

Reader Comments

FrankLoweser

September 10, 2008 05:39 PM

We'll never get to this issue. All this campaign is about now is moosehunting, lipstick, ads that I would call childish, except that I would be doing a big disservice to children.
It's also about McCain's POW experience, the fact that Obama is not a muslim, hockey Moms and abortion.

Congratulate the slugs in the McCain campaign for once again making our election about anything except what really matters.

Carol

September 11, 2008 12:16 PM

Good for Obama! He blames Fannie and Freddie AND the Congress. The Congress apparently exercises no oversight over our financial institutions and our financial policies.

Who supervises the regulators?

Obama got it right! Why should the heads of these two privatized giants get HUGE payouts and payoffs when they are replaced? Is it because they played the only game in town, and lost the game?

PacificGatePost

September 11, 2008 02:25 PM

OMINOUS SIGN BEHIND PAULSON’S ACTIONS HAVE ESTABLISHED A TREND

http://pacificgatepost.blogspot.com/2008/09/secretary-paulson-reasures-foreign.html

And as usual the taxpayer is on the hook in the biggest bailout ever, and forever after that as more bailing is required.

WHERE IS CONGRESS ON THIS?

The best we hear from it is related to suggesting reduced severance packages for outgoing executives? How limp.

How about a thorough analysis into the self serving actions of these institutions? Taxpayers deserve no less.

How ironic that the biggest Government INTERVENTION in history is being implemented under Bush’s watch, after his policies stimulated and allowed the abuse.

Thank you for your interest. This blog is no longer active.

 

Election 2008

Washington Bureau Chief Jane Sasseen and other BusinessWeek writers cover the run-up to the Nov. 4 presidential election, paying close attention to how the candidates will handle issues such as housing, the economy, unemployment, and immigration.

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