Edwards: I was "99% honest"!

A mostly political Weblog.
Aug. 9 2008 9:42 PM

Edwards: Hey, I Was "99% Honest"

It's all the tabloid's fault!

(Continued from Page 26)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Chandra Story Is Back: Fred Barnes said the most discouraging words in the English language are "first of a series." But the Chandra Levy case actually deserves a 12-part series, and I'm eager to read WaPo's effort. (I admit I may wait until it's all published and I can peek at the conclusion). Here's a complicated mystery, with a real victim and all sorts of sociological and political lessons, that never got the coverage it deserved after self-righteous media scolds who mainly work for MSM organizations that are now going broke used it to symbolize the allegedly trivial, tabloidy coverage before 9/11! ... Maybe I'll even  "skip" it. ...  Bonus: Now Howie Kurtz can try to boost his CNN ratings with a tabloidy show re-denouncing tabloidy coverag e of the Levy case!   ... 4:34 P.M. link

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Can't Get Enough Fannie Mae: V-helpful op-ed by Lawrence Kudlow

a) makes it clear that Fannie's involvment in the subprime market comes not from repackaging subprime loans as securities but from buying those securities after they'd been repackaged by others (which still helped fuel the subprime lending crisis, pace Krugman):

The main mission of Fannie and Freddie is to provide liquidity into the mortgage markets by purchasing loans made by local lenders and repackaging them into bond-market security pools that are sold to investors with the U.S. government's stamp of approval. You might call this the good-cop function.

But then there's the bad-cop function: Fannie and Freddie purchased some of these mortgage pools for their own portfolios, essentially setting up a high-risk internal hedge fund. It was the sinking credit quality of this hedge fund that drove last week's shareholder run. Think sub-prime mortgages and other shaky and exotic loans.

b) suggests, startlingly, that the government has agreed to back only Fannie's "good cop" function, not the bad-cop securities purchases that are the source of Fannie's financial troubles;

c) hints that left and right are converging on the desirability of de-privatizing Fannie and Freddie, at least temporarily. When even an AEI expert calls for talking profit-making shareholder owned organizations and "making them tightly controlled government agencies," maybe they should be made tightly controlled government agencies! Letting Jim Johnson politico types build profit-making empires with taxpayer-supported credit is just too risky. (For how Johnson operated, see this 2006 WaPo piece  [via NewsAlert].)

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P.S.: When toting up the costs and benefits of Fannie Mae, shouldn't Slate's Daniel Gross have taken into account the cost of dragging down the whole economy in a subprime crisis which Fannie and Freddy helped fuel maybe not as a primary but as an important secondary factor? Just asking!  .... I smell Kool Aid! ... 2:58 P.M. link

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chart of the Day: What happened to the number of people on public assistance in New York City after the 1996 welfare reform. ... 2:52 A.M.

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