Sunday, July 13, 2008

Let Them Fail

I mostly agree with Krugman until the end.

Still, isn’t it shocking that taxpayers may end up having to rescue these institutions? Not really. We’re going through a major financial crisis — and such crises almost always end with some kind of taxpayer bailout for the banking system.

And let’s be clear: Fannie and Freddie can’t be allowed to fail. With the collapse of subprime lending, they’re now more central than ever to the housing market, and the economy as a whole.

Actually, Fannie and Freddie can be allowed to fail. Their shareholders can eat shit, and they can be reconstituted as a wholesale federal entities. There are zero reasons that I can think of that we should have shareholder owned entities which "probably but not necessarily" are going to get a government bailout every time they need it.

Both short and long term we might think that having such creatures exist to be mortgage backstops is a good idea. I probably agree with that. But there is no reason for them to be publicly traded companies.