Sing, O Muse, of Fannie and Freddie -- those two great financial titans who did so much to bring about the financial meltdown of 2008 and the unending Great Recession.
Tell us of the funny business of how Fannie and Freddie passed out campaign contributions left and right (but more to the left than the right) and how hard they worked to undermine banking standards and to encourage the banks to make hundreds of billions of dollars of home mortgages that may never be repaid.
Tell us again of how Fannie's CEO's, James A. Johnson and Franklin Raines, made themselves immensely rich in engineering this whole catastrophe… and how their two biggest sponsors in Congress -- U.S. Senator Christopher Dowd of Connecticut and Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts -- had the temerity (when the Democrats had large majorities in both houses) to put their names on a 2,319-page "financial reform" act that all but guarantees future bailouts for big financial institutions. For liberal Democrats concerned with public policy, there can never be too much of a bad thing.
The rescue of the two government-sponsored mortgage giants that went into government conservatorship in September 2008 has already cost taxpayers $134 billion and it could grow to as much as a trillion. According to the Wall Street Journal, that makes Fannie and Freddie "the biggest bailout in American history" -- exceeding the GM, AIG and Citibank bailouts.
Nevertheless, Fannie Mae execs are prepared to pay well for hired help in crafting the speeches that will call for the federal government to continue to cover an unlimited amount of losses in years ahead. Here is a help-wanted ad sent out to speechwriters:
Fannie Mae is seeking experienced internal communications professionals who have at least 6 years of experience for two Communications Specialist positions. Salary is in the low 100s and the position is located in Washington, DC. Qualified candidates will have the following:
• Leadership/influencing skills; can influence highest levels of the organization; shapes business outcomes.
• Communications skills; great instincts to shape senior executives thinking, guide communications planning, strategy; flawless execution.
• Messaging/writing; excellent news/executive writing skills; great message development.
• Must have and demonstrate experience writing internal communications for senior executives such as CEO, COO, CFO . . . (more along the same lines)
Send resumes to:
Fannie Mae, Talent Recruiting Center
Just think: If the new person is paid $125,000 and has a spouse who earns an equal amount, together they will qualify as millionaires and billionaires under President Obama's soak-the-rich tax scheme that starts at couples earning $250,000.<
Typically, an incoming speechwriter will search the company archives for examples of what worked for his predecessors in serving their masters. But that was when Johnson and Raines were espousing damn-the-torpedoes, full-speed-ahead lending to people of unknown or proven bad credit worthiness. Though it won't be of much use to the new guy, there are buried gems like this one from a speech by Raines in May 2000:
"What Congress did turned out to be absolutely brilliant -- it created a system that harnesses private enterprise and private capital to deliver the public benefit of home ownership. And it maximizes this public benefit while minimizing the public risk, and without spending a nickel of public funds."
Nowadays, the best that Fannie Mae execs can do is to rhapsodize over how they are trying to make things a little easier for over-extended borrowers, even if their efforts come at the expense of over-extended taxpayers -- who are, in fact, being asked to make up for the mistakes of others who acted in a less prudent and responsible manner.
So while you are at it, O Muse, you might try to save a little inspiration for the new scribe at Fannie Mae. This paragon of "flawless execution" has chosen (or will have chosen) to join a sinking -- or really, an already sunken -- ship.
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