The Spectacle Blog

Obama’s Pre-Election Mortgage Payoff?

By on 8.5.10 | 8:44AM

James Pethokoukis has an alarming report:

Main Street may be about to get its own gigantic bailout. Rumors are running wild from Washington to Wall Street that the Obama administration is about to order government-controlled lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to forgive a portion of the mortgage debt of millions of Americans who owe more than what their homes are worth. An estimated 15 million U.S. mortgages - one in five - are underwater with negative equity of some $800 billion. Recall that on Christmas Eve 2009, the Treasury Department waived a $400 billion limit on financial assistance to Fannie and Freddie, pledging unlimited help. The actual vehicle for the bailout could be the Bush-era Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, a sister program to Obama's loan modification effort. HARP was just extended through June 30, 2011.

Read on for Pethokoukis's reasoning. This is just one of the many serious problems with allowing Fannie and Freddie to continue on as government-owned entities.

UPDATE: 2:30 -- Here is a more skeptical take. But at the Atlantic, David Indiviglio thinks it's a real possibility

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