Commentary

Fannie and Freddie Losses Are Mounting

From yesterday’s WSJ:

It was another impressive three months at Fannie Mae, as Uncle Sam’s mortgage finance company reported a fourth quarter loss of $16.3 billion. That wasn’t quite as strong as the third quarter loss of $19.8 billion, but give Fannie’s managers credit for trying.

Freddie reported last week that it lost $6.5 billion in the fourth quarter and $21.6 billion for all of 2009. Freddie has so far received $50.7 billion from taxpayers, and it said last week “we expect to make additional draws” on Treasury in the future. Add Fan and Fred together, and taxpayer losses so far are $126.9 billion, and counting. When the government costs of the financial meltdown are added up, Fan and Fred will be the biggest losers.

Fannie lost $72 billion for all of 2009.

Given that these firms are essentially nationalized their debt should be on the government’s books. But that would make Congress look bad since it would have to raise the debt limit some $1.6 to $6.5 trillion—yes, with a “T”—dollars.

Anthony Randazzo

Anthony Randazzo is a senior fellow at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.