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What's so special about the 30-year mortgage?

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There's nothing wrong with these loans, but there's no good policy reason why taxpayers should subsidize them. One remarkable feature of the current debate in Washington about the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is the prominence given to one kind of mortgage—the 30-year, fixed-rate loan. The proponents of a continuing role for government in housing finance are going from office to office on Capitol Hill arguing that, without government backing, American homeowners will not have access to this particular loan. Many legislators believe that the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is good for homeowners and good for the government to support as a matter of policy.

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