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More proof federal mortgage guarantees are inevitable

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Despite the overwhelming evidence provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that mortgage guarantees can be a very dangerous business, they continue to remain the "solution" to the future of housing finance Congress leans towards. In a House Financial Services Committee hearing today, of the nine witnesses testifying only one explicitly speaks out against some form of federal guarantees. Meanwhile, seven say they're the best answer and one remains agnostic. Who are these witnesses? They include * A mortgage banker (Mr. Michael J. Heid, Co-President of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Chairman of the Housing Policy Council of The Financial Services Roundtable) * 2 financial services lobbyists (The Honorable Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Advocacy, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, Mr. Tom Deutsch, Executive Director, American Securitization Forum) * 2 business school professors (Phillip L. Swagel, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University; Susan Wachter, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania) * An affordable housing advocate (Mr. Michael Bodaken, President, National Housing Trust) * An economist think-taker (Mr. Christopher Papagianis, Managing Director, Economics21) * An real estate investor (Mr. Michael A.J. Farrell, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Annaly Capital Management, Inc.) * A former Fannie Mae credit officer (Mr. Ed Pinto, Real Estate Financial Services Consultant) Can you guess which one is against government guarantees? The only one with actual experience with them: former Fannie Mae credit officer Ed Pinto. The economist doesn't take a stand, but outlines the pros and cons. The banker, investor, lobbyists, academics, and affordable housing advocate all favor the government guarantees. The only witness who speaks against guarantees also happens to be the only one who has seen them in action first-hand.

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