GSE reform: A good start
Since Sept. 6, 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have existed in a sort of limbo. We couldn't even call it bankruptcy. Failure of this magnitude needed a new word: conservatorship. And there they linger. Together with the Federal Housing Administration, the two firms supported 95% of the mortgage market while shedding legacy securities and assets. Since the third quarter of 2008, Fannie and Freddie have reported a combined $228.7 billion in losses through the third quarter of 2010, and they have pulled another $147 billion in cash from the Treasury Department. But finally, the Treasury released its much-anticipated white paper on the future of housing finance. Market commentators and analysts were quick to reply with "there were no big surprises," and critics complained that there was no real set plan for what would replace Fannie and Freddie. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner quickly pointed out that the Dodd-Frank Act only required options and a list of pros and cons for each.