Rhetorical questions and circular logic on Fannie, Freddie

The WSJ’s Real-Time Economics blog posted copies of internal emails distributed to Freddie Mac employees by former CEO Richard Syron and new CEO David Moffett. Moffett’s best points:

I can only imagine the pressure you have been under, and the frustrations you must have felt in recent weeks. This has been a difficult and draining period for all of you … please stay focused and continue to conduct the company’s business in the ordinary course.

Because what’s taking place at the GSEs right now is anything but ordinary. And everybody at Freddie — and Fannie — knows it. Syron said decidedly little beyond corporate PR, although he zeroed in on Paulson’s remarks:

Under the conservatorship process, Treasury will backstop the GSEs, providing additional capital if future credit losses cause our capital base to be depleted. … we have had to manage significant increases in delinquencies, foreclosures and loan modifications as a result of the sharp decline in house prices. [emphasis added]

Here’s a question for HW readers: didn’t the Treasury already backstop the GSEs prior to conservatorship, agreeing to provide additional capital if credit losses warranted it? Wasn’t that the point of “Paulson’s bazooka”? Rhetorical questions, both.

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