These are dark days for those who believe in free markets and limited government. Each day brings a new story of a new, major financial company in trouble and now Congress is dickering over a $700 billion taxpayer-financed bailout package. Many on the left like EJ Dionne and even the supposedly conservative presidential candidate John McCain is blaming “greed.” Unfortunately, the conventional wisdom seems to be that massive government intervention is necessary because the financial markets are “broken.” Of course, the implication is that we have a free market and it is capitalism, not government, that has created the problem.
The reality could not be more different. Back in 2000, my former colleague Jeff Dircksen at the National Taxpayers Union stated that:
The secret of (Fannie’s and Freddie’s) success –subsidies– could also prove to be their undoing. Given their market dominance, Fannie and Freddie may need to pursue increasingly risky loans to maintain a portfolio that has grown at 18 percent per year over the past decade. An economic downturn or a change in interest rates could cause substantial numbers of higher-risk borrowers to default, sending Fannie and Freddie’s stock prices tumbling, and leaving taxpayers holding the bag.
NTU is not alone in blaming Fannie and Freddie for being at the heart of the crisis. The Wall Street Journal carried an excellent article yesterday that pinned blame on the two mortgage giants. Economic analyst Peter Ferrara has also said much the same thing.
Unfortunately, offering the correct analysis is not always enough when the media has fixated on “greed” and the misdeeds of Wall Street titans. We who understand the reality of the situation must simply keep hammering away with the truth and it will set us free.
Oh, and if you are opposed to the current plan to use 700 billion taxpayer dollars to bail out Wall Street, click here to sign this petition from the National Taxpayers Union.