A July 5 editorial in the Dallas Morning News recently noted that, “providing available and affordable housing loans is an important public mission…and no one should willingly weaken this effort.” That same article concludes: “Congress must rethink the federal government’s neither-fish-nor-fowl relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and decide whether the federal government should remain the mortgage market’s traffic cop, or whether competition and access are better served if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didn’t operate from a playing field intentionally tilted in their favor.”
What is the point of suggesting that housing is an important public concern and then proposing to rob it of the national commitment that has been indispensable in creating the soundest, most effective and efficient home financing system anywhere in the world today?
The truth is that our housing finance delivery system would not be where it is today without Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And as we look to address the housing needs of our growing population, we will not get to where we want to be in the future if their strength is sapped. That is a current danger in Washington.
As hearings in Congress continue, lawmakers need to gather all the facts and take a cautious approach to any reform or change in the regulatory oversight of the GSEs. Otherwise, we risk damaging our national priority for housing and creating a financing system that would give the editorialists at the Dallas Morning News something to really complain about.