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The Housing Market Is Still Missing a Backbone
The New York Times / August 12, 2013
In a speech in Phoenix last Tuesday, President Obama finally entered the debate over the future of United States housing policy. But his talking points offered few details about how to reduce the government’s giant footprint in the mortgage market.
Mr. Obama vowed to keep mortgage costs affordable for first-time home buyers and working families, pleasing those who think that the government should have a large role in this arena. His call for investment in rental housing was a welcome change from past mantras that focused solely on increasing homeownership across the country.
But as if to prove how hard this will be, both companies later in the week announced enormous profits for the second quarter of this year, most of which go to the government in the form of dividends. Together, the companies reported $15 billion in profits; with Treasury on the receiving end of this lush income stream, it will be tempting to keep the mortgage finance giants in business.