Headline of a Wall St Journal piece. Fed Reserve governor Jerome Powell wants more private investors to buy into Fanny and Freddy, so that next time Fanny and Freddy go bust, private investors will lose money rather than taxpayers. Everyone always thought that Uncle Sam stood behind Fanny and Freddy even though the fine print in the enabling laws did not so state. This wide spread belief allowed Fanny and Freddy to borrow money on the credit of the United States, which meant they could raise money for 3-4%, really cheap. But when Fanny and Freddy went bust in 2008, Uncle decided us taxpayers were on the hook for $140 billion to avoid besmirching the reputation of the US treasury.
Fanny and Freddy didn't cause much trouble until the 1980's when they started buying mortgages off banks. The real estate industry loved this, it made more mortgage money available. Sell a mortgage to Fanny or Freddy, and presto, the bank has the cash to make yet another mortgage. Fanny and Freddy recovered the money by selling bonds on Wall St. They said "Look, these bonds are 'backed' by real estate." Suckers fell for this, and for a while the bonds sold like hotcakes.
The banks, now that they could unload their mortgages started writing really bad mortgages, "sub prime" and "alt-A" to borrowers who would never be able to pay off the mortgage. No matter, long as we dump this worthless mortgage on Fanny and Freddy we are OK. This continued until the sucker investors wised up to the fact that "backed by real estate" meant nothing. They didn't have the right to foreclose and repossess the real estate. So the bonds stopped selling, and Fanny and Freddy went Chapter 11. For $140 billion. This touched off Great Depression 2.0.
In actual fact, we ought to shut Fanny and Freddy down, for good. We don't need them to "make more mortgage money available". Mortgages are profitable and safe. We used to say "Safe as houses". If the borrower fails to pay, the lender gets the house. Home mortgage borrowers are strongly motivated to keep up the payments, who wants to explain to a spouse that they are getting evicted? Far more secure than the stock market.
Shut down Fanny and Freddy. The real estate industry (brokers, builders, appliance makers, lumber industry) will cry a lot, but life will go on.