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Old 03-09-2010, 10:32 AM
Franc Tireur Franc Tireur is offline
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U.S. housing giants are city-sized property owners

Home ownership in the United States ranks up there with apple pie and motherhood. The government has championed it for decades, through tax breaks, mortgage guarantees and most recently the Herculean task of keeping Americans in their homes after the housing market collapse. But government subsidies of the American Dream also have a darker side: when things head south, taxpayers end up on the hook.

Government-run mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac owned more than 131,000 properties between them at the end of 2009, according to recent annual filings. Thatís roughly the equivalent of San Franciscoís owner-occupied housing stock ó and itís up substantially from 2008, despite the two giant companiesí efforts last year offloading nearly 200,000 units that they ended up with after their previous owners defaulted.

Taking the government out of the mortgage guarantee business can be done only if big corporations raise workers' wages.

If they had never decreased their wages in the first place, when we all know they are profitable companies, perhaps less help from the governement would be needed and people could be more responsible.
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