Monday, September 8, 2008
CEO: Fannie/Freddie Bailout Makes America 'More Communist than China'
Rogers Holdings chief tells CNBC Europe U.S. brand of socialism is meant only for the rich.
By Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
9/8/2008 5:24:06 PM
Has America created its own variety of communism with the U.S. Treasury Department’s bailout of two beleaguered government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE)? According to Rogers Holding CEO Jim Rogers, the answer is yes.
“America is more communist than China is right now,” Rogers told CNBC Europe’s “Squawk Box Europe” September 8. “You can at least have a free market in housing and a lot of other things in China. And you can see that this is welfare for the rich. This is socialism for the rich. It’s bailing out the financiers, the banks, the Wall Streeters."
Rogers, known for launching the Quantum Fund with left-wing heavyweight George Soros, said the bailout was not benefiting homeowners or helping average citizens improve their standing for a home mortgage.
“It’s not bailing out the homeowners who are in trouble, by the way,” Rogers said. “It’s not bailing out people who want a mortgage – it’s just bailing out financial institutions. This is not my idea of the way things are supposed to be, but if that’s what America wants, you know, it can elect people who are going to do it. I think it’s a mistake.”
The Rogers Holdings CEO had little confidence that Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, Ill., or Republican vice-presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, would be able to do anything to steer Fannie or Freddie on a more stable path.
“This is a big huge mess and neither one of them has a clue as to what to do next year,” Rogers said. “Bank stocks around the world are going through the roof, that’s because they’ve all been bailed out. You don’t see the homeowners in Kansas going through the roof because they’re not being bailed out.”
Rogers had previously called for Fannie and Freddie to be allowed to go bankrupt. “They should not be bailed out,” he told “Worldwide Exchange” July 15. “This is outrageous. Who are these people who are taking our money and doing this and ruining America?”
“Let the patient go bankrupt,” he said. “We have courts in America; they will be reorganized.”
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were “wove a mantle of invincibility” through lobbying according to a September 8 Wall Street Journal “Deal Journal” blog post. According to the Journal’s Heidi N. Moore, the mortgage giants had $170 million in lobbying bills in the past decade and spent $3.5 million on lobbying just in this year’s first quarter, spreading their largesse among 42 outside lobbying firms.
Earlier on September 8, CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer called the bailout “a homerun plan” on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
I essentially agree with the thrust of the article: This bailout using taxpayer funds does not directly benefit the average taxpayer. The vast amount of the benefits accrue to the holders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds, who are garnering a windfall profit from this action.