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Fannie and Freddie and the future

This New York Times story suggests that Fannie and Freddie are going to stay in the hands of the government, partly because government likes have the tool. I think there's a chance it they will return to their quasi-private form. That's a better tool, a tool you can play with off budget. But in the middle of the article is this remarkable paragraph, the kind of paragraph that gets written with a straight face as if it's just the facts being reported, no big deal:

One reason that Fannie and Freddie will never return to their earlier
forms is simple mathematics: to become independent, Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac must repay the taxpayer dollars invested in the companies,
plus interest. Even if the firms achieve profitability, it could take
them as long as 100 years — or longer — to pay back the government. And
almost no one expects the companies to return to profitability anytime

A hundred years or longer? I guess that hasn't exactly played out the way anyone quite intended.


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