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Leveling the Playing Field

Recorded on October 22, 2003

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The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Freddie Mac's accounting lapses and the resulting management changes raise serious questions about the effectiveness of their government regulator. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are multi-trillion dollar congressionally chartered private companies that play a huge role in America's housing industry. Even the slightest concern about their finances could have serious consequences for a vital sector of the US economy, and legislation has been proposed to strengthen the regulator. A financially sound Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac that focuses on its mission, and not on extraneous profit making opportunities for its stockholders, will result in lower mortgage rates for all homebuyers and for low-income homebuyers in particular.

An October 8 House Financial Services Committee markup was cancelled when questions rose about whether Chairman Mike Oxley's bill could be strengthened by adding additional, more effective regulatory tools. What is the best way to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to preserve a growing housing market - and especially one that creates new opportunities for lower income families? What is the best way to create a regulator that will ensure that both companies remain financially sound and compete fairly?