Backgrounder posted April 10, 2013
Eight Steps to Eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—Permanently
Now that housing is beginning to show signs of a sustained recovery, it is time to create a new and modern private-sector housing finance system to replace the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)—the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac)—that caused many of the problems. Between the time…
Issue Brief posted January 14, 2013
Mortgage Regulation: Is CFPB Qualified?
More stringent regulation of mortgage lending constitutes a sizable chunk of the vast Dodd–Frank statute. As required, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Thursday released more than 800 pages of rules that will largely determine the availability and cost of mortgages. Neither consumers nor creditors emerge as winners.
The mortgage rules were called for by…
Issue Brief posted December 19, 2012
Three Social Security Fixes to Solve the Real Fiscal Crisis
A solution to the fiscal cliff should include changes to Social Security. Demands that Social Security should be taken off the table, such as those made by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and several others, are both misguided and wrong.
Although Social Security has a trust fund that will last for just over 20 years, it is already running massive cash-flow deficits that…
Issue Brief posted December 10, 2012
TAG: Phase Out Unlimited Bank Deposit Guarantees
In 2008, in the midst of a financial crisis, federal regulators extended bank deposit guarantees beyond the statutory $250,000 limit to cover all “transaction,” or checking, deposits. Later codified by Congress, the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program is due to expire on December 31, 2012. Congress is considering a two-year extension. It should not do so.
Issue Brief posted November 27, 2012
Stop the Menendez–Boxer Sideshow: End Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Now
It is time to end Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For over four years, Congress has failed to start the process of phasing out the two failed mortgage finance giants and replace them with a private-sector mortgage finance system. Most of the time, opponents used the excuse that housing markets were just too weak to do anything that might delay the housing recovery, leaving…
Issue Brief posted October 18, 2012
Time to Address the Retirement Savings Crisis
Americans’ ability to build a secure retirement is increasingly in danger. In addition to Social Security’s rapidly approaching fiscal problems and underfunded traditional defined-benefit pensions, the retirement savings system is available to only about half of the workforce and needs other improvements before today’s workers can create sufficient retirement income. The…
Testimony posted September 11, 2012
TRIA: Time to End the Program
Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity,
Committee on Financial Services,
House of Representatives
September 11, 2012
Chairman Biggert and Ranking Member Gutierrez, thank you for inviting me to participate in this hearing. I am David C. John, the Senior Research…
Issue Brief posted August 7, 2012
LIBOR Rigging Scandal: No New Laws Necessary
As the evidence mounts about the scope of efforts to rig the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a significant financial index, the predictable calls for new laws and even a radical restructuring of major segments of the financial services industry are coming from both the U.S. and Europe.
However, facts show that new laws are not needed. The system worked. It is…
Backgrounder posted June 12, 2012
Postal Pension “Refund” Is a Disguised Taxpayer Bailout
Abstract: Calls to refund “overpayments” by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to the retirement of postal workers are misguided. The estimates of overpayments are inflated by overly optimistic assumptions, as recent years have demonstrated. A refund would leave taxpayers on the hook for future shortfalls in USPS retirement funding. The better choice is to follow the…
Issue Brief posted June 11, 2012
Reauthorize and Reform the Flood Insurance Program
Congress should reauthorize and reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The failure of Congress to pass a longer term reauthorization since the last one expired in September 2008 has delayed necessary reforms. In addition, since there are no private providers of general flood insurance coverage in the United States, all such policies come through the NFIP. The…
Issue Brief posted April 26, 2012
Volcker Rule May Make the Financial and Banking System Riskier
By now, it should be clear even to casual observers that the Volcker Rule, which was intended to limit the “risky” activities of banks by banning them from certain types of transactions, will be nearly impossible to implement without severe unintended damage to the U.S. financial system and many other types of businesses both here in the U.S. and overseas.
Issue Brief posted April 23, 2012
Social Security Finances Significantly Worse, Says 2012 Trustees Report
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.”
—John F. Kennedy
“Lawmakers should not delay addressing the long-run financial challenges facing Social Security and Medicare,” the trustees wrote. “If they take action sooner rather than later, more options and more time will be available to…