Neil Barofsky's Dog Whistle
By Arnold Kling
Apparently, humans cannot hear what the TARP whistleblower is saying, which is that the government bailouts could wind up costing taxpayers $23.7 trillion.
Barofsky’s estimates include $2.3 trillion in programs offered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., $7.4 trillion in TARP and other aid from the Treasury and $7.2 trillion in federal money for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, credit unions, Veterans Affairs and other federal programs.
I cannot speak to all of Barofsky’s estimates, but I can almost guarantee that Freddie and Fannie are in the process of racking up huge taxpayer losses. They are losing money on loan modifications. They have been providing mortgage loans at 5 percent or less, when unsubsidized market rates would be much higher. I do not have many contacts at Freddie Mac any more, but the folks I talk to despair that the company is nothing but a political vehicle at this point, with profit considerations nonexistent.
Of course, the Fed/Treasury view is that there are no losses anywhere. It’s just a matter of restoring confidence in financial institutions. I just wish I could have some confidence in the Fed or the Treasury.