I Wish Larry Summers Had a Blog
Over at the Creative Capitalism site, Larry gets to the nub of the Freddie-Fannie issue.
What went wrong? The illusion that the companies were doing virtuous work made it impossible to build a political case for serious regulation. When there were social failures the companies always blamed their need to perform for the shareholders. When there were business failures it was always the result of their social obligations. Government budget discipline was not appropriate because it was always emphasized that they were “private companies.” But market discipline was nearly nonexistent given the general perception — now validated — that their debt was government backed. Little wonder with gains privatized and losses socialized that the enterprises have gambled their way into financial catastrophe.
It’s one of the best blog posts you’ll ever see. Read the whole thing.