This morning, Fannie Mae (FNM) announced that it had lost another $23 billion in the quarter, and would have to call down $19 billion more in taxpayer support. It also said that it would face losses as far as the eye can see.
Do you know how much we’ve committed to backstopping Fannie and its partner-in-crime Freddie Mac (FRE)? $400 BILLION! Back in February that was doubled from the original $200 billion.
But the news of the quarterly loss is getting hardly any attention. Nothing here at the NYT business section, for example. Nothing at the blogs that were going nuts when AIG was revealed to have paid out bonuses back in March.
The problem is that the Fannie and Freddie disasters don’t fit into any conventional media narrative. At AIG you had Joe Cassano, lurking in the shadows, turning AIGFP into his own personal casino, while taking home gargantuan pay.
Fannie Mae? They help nice families get into homes. Their motto is something about helping the people who help house America. Who could be against that? Plus, the Fannie and Freddy story doesn’t help explain the idea that laissez-faire deregulation is what allowed Wall Street to go crazy. Fannie and Freddy had their own freakin’ regulator, OFHEO. Two companies with one regulator to look into both of them.
And then you have all the Democrats on the inside (Rahm Emanuel, for example) on the outside (Barney Frank), who have ties to the company’s worst years.
If AIG (AIG) ever has to ask for one more dollar to pay counterparties like Goldman Sachs (cue the ominous music!), there’ll be a fresh round of media outrage. Fannie and Freddie continue to blow through cash though, and it goes without a peep, depriving the public insight into one of the more important aspects of the housing bubble and the crisis.