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Fanny & Freddy Are F-Words

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The San Jose Mercury reports this Thursday morning that the honchos at the federally bailed-out Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are worried about a new program that will reduce the up-front costs of greening one's private residence, such things as solar energy recovery, solar water heating, low volume flushes, etc. These geniuses have stopped the program dead in its tracks!

F&F are worried about "green liens" that would be paid off before F&F mortgages. It is almost as simple as that.

Well, two things, homeowners are not obliged to consult with Freddy or Fanny before engaging any other contractors whose rights are already firmly established in the "mechanic's lien" concept of law. So, on the face of it, F&F are yipping and snarling about something that is really nothing new at all and with which they will have to deal whether this new program is inaugurated or not. So, why are they doing this?

Some nervous Nellie "rising star" in these unbelievably poorly managed agencies saw that the government was going to stimulate a program that would, inevitably, lead to a a number of "mechanic's liens" being placed on F&F mortgaged properties and thought--without thinking--that this was the government shooting itself in the foot. Ah, an opportunity to channel Proxmire he/she "thought!" Some other smartie saw an opening for F&F to be bailed out of the unenviable position of being second to "mechanic's liens" all over the country. They decided to run some figures and doubtless the total came to an impressive number. They did not provide the White House or Treasury with the percentage, you can bet!

F&F are not going to stop this bill. They are just looking for ways to reduce their risks. But, they are looking in the wrong places and holding up progress on a very important program. The "risk" of a mechanic's lien being placed ahead of mortgager recourse is deliberate and part of Main Street's protection. F&F should be quietly told to back F&F off and shut up!

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James R. Brett, Ph.D. taught Russian History before (and during) a long stint as an academic administrator in faculty research administration. His academic interests are the modern period of Russian History since Peter the Great, Chinese (more...)

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