Nationalize Freddie and Fannie, Greenspan says


They've been given the key to the Treasury, and shorting them has been outlawed. So, Alan, haven't they been nationalized already?

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Greenspan Says Housing Prices Not Yet Near Bottom

By Steve Matthews
Bloomberg News Service
Thursday, July 31, 2008

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said falling U.S. home prices are "nowhere near the bottom" and the resulting market turmoil isn't showing signs of abating.

While the odds of a recession are 50-50, achieving stable markets will "take a while," Greenspan said today in a CNBC interview.

The economy grew at a 1.9 percent annualized rate in the second quarter after expanding 0.9 percent in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said in Washington. Gross domestic product was revised to show a contraction in the final three months of 2007.

More Americans filed claims for unemployment insurance last week than at any time in more than five years, the Labor Department said. Fed policy makers have cut the benchmark rate to 2 percent from 5.25 percent since September, halting the reductions in June amid rising concern about inflation.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest sources of money for U.S. home loans, are a "major accident waiting to happen," Greenspan said. "The solution" is the "nationalization" of the companies, he said.

After the former Fed chairman spoke, Washington-based Fannie Mae dropped 69 cents, or 5.7 percent, to $11.52 at 3:48 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Freddie Mac fell 55 cents, or 6.3 percent, to $8.18.

"It important that we focus on stabilizing the financial system," Greenspan said. Policy makers also need to reconcile slowing economic growth with rising prices, he said.

The U.S. faces "a very substantial change in the balance between growth and inflation," Greenspan said.

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