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GANGSTER GOVERNMENT REVISITED


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gangster-government-revisited.php

Michael Barone dubbed the Obama administration’s casual attitude toward fundamental legal niceties “gangster government.” Based on recently unsealed documents in the shareholder litigation over the government’s appropriation of the profits of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, New York Times business columnist Gretchen Morgenson provides one more striking case study:
In August 2012, the federal government abruptly changed the terms of the bailout provided to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants that had been devastated by the financial crisis. Instead of continuing to receive payments on the taxpayer assistance, Treasury officials decided to begin seizing all the profits both companies generated every quarter.
It was an unusual move, given that the companies still had public shareholders. But it was necessary, the Treasury said, to protect taxpayers from likely future losses in their operations. Justice Department lawyers have reiterated this view in court, saying that the bailout terms were modified because the companies were in a death spiral.
But newly unsealed documents show that as early as December 2011, high-level Treasury officials knew that Fannie and Freddie would soon become profitable again. The materials also show that government officials involved in the decision to divert the profits knew the change would most likely generate more money for Treasury than the original rescue terms, which required the companies to pay taxpayers 10 percent annually on the bailout assistance they had received.:snip:

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