Robert J. Samuelson’s Nov. 16 op-ed column, “Why Fannie Mae survived,” failed to name the true culprits of the failed housing finance reform effort: ideologues on both ends of the political spectrum.
The House Freedom Caucus wing of the GOP seeks to drive the government out of every corner of the market, and the liberal Democrats, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), are equally unrealistic in their approach. Add the weak-kneed trade groups that pay only lip service to reform, and you have an unholy alliance that killed a rare bipartisan housing finance reform effort in the last Congress.
The measure, approved last year by the Senate Banking Committee, would have provided certainty to the marketplace, increased the role of private capital in the U.S. housing finance system, shuttered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and transitioned to a private-sector-oriented system in which the federal government’s role is clear but its exposure is limited.
It’s time conservatives and liberals stop fueling congressional gridlock and allow Congress to put an end to this untenable status quo. We can reform the system while maintaining the proper level of government support for housing. We just need to find the political will.
Tom Woods, Washington
The writer is chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.