February 13, 2012

Refi Plans Barely Appear in the Budget


Anthony Sanders expresses concern over the president's FY2013 budget, particularly in relation to housing policy.

Contact us
To speak with a scholar or learn more on this topic, visit our contact page.

My biggest concern about the president’s proposed budget is the lack of discussion over the myriad of government mortgage refinance programs like HAMP, HARP, the attorneys general settlement, and the proposed FHA refi plan outlined in the president’s State of the Union address. These programs are likely to generate massive costs to taxpayers since mortgage refinancings are paid by mortgage-backed security (MBS) investors like the Fed, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, yet they receive little attention from the administration. That is, mortgage security investors will be “taxed” by these programs, yet they barely appear in the budget.

The budget has a very optimistic forecast for the continued losses to the mortgage giants in conservatorship: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It forecasts that further losses to taxpayers will actually decline to $73 billion from the current loss to taxpayers of $131 billion.

By the end of 2013, our debt-to-GDP ratio will be 110 percent. And we are on track to hit 138.9 percent debt-to-GDP in four years. Since 2008, our federal debt has been on an unsustainable trajectory and the deficit increase by President Obama is driving another nail in our fiscal coffin.