In the crisis that engulfed the global financial system in 2008, the collapse of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) inflicted the heaviest losses of all on U.S. taxpayers. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the cost of bailing out the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) could ultimately total $350 billion. Unlike the banks that received massive government loans, guarantees, and insurance, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have little prospect of ever repaying Uncle Sam. Notwithstanding this stark evidence of fundamental flaws in the structure and mission of the GSEs, the sweeping legislative response to the financial crisis — the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 — dealt with the GSEs only by calling for a study of how they could be reformed.
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