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Days of Slaughter

Inside the Fall of Freddie Mac and Why It Could Happen Again

Susan Wharton Gates

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The untold story of the disastrous financial and ethical unwinding of Freddie Mac.

In September 2008, beset by mounting losses on high-risk mortgages and mortgage securities, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation teetered on the brink of insolvency. Fearing that confidence in the housing market would collapse completely if Freddie Mac and its competitor Fannie Mae failed, the US government made the difficult decision to place the two firms into conservatorship, taking control away from shareholders. Although the taxpayer commitment of hundreds of billions was meant to stabilize the housing…

The untold story of the disastrous financial and ethical unwinding of Freddie Mac.

In September 2008, beset by mounting losses on high-risk mortgages and mortgage securities, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation teetered on the brink of insolvency. Fearing that confidence in the housing market would collapse completely if Freddie Mac and its competitor Fannie Mae failed, the US government made the difficult decision to place the two firms into conservatorship, taking control away from shareholders. Although the taxpayer commitment of hundreds of billions was meant to stabilize the housing finance system, Freddie’s fall at the start of the financial crisis set off shockwaves around the world.

In Days of Slaughter, Susan Wharton Gates, a former 19-year Freddie Mac employee and vice president of public policy, provides a vivid eyewitness account of the competing economic and political forces that led to massive losses for shareholders, investors, homeowners—and taxpayers. With a keen eye to the policy landscape, Gates relates the fateful decisions that led to Freddie Mac’s downfall and desperate rescue. She also examines today’s worrisome headlines about potential future bailouts, the uneven housing recovery, and stymied congressional reform efforts. Throughout the book, Gates argues convincingly that policymakers will be unable to safely reform the massive housing finance system that currently rests squarely on taxpayer shoulders without addressing deeper issues of ideology, moral hazard, and interest group politics.

The first book to tell the story of Freddie Mac from an insider perspective—while casting a prophetic eye to the future—this first-hand account of housing policies, complex financial transactions, and the crazy quilt of federal and state actors involved in the Great Recession is a must-read. A cautionary tale of failed policies and corporate mismanagement that compellingly addresses previously unexplored issues of political ideology, organizational dynamics, and ethics, Days of Slaughter will appeal to readers everywhere who want a fuller explanation of what went awry in the US housing market.

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Days of Slaughter

Susan Wharton Gates

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Reviews

This detailed, thoughtful examination of the GSEs before, during, and after the crisis is a welcome contribution to the historical record of a turbulent time.

Highly recommended.

[Gates] accurately portrays the dysfunctional policies advocated by rapacious industry trade groups, self-styled "consumer advocates," and politicians of all persuasions.

Days of Slaughter provides an insider's view as to what were some economic, political, and management issues that led to the collapse of Freddie Mac.

Susan Wharton Gates was a 19-year veteran of Freddie Mac who departed shortly after conservatorship. Her treatise provides insights to the machinations, both within the walls of Freddie Mac and outside, that preceded the mortgage market crisis. Unique to her account, and what sets it apart from those of other authors, is her first-hand view of the events leading up to the demise of the privately owned GSEs.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
304
ISBN
9781421421933
Table of Contents

Key Acronyms
Acknowledgements
Prologue – Acknowledging the Obvious
Chapter 1. Reckoning Day
Chapter 2. Homeownership: Dream or Nightmare?
Chapter 3. Securitization Breakdown
Chapter 4. Charter Confusion

Key Acronyms
Acknowledgements
Prologue – Acknowledging the Obvious
Chapter 1. Reckoning Day
Chapter 2. Homeownership: Dream or Nightmare?
Chapter 3. Securitization Breakdown
Chapter 4. Charter Confusion
Chapter 5. Affordable Housing
Chapter 6. Subprime Semantics
Chapter 7. Political Capture
Chapter 8. Who's Ultimately Responsible?
Chapter 9. Scandal (s)
Chapter 10. Battle for Credit Leadership
Chapter 11. One Tough Bill
Chapter 12. Stand Up and Say
Chapter 13. The Unraveling
Chapter 14. Sad Goodbyes
Chapter 15. Housing's Future
Chapter 16. Wherefore Ethics?

Author Bio
Susan Wharton Gates
Featured Contributor

Susan Wharton Gates

Susan Wharton Gates, the founder of the Wharton Policy Group, LLC, teaches at Virginia Tech’s Center for Public Administration and Policy and the Pamplin School of Business. She is also a capstone advisor for Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate program.