The Marc Steiner Show

September 17, 2008

On September 7th, 2008, the federal government announced a takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a disturbing – if not entirely surprising – demonstration of the restructuring the financial industry has undergone in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis.

On our show today, we talked about the roots of this crisis and debate what the path the financial industry needs to take now.

We opened with an in-studio panel consisting of Dr. Bala Subrmaian, Professor of Business at Morgan State University; Robert Strupp, Director of Research & Policy at the Community Law Center; and Dr. Steve Isberg, associate professor of Finance at the Universty of Baltimore and Senior Research Fellow at the Credit Research Foundation.

In the second half, we spoke on the phone to John Gapper, associate editor and chief business Commentator of the Financial Times and Robert Creamer, founder of the Strategic Consulting Group, author of Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, and a well known blogger for the Huffington Post.

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Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday thru Friday from 10AM to Noon on WEAA 88.9 FM. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Call us at 410.319.8888 or email us to participate live in the show, or share your comments on our site! Aren’t in Baltimore but want to listen? Stream the show live.


Comments

  1. 1. News Clips:

    I like the feature of featuring a few news clips at the top of the hour.

     

    2. Real Estate Fraud:

    The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation online database lists one unit in my condominium building as being the principal residence of its owner. The owner has never lived in the unit. He is a real estate investor/speculator who lives in Virginia.

    I don’t know if the MdDAT database accurately shows the information in the transaction documents. If the documents say the unit is the principal residence of the owner, some questions are raised.

    First, Maryland and its taxpayers are being defrauded in property tax collections.

    Second, I don’t know if the property was purchased with a mortgage or if it was bought for cash. If the property was purchased with a mortgage, and if the buyer represented that the property would be the buyer’s principal residence. the lender was defrauded, or perhaps the lender colluded with the buyer to perpetrate fraud.

    Third, does an out-of-state resident need any kind of license to do business in Maryland as a real estate speculator? For that matter, does a Marylander need such a license? If yes, does the license involve any kind of effective oversight? If no, should licensing of real estate speculators be required, would it do any good?

    Here is the MdDAT page to begin searching ownership records in your neighborhood:

    http://sdatcert3.resiusa.org/rp_rewrite/

    3. Too Big to Fail?

    Events of the past couple of weeks make me wonder if we need legislation to prohibit a company from becoming so large or so industry-dominant that its failure could severely damage the industry or even the entire economy. I never considered this possibility before, but obviously that’s where we are now. It seems like a long time since a merger has been prohibited on anti-trust grounds, although I’m not positive about this. Is existing anti-trust authority sufficient to prevent excessive consolidation if intelligently applied, or do we need something more? Should Fannie and Freddie have been broken up into smaller units when they were privatized?

    Even if sufficient authority exists in current legislation, I don’t know how regulators might decide what is too big. Not my job, though, right? Are there any communications company that is "too big to fail"? Is Microsoft "too big to fail"? Is there a health insurer "too big to fail"? Lots of questions, no answers.

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