The Mac Mae Safety net

The federal government recently took control of the two corporate, government-backed mortgage companies, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and it now plans to inject both companies with as much as $100 billion each âÄî costing taxpayers up to $200 billion. This necessary move effectively makes the federal government the nationâÄôs largest mortgage lender. That the bailout was necessary, however, could portend a grim fiscal future for graduating students planning on taking out loans. Indeed, the mortgage giants failed amid an already shaky economy that overseas investors have loathed to dip their hands into. In the meantime, the housing crisis âÄî among other causes âÄî apparently forced the Bush administration to rescue the companies. Treasury Secretary Henry PaulsonâÄôs attempts at convincing those international investors that the federal government would indeed rescue the companies got a vote of no confidence because they thought the feds would let the companies fail. With the dollar sliding and international investors doubting the United States would be good on its word, the Bush administration plans on re-privatizing the companies. The taxpayers will foot the bill and the future is uncertain for graduating students entering one of the worst job markets since the early 1980s. Bailouts for big banks and mortgage lenders this year have been the trend because, the government argues, these companies are the backbone of our economy. While we agree with that assertion and see these safety nets as necessary, future administrations will need to create penalties for these companies and the âÄúdrunkâÄù investors and CEOs who run them âÄî as President Bush called them. Students âÄî especially those taking out school, credit card, car or even home loans âÄî should be wary. Indeed, especially the former: New YorkâÄôs Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has cracked down on irresponsible private lenders, called the private student loan industry the âÄúWild West.âÄù Companies like Fannie and Freddie can be fiscally reckless but you cannot. ThatâÄôs the message the administration and business leaders are sending students, and itâÄôs a foreboding one.