In the 1989 movie “Weekend at Bernie’s,” a pair of young executives create the illusion that their dead boss is still alive to keep a party going. That’s not too far from the premise of this weekend’s Treasury bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants that have become financial zombies.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wants to prop up the walking dead so the world keeps buying their mortgage-backed securities. His action may calm jittery credit markets, and it may get the companies through the current mortgage crisis — albeit at enormous cost to American taxpayers.
“Why don’t we just pretend he didn’t die? Just for a bit!” –Larry Wilson
Weekend at Henry’s
Wall Street Journal
September 8, 2008