Alex J. Pollock is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies and writes about housing finance; government-sponsored enterprises, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks; retirement finance; and banking and central banks. He also works on corporate governance and accounting standards issues.
Pollock has had a 35-year career in banking and was president and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago for more than 12 years immediately before joining AEI. A prolific writer, he has written numerous articles on financial systems and is the author of the book “Boom and Bust: Financial Cycles and Human Prosperity” (AEI Press, 2011). He has also created a one-page mortgage form to help borrowers understand their mortgage obligations.
The lead director of CME Group, Pollock is also a director of the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and the chairman of the board of the Great Books Foundation. He is a past president of the International Union for Housing Finance.
He has an M.P.A. in international relations from Princeton University, an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Williams College.
A lively and informed discussion was held at the American Enterprise Institute on March 20, 2014 on the question: Is the Federal Reserve a philosopher king or servant of the treasury? Alex Pollock, a frequent contributor to Law and Liberty and participant in the AEI discussion, offers here in condensed form the arguments and the instructive history presented.
Everybody talks about fixing the problem of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but it is hard to make anything actually happen. I propose for immediate action to treat Fannie and Freddie exactly like a Too Big To Fail (TBTF) bank.
Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber, combining their scholarly command of banking and political institutions, have published a book full of fertile ideas, instructive histories of the evolution of a number of banking systems, and provocative interpretations of the co-dependency between banks and governments.
This event will examine the complicated institutional structure and politics of the Fed and the fundamental changes from its original design, and will consider where governance of the Fed may go from here.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, operating entirely as an arm of the government, entirely dependent on the credit of the government, and getting huge subsidies and favors from the government, have begun making large profits, all of which they are paying to the US Treasury. Speculators in the old, junior preferred stock and common stock of Fannie and Freddie are objecting that this is unjust.