Monday, March 14, 2011

Let NPR go the Fannie way

I belong to the camp that believes that taxpayer-supported and government-directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had a big role in creating the moral hazards that led to irresponsible lending and borrowing in the housing market, ultimately contributing to exacerbating the financial crisis of the late 2000s. Therefore, I welcome the Obama administration's initiative aimed at stripping federal backing of these entities, and reducing the federal role in housing mortgages.

As much as the Friends-of-Fannie-Freddie may wail, the end of these banks as we know them will not stop Americans from taking out housing loans. It will not stop Americans from buying and selling houses.

As little as the federal government's patronage of housing finance is desirable, its patronage of public radio is lesser so. Perhaps at some point in the past, there might have been an argument for taxpayer support of radio; today there isn't. In the aftermath of the sting scandal, the federal government must withdraw its support of NPR.

Make no mistake, I am a faithful follower and supporter of NPR and its local affiliate (even though I wince when its decidedly liberal interviewers/pundits ask soft questions to liberal interviewees, and lay out traps for conservative ones). But this is no sacrifice on my part - Fannie's death will not signal the end of the housing market and the end of federal funding does not mean the death of NPR.

* * * *

Random tidbit: Some NPR hosts sound so terribly snobbish and hoity-toity, I imagine them talking with a garlic clove stuffed up one of their nostrils. Now, there is no scientific or anecdotal evidence that such a culinary placement causes snobbishness; but the mental image somehow makes sense. If you ever listen to Renee, especially when she interviews, remember to use my visual aid.

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