Money “Then Mr. Mozilo offered everyone a breath mint.”
posted by October 6 at 12:53 PMon
You’d think I’d have more of a handle on the mortgage fiasco considering my family just lost a house—the house I was a teenager in—to foreclosure. But whenever I try to read in the paper about the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, I can’t figure out what the hell anyone’s talking about. The blizzard of terms loses me and, in the blizzard, the competing versions of events are impossible to sort out. For a while I stopped reading those stories because I just couldn’t make sense of them.
Then yesterday the New York Times published this piece on the front page. Couldn’t put it down. It is an orderly, gorgeously reported piece about the downfall of Fannie Mae based around an interview with the former chief executive Daniel H. Mudd and a bunch of other sources who are kept anonymous “to avoid legal repercussions.” The piece zooms in on when exactly it was that Mudd began to make the decisions that led to the great unraveling, and why he made them, and it fills you with a tense, fluttering sympathy.
Read it at least to that line I’ve put as the headline, which marks a turning point in the suspense—“Then Mr. Mozilo offered everyone a breath mint”—and see if you can stop.