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A Really Merry Christmas From Fannie And Freddie To Their C.E.O.s

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the couple which together has needed $111 billion to stay afloat and are very far from doing so, did their filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday afternoon, just before Christmas eve. I suppose this was to make sure the news contained in them would get the maximum possible attention. This was reported by the Associated Press. But see if it gets printed in your morning newspaper.

The two gargantuan mortgage lenders are not yet done with government subventions. In August, the administration said that the two agencies would need another $60 billion before they could swim on their own. (How do you like this consistency of metaphor?)

So what is in the filings? A bit more pillage from the public till to compensate the chief executives of Fannie and Freddie. Michael Williams and Charles E. Haldeman Jr. each get about $900,000 in salary (two-and-a-half times what the president of the United States receives), $3.1 million in deferred payments and an additional $2 million if, according to the A.P., "they meet certain performance goals." I'll bet that they will. That's $6 million for each of them, and they don't work for Goldman Sachs, whose emoluments don't come from the public trough.

When Freddie Mac hired Haldeman in July, it did not disclose the "additionals." So the extra bonuses are actually for six months' work. When Freddie hired a chief financial officer in September--that is, three months ago--the company "said his pay package would be worth up to $5.5 million."

So Merry Christmas, gentlemen, to you and your gang.