Meet the Maes: Whiteboard explores the Mae family tree

The fate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises that back more than two-thirds of the nation's mortgage market, is in play as Congress and policy makers trade ideas on their future.

The debate has many imagining a world without Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The GOP this week unveiled eight bills that would reform the secondary mortgage security market. And the White House has released its own plans to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

To better understand what's at stake in this debate, we turned to Marketplace Senior Editor Paddy Hirsch and his trusty whiteboard for a simple explanation. Paddy has been on leave from the Marketplace newsroom while participating in a Knight Fellowship at Stanford. But before he left, he recorded a few episodes of The Whiteboard on a few timeless, but important topics. Turns out "Meet the Maes" isn't so timeless after all; we figured we better publish it now in case Congress makes it dated.

We're also trying out a new feature with The Whiteboard, a pop quiz you can take to measure how much you learned from Paddy's explanation. Don't worry, we're not grading you:

RELATED: Read more perspective on the fate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the Economy 4.0 blog.

About the author

Paddy Hirsch is a Contributing Editor at Marketplace and the creator and host of the Marketplace Whiteboard. Follow Paddy on Twitter @paddyhirsch and on Facebook at


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