Michele Bachmann Might Like Criticizing Federal Home Loans, But She Didn’t Mind Taking One Out

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Uh-oh.Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Michele Bachmann doesn't like federal home loans. Criticizing them plays nicely into her fiscal-discipline schtick, along with her anti-government-handouts stance. The Minnesota congresswoman even highlights her frequently-voiced distaste for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal lenders that played such a large role in the 2008 financial crisis, on her official website: "One thing we know about Fannie and Freddie is that they cost the already overburdened and financially strapped taxpayer a pretty penny. "

One other thing we know about Fannie and Freddie, according to the Washington Post, is that the home loan Michele Bachmann took out in 2008 was backed by one of those agencies. The $417,000 loan was the maximum possible amount allowed in the region at the time; the Bachmanns also borrowed $249,999 against the $760,000 home's equity. The couple put down just 12 percent in cash, fairly typical of home buyers during the housing bubble's easy credit.

The Bachmann carry a burden of debt that totals more than $1 million, according to financial disclosure records (some business-related loans and home equity credit, in addition to their home mortgage). The question isn't one of the Bachmanns being overburdened — there's no real indication the couple borrowed more than the amount they could realistically pay (they have assets between $862,018 and $2 million). In fact, their debt/income levels are far closer to that of the average American family than many of the other Republicans in the race, which is something Bachmann might be able to use to her political advantage, had she not already staked out such an uncompromising position on government "handouts." The question is one of hypocrisy. Take, for instance, one comment of hers about raising the debt-ceiling limit: “When managing your family budget, you don’t spend money you don’t have, and our government should be no different.” Bachmann also received subsidies for taking in foster children.

So when you look at Bachmann's actual, personal relationship with debt and government handouts — she's not over-reliant or unhealthily dependent on them, but they've been quite helpful for Bachmann's family — it's almost a direct, succinct argument against all of her own political rhetoric.

Bachmann benefitted from federal home loan program [WP]