It's official. Yesterday, the Bush administration seized control of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, trying to stabilize the troubled mortgage and housing market. The Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. hopes that by "providing fresh capital to the two companies will eventually lead to lower mortgage rates, spur home-buying demand and slow the plunge in home prices that has ravaged many areas of the country," according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Mass.). The bailout could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. The companies, which together own or guarantee about $5 trillion in home loans (or half the country's total) have lost $14 billion in the last year. "Both companies were placed into a government conservatorship that will be run by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the new agency created by Congress this summer to regulate Fannie and Freddie."
Prominent retailer Wal-Mart continues to stock Simplicity bassinets despite three baby deaths connected to the product. According to this consumer affairs news story, the death of two infants was caused by the faulty frame on the Winnie the Pooh 4-in-1 Simplicity Bassinet. The police report says the frame on the bassinet collapsed and crushed the two children. In a separate report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), on August 21, a five-month-old girl was strangled to death when she became entrapped between a Simplicity bassinet's metal bars. Although the product has not yet been officially recalled, the CPSC is actively investigating.
In 2007, more than a million Simplicity cribs were recalled after the deaths of four children were linked to the product. According to Consumer Affairs, the manufacturer appears to no longer be in business. Calls to the Simplicity headquarters by the Consumer Affairs reporter were greeted by a pre-recorded message stating: "Simplicity, Inc. is no longer in business and we no longer service Simplicity, Inc. products." Sounds like a step in the right direction. Now, let's get these products out of the market.