Ever since the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the nation's two largest mortgage providers until the housing market crashed, the cost to taxpayers has risen at an alarming rate. The two government-sponsored enterprises spend most of their time removing owners who can no longer afford their homes, flipping the houses at lower prices and helping the new owners finance mortgages, all with the public’s money. And so far, the cost to the federal government has been $145.9 billion, threatening to make it the single most expensive element of the economic recovery plan for taxpayers. That number grows with every single foreclosure—which is bad news since Fannie and Freddie picked up a foreclosed home virtually every 90 seconds over the first three months of 2010—and projections say it could reach $389 billion. By the end of March, the two companies owned 163,828 houses, putting more homes in their control than there are in the city of Seattle.