Rage about the Wall Street bailouts is what fueled the birth of the Tea Party and an anti-Obama movement. Douthat looks at what the bailout cost, however, and says it may actually cost the taxpayer less than $50 billion over all, rather than the $700 billion originally set aside to pay for it. The problem with the bailout wasn’t the end game, which may have saved America from 15 percent unemployment, but how it implicated the government in crony capitalism. Although it was necessary and it worked, it did damage to the credibility of Wall Street and Washington.
Douthat is a New York Times columnist.