So, the wealthy bankers whose greed brought us this crisis are bailed out by the Fed.In the meantime, these folks get zippo:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnnOOo6tRs8[/youtube]Yes, I know that the argument for bailing out the banks is the harm that will be done to the economy as a whole if they are allowed to fail. This argument, in effect, means that the richest of the rich will always be able to count on being saved from the consequences of their own actions (at our expense), as long as their mistakes are big enough. I guess I wouldn't mind that nearly as much if these same people weren't able to keep for themselves virtually all the returns they earn when their risks pan out. That is, the only fair solution seems to me to be to take steps necessary to protect the economy as a whole, which will often mean bailing the rich out when they screw things up so much that they throw the entire economy into risk, but also to force those same people to share their wealth with the rest of us when times are good -- via things like highly progressive income taxes, estate taxes and even wealth taxes. Over the past few decades, though, we've largely eliminated the latter and kept the former.
Eduardo M. Peñalver is the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School. The views expressed in the piece are his own, and should not be attributed to Cornell University or Cornell Law School.