David Brooks, in his column, “Money for Idiots,” writes today in the New York Times that although our economic system—and life in general?—is supposed to be based on the idea that one should be forced to live within the constructs of one’s decisions, things haven’t exactly worked out that way.
“We’ve made a hash of all that,” he writes. Bailouts now reward careless bankers, univentive automakers, and even those who bought homes they couldn’t afford. And the worst part, laments Brooks, is that it’s exactly what we have to do to save the economy!
Brooks concludes that an economic landscape is a lot like a marriage. It’s not about blame. It’s about compromise. “We all know people who have been laid off through no fault of their own,” he writes. “The responsible have been punished along with the profligate.” In these situations, the government has no choice but to “stabilize people who have been idiots.”