Among the unhappy consequences of the current financial meltdown is the apparent triumph of a set of moral imperatives that seem every bit as perverse as those recorded in Alice in Wonderland. Financial institutions that took extreme risks and collapsed have to be bailed out by taxpayers on the grounds that “they are too big to fail.” Improvident borrowers, who purchased homes they could not afford and then defaulted when they could not make the monthly mortgage payments, must be subsidized by taxpayers in order to halt the slide in all house prices. Bankers whose firms lost billions must be paid extravagant bonuses—in some cases courtesy of the taxpayers—lest they be lured away by competitors (who are similarly insolvent). In order to save the system, we must first save those most responsible for placing it at risk.

In addition to trying to...

 

A Message from the Editors

Our past successes are owed to our greatest ambassadors: our readers. Our future rests on your support, as The New Criterion Editor Roger Kimball explains. Will you help us continue to bring our incisive review of the arts and culture to the next generation of readers?

Popular Right Now