“Despite elite concerns of a public backlash against capitalism, it has been the public, not Wall Street or Washington, that has supported capitalism all along.  Financiers were disconcertingly quick to run straight into the governments arms, while the public has stuck up for markets and fought against taxpayer subsidy of failure. The hope for free markets is “political constraint,” says former St. Louis Fed president William Poole.”

“The public intuitively grasps unfairness when it sees it. In poll after poll, citizens have opposed bailout after bailout, not just for the banks but for their own neighbors.  This opposition is not a reflection of a heartless and mindless populism. Ordinary people understand that bailouts have perversely punished individuals and companies that acted responsibly, creating an incentive to act irresponsibly in the future.  They can perceive the difference between a government that acts as an honest, transparent referee of competitors and one that acts as a guarantor of perceived favorites.”

From After the Fall:  Saving Capitalism from Wall Street- and Washington by Nicole Gelinas