. It does nothing for the moribund "real economy" and, worse, it rewards, again, the sociopaths who caused this crash—and who hollowed-out of the nation's productive capacity since Jimmy Carter's presidency. The decision by George Bush and Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke and Barack Obama to bail out the banks thus failed on every count—even as it is touted by liberal, Keynesian folks like Paul Krugman as a mild success. What should have been done? A policy directly punishing the culprits was never discussed, because the framework in which the crisis was seen was so distorted by both the interests of the presidents' top economic advisers (all high rollers in, and/or owners of, the casino, all of who insist there is no casino) and the general analytical malaise that has infected institutions such as the Federal Reserve, BLS, and others. But even absent better economic yardsticks, such a policy would not have been difficult to devise. The elements of it have been discussed over the years, both at the reformist fringes and even by such mainstream commentators as Krugman, who has long advocated for higher margin requirements, for example, on stock traders. The first element of such a policy is taxation. To put it plainly, we must tax the assholes for everyone's own good. So instead of a marginal top rate on capital gains (so called) of 20 percent, the rate on annual gains above, say, $1 million ought to be closer to 70 percent. Sacrilege, I know, but remember: "capital gains" used to be about the sale of a business built up over generations. Lately it's much more likely to be winnings in a currency bet or an interest rate swap. Write a rule exempting real businesses, farms, and the like from the top tax, but find and employ the most vicious, bloodthirsty litigators to run down and rip the spines out of the pink-faced little charlatans who try to get around the tax on carry trades and commodity speculation. The details necessary to accomplish this task are many, their complexity on par with the derivative instruments they would curb. There are many who could devise simpler ways of doing it, and they should. But the principle of the thing is clear: We need to tax the antiproductive amassment of gambling winnings because such stores of wealth have proven anathema to democracy and a functioning economy. But the people who make all their money this way are in charge—why would they do this? They won't, of course. The rest of us have to force them. And that starts with understanding the problem. I've tried to lay it out, over the past two and a half years or so, in these posts. A few of you have written encouraging things, and I thank you. Some of you have suggested I'm naïve or worse, that my shitty outlook derives from having my head up my keister. And I thank you too. To the rest, thanks for reading. I hope I've occasionally written something that surprised you, or caused you to hit a link to someone whose work is smarter and better than mine. Carry on.