It's time to suck it up and pass a Wall Street bailout, Steven Pearlstein writes in a blunt piece in the Washington Post. "You're angry. I'm angry," he writes, about having to rescue a bunch of irresponsible high-fliers who put the financial system at risk. But the reality is, "You can try to prevent a financial meltdown or you can teach Wall Street a lesson, but you can't do both at the same time."
Lawmakers need to stop fixating on "greedy" execs and prevent a credit shutdown that would hurt all Americans. There are many viable alternatives—Pearlstein's own twist on Paulson's plan is that the government should buy troubled assets, but pay for them with shares in the new government entity, rather than cash. Above all, Treasury officials are “operating in uncharted territory, making things up as they go along,” so they need flexibility and trust from us.