America needs to learn some hard lessons that a $700 billion bailout of the economy isn't going to teach, David Ignatius writes in the Washington Post. If the the country manages to dodge a depression, the message will be that irresponsible behavior brings a rescue, and that bills don't need to be paid, he notes.
It would be better, Ignatius argues, if the bailout fails and is replaced by an economic recovery program that inspires some of the community unity that FDR's New Deal brought. "That's what I hope Obama will teach our kids in this new year: talking not of rescue, but of shared sacrifice," he writes. And "reminding us that bills come due and have to be paid, ending the bizarre period of national denial that is Bailout America."