For the last three years we have been told repeatedly by government officials that funneling hundreds of billions of dollars to large and teetering banks during the credit crisis was necessary to save the financial system, and beneficial to Main Street.
But this has been a hard sell to an increasingly skeptical public. As Henry M. Paulson Jr., the former Treasury secretary, told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission back in May 2010, “I was never able to explain to the American people in a way in which they understood it why these rescues were for them and for their benefit, not for Wall Street.”
The American people were right to question Mr. Paulson’s pitch, as it turns out. And that became clearer than ever last week when Bloomberg News published fresh and disturbing details about the crisis-era bailouts.