The world’s finance industry, led by that of the United States, bet the business on the proposition that real estate prices always go up. Seemed plausible at the time, but they lost the bet. Now the world’s taxpayers, led by those in the United States, have to pick up the pieces. But I’m old-fashioned, I actually believe in the benefits of both free markets and intelligent regulation. One of those benefits is accountability. So pick up the pieces all right, but the people who bet their businesses now have to lose their businesses; and with no compensation, because they’re losers. Putting them in jail is probably not cost-effective, but we taxpayer/voters could revisit that finding if we hear any whining. Otherwise capitalism doesn’t work and we’re looking for Plan B.