We are now in the midst of one of those periodic bursts of populistic self-righteousness that grips the American public from time to time. Barack Obama wants to establish a limit of $500,000 for corporate officials whose firms receive federal assistance. Tom Daschle had to take himself out of consideration for a job for which he was uniquely qualified because he became rich and well-connected in pretty much the same way most rich and well-connected people do. Senators from both political parties, combing the stimulus package to strip from it anything that might upset the grouchy mood of anger- spouting talk show hosts, insist on sticking in "Buy America" conditions. There is nothing like a recession, especially one as severe as the present one, to turn every politician into William Jennings Bryan.

Over at TPM Caf