Why shouldn't bailouts and spending make us angry?

Talking heads have jumped on this rage, calling it a resurgence of 19th-century populist fury at bankers and other elites. But this characterization allows them to dismiss the rants or even demonize them as the output of ignorant yokels driven by irrational anxieties.

This is a mistake. The anger is entirely righteous. And it’s being driven by four factors–all of which are completely rational.

Factor One: The cheapening of our good national character. Most people don’t begrudge being the proverbial helping hand. Americans have always been generous, even in vile economic times. Rates of charitable giving in the U.S., as a percentage of gross domestic product, tower over other rich countries.

But the bailouts tarnish this charitable impulse by functioning like a stickup.