...I don't think any of us thought these guys were this stupid. I don't think any of us believed that they would take billions of dollars in bonuses while their institutions were literally days from being wiped out. But they did. And we've learned our lesson.How did they not know this would happen? "These guys" aren't stupid. They are greedy. Some people (such as John McCain and Reston Kid) knew back in September that limits on executive compensation should have been part of the bailout.
I have always been skeptical about the argument that individuals acting in their own selfish interest makes the free market system work. People are greedy and that isn't always what's best for the system. I'd be interested in hearing the argument that defends the huge bonuses for people who run companies that just got bailed out.