Here’s what you need to know about populism and Jacksonian animosity and all that: Americans understand now that big banks have a stranglehold on the economy—one that’s already resulted in trillion-dollar bailouts and the resumption of $50 million bonuses. They don’t like that. They want it to change. Problem is, the financial industry has a good grip on the political system, too. See, for instance, how they’re able (stunningly even to this fairly jaded observer) to make sure the whole “make private-equity bosses pay income taxes like the rest of us” campaign went nowhere (see Fortune’s Dan Primack on that).

The democratic will can only be frustrated so egregiously for so long. If you want to really see some Jacksonian animosity, wait till the next big bailout.


Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.