The Return of the Age of Activism

The financial meltdown may herald bigger reforms — if the next President makes government work again

Illustration by Stephen Kroninger for TIME

It now seems clear that George W. Bush will be remembered for symmetrical disasters. His presidency began with the destruction of the Twin Towers by al-Qaeda terrorists. It is ending with the devastation of the Twin Trillions — the money spent on a foolish war in Iraq ($653 billion and counting) and on the bailout of a financial industry gone hog wild during the Reagan-initiated Era of Deregulation. Bush has revived Big Government in the worst possible way: the middle class will pay, in perpetuity, for the sins of the powerful....

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