Economy Cleanup: Clawback to the Future

Obscenely paid people created a really big financial mess. Don't expect a refund

Illustration by Harry Campbell for TIME

We are in the midst of a cleanup of toxic financial waste that will cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, at the very least. The primary manufacturers of these hazardous products pocketed multimillion-dollar paychecks for their efforts. So why aren't we making them pay for the mop-up?

This is, after all, what Congress decreed in 1980 for producers of actual toxic waste. Under the Superfund law enacted that year, polluters pay for the messes they make. Environmental lawyer E. Michael Thomas sees no reason lawmakers couldn't demand the same of financial polluters and force them to ante up some of...

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