Gales of creative destruction, as described by Joseph Schumpeter, are an inherent part of capitalism. So we shouldn't be surprised as we watch the credit markets continue to unravel.

At press time, the latest victim of the take-few-prisoners subprime tsunami appears to be another newfangled Wall Street innovation called auction-rate securities, which are relatively long-term debt vehicles whose interest rates reset every 7 to 35 days. Fearful about the strength of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's bond insurer, MBIA, the interest rates on their auction-rate securities just climbed from 4% to about 20%. That can't be propitious for tolls on the George Washington Bridge.

We are now eight months into the credit crisis and odds are, in my view, the end of the tunnel is closer than the entrance. Six months from now, one would anticipate that financial institutions are writing off the last of their bogus loans.

Yet the more vexing question is: Are we as a society doomed to continually repeat the same absurd mistakes associated with crazy speculation? First with tech stocks, then with housing, this nation has burned trillions in capital. For our collective stupidity, this time the government plans to send us all checks and sow the seeds for the next bubble. Then again, they mailed out checks in 2001, too.

Risk is an integral part of free-market capitalism, and little in life is fair. Many of the initial ideas for the computer revolution were conceived at Xerox, but it was Apple, and to a greater extent, Microsoft, that reaped the rewards.

That's the way the cookie crumbles. But it's vastly different than bailout after bailout for orgies of speculation. No one wants to see millions of folks consigned to so-called blighted communities as they were in the early 1930s. Today's society won't tolerate it. But if we stop accepting the right of folks to fail, we'll soon find ourselves dealing with a whole new set of problems that may be a lot worse than endlessly bursting bubbles.

Evan Simonoff