A friend in a conservative think tank said it was time for me to write a post praising John Arnold for giving $10 million to keep Headstart alive during the federal government shutdown.

Arnold was an Enron trader who left with $3 billion before the Enron scam collapsed, destroying the pensions of everyone who worked there. Other Enron executives went to jail, but Arnold got out before the collapse and is now using his fortune to advance privatization of public schools and to attack pensions of public sector employees nationally.

At first, I thought, what a nice gesture on the part of a man who fleeced so many Enron investors. I am glad he is using a tiny part of his vast fortune to do some good.

Then I read this article by David Sirota. Sirota, who has become one of the nation’s finest investigative journalists, said that Arnold was buying good PR and diverting public attention from his efforts to impoverish millions of retirees by slashing their pensions. Oh, well, at least their grandchildren will be able to go to a Headstart center.

My friend on the right said I was becoming too cynical. But I don’t think that is quite right.

How should one feel about a man who walks away with $3 billion from a corporation that looted its stockholders, whose major executives went to jail, whose employees lost their life savings? How should one feel about his efforts to cut the pensions of people who have retired on $40,000 a year?

My view: outrage is a human and appropriate response.