The banks regulate the government

Standing ovation to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont for the truism of the year when he says that the problem is not how the government regulates the banks, but how the banks regulate the government. It was ironic that while JPMorgan announced a $2 billion loss that could become a $5 billion loss, the Republicans escalated their attacks against any serious regulation of banks, while President Obama, on his way to a Wall Street fundraiser, praised both JPMorgan and the modest regulations that fall far short.

What is the 99 percent to do, with a debate like this? Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the presence of JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon on the board of the New York Fed creates a "perception" problem. Sorry, this ain't no perception problem, son, this is a reality problem! With the Federal Reserve a creature of the banks, not the government, it is the student who writes the exam! With Dimon on the board of the New York Fed, it is the student who grades the exam!

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With this performance, it is no wonder that the public approval of Congress is somewhere between the favorable ratings of Saddam Hussein and defective dog food, the House Republicans are rated lower than the president or Senate Democrats, the Tea Party is rated lowest of all, the bankers are held in wide disrepute, and everyone in Washington from both parties should be awake late at night sweating bullets of worry about the bonfires in the hinterlands.

Pardon me for interrupting our discussions about Kenya and Jeremiah Wright, but hundreds of thousands of jobless workers lost their benefits in recent days while we learn that JPMorgan's losses could be far higher than $2 billion. We suspect that other shoes will soon drop from other banks while those that caused the crash of the past, and are causing the potential crash of the future, are still rewarded a king's ransom in salaries and bonuses for their good work in what they call capitalism.

Which is why Bernie Sanders says it is the banks that regulate the government. If there is one area that Republicans and Democrats agree on, it is that neither party wants to offend those who give them the money to campaign.

As the wise man said, those who repeat the mistakes of the past …