Under the rules governing high finance, bankers can win every time. They're essentially serving as "the house" within a vast global casino. That yields a lot more cash than moving the nation's savings into productive investments.
Now that the Dow is shooting past 11,000, Congress has the perfect excuse to pass a pathetic set of watered down financial reforms. Arguments between Democrats and Republicans are for political show. The bankers already have won.
The financial reform bill is virtually designed to institutionalize "too big to fail." And when it's reconciled we'll lose another battle in the ongoing war between global financial markets and democratic nation-states.
Jospeh Cassano was the head of AIG's Financial Products Unit. They are the ones that made about a trillion dollars worth of bets in credit default swaps. They lost. Except because of the Cassano loophole, they won.
Senator Judd Gregg thins that the way to create jobs is to get those lazy workers off the dole so that they can help lower wages across the economy. Interesting theory, but it doesn't apply to this planet.
The time may come when the American people demand a modicum of financial justice and economic sanity. This would require something far beyond the current financial reform, which is basically a gift to Wall Street and hedge funds.
The bankers may like to show they prize flexibility, but try telling them they should change bonus culture. On that score, they will not bend. But they needn't worry -- the Champagne will still flow; Washington isn't going after bonuses.
It turns out, toddlers who tell lies do better as adults. Whether this is surprising news about child development, or a sad statement about the kind of society we live in depends on how you define "better."