Future historians will look back on the financial crisis of the last couple years and wonder why Congress didn’t act sooner or more aggressively to prevent such a crisis from recurring.

Last week, by an astonishingly wide margin, the Senate voted down a bill sponsored by Sherrod Brown and Ted Kaufman that would have limited the size of financial institutions.

No more too big to fail, they proposed. Let’s chop them down to size before they bring the economy down with them once more. Their bill would have forced the six largest banks in the country to sell off part of their business, since it would have capped nondeposit liabilities of each bank at 2% of GDP.

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Well, the vote on “The Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010” was 61 against, 33 in favor. And get this: A whopping 27 Democratic Senators sided with the big banks on this crucial vote.

Here’s the roll call of shame:

Daniel Akaka

Max Baucus

Evan Bayh

Michael Bennet

Thomas Carper

Kent Conrad

Chris Dodd

Dianne Feinstein

Kirsten Gillibrand

Kay Hagan

Daniel Inouye

Tim Johnson

John Kerry

Amy Klobuchar

Herb Kohl

Mary Landrieu

Frank Lautenberg

Claire McCaskill

Robert Menendez

Bill Nelson

Ben Nelson

Jack Reed

Chuck Schumer

Jeanne Shaheen

Jon Tester

Mark Udall

Mark Warner

Several of these Senators, like Conrad and Tester, pretend to be progressive populists.

Schumer and Dodd pretend to be leaders on financial reform.

And John Kerry?

“Wall Street won and the American people lost,” said Mary Bottari, director of the Real Economy Project for the Center for Media and Democracy. The bill was “the single best way to prevent the growth of ‘too big to fail’ firms that threaten to collapse the global economy,” she said. And it was “the single best way to protect taxpayers from future bailouts.”

As Dick Durbin, who voted in favor of this legislation, said of Congress a while back: The banks “frankly own the place.”

They own it, and they subdivide it.

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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