By Dylan Ratigan Host, 'The Dylan Ratigan Show,' 4 p.m. ET on msnbc
MSNBC
OPINION

Since the age of 22, I have worked as a reporter. It's a job that I've loved from the first day on and, like so many in my profession, I have been launched on an adventure that has taken me around the world and back again many times.
 
In my case, as a financial writer and now a broadcaster, it has specifically launched me deep into the world of money.
  
I went on half a dozen trips at the start of my career to watch, listen to, and learn from one of the world's most successful investors, people such as Warren Buffett at his annual meeting in Omaha. Seven trips to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland to talk with the great innovators, investors and leaders of this world. All of this served as an education and prelude for me to the events that have transpired in this country during the past 18 months.

My job at its heart had been to identify, question, understand and explain the businesses of this country and this world; to document those that succeeded and understand those who failed in their efforts to create value by doing whatever they did, hopefully better than the next guy.

People like my first boss, Michael Bloomberg, and countless others, great investors like Mr. Buffett, and innovators like William Gates III and Steven Jobs — people who knew it could be done better, people that had the discipline, skill, luck and audacity to actually do it — were rewarded through the rules of capitalism that paid money to them and their organizations for the value they created for others in society.

Last fall, when the business practices of our nation's largest insurers and banks were exposed, it was revealed that they were not financial geniuses or capitalists, but rather impersonators who had changed the rules of the investment business in Washington to legalize a system of unregulated speculation in which they could pay themselves billions by risking trillions of everyone else's money.

This was not capitalism. This was systematic theft perpetrated through government control.

It became clear that I had made a grave error in affording those who built and ran those banks and insurance companies the honorable treatment of being called a capitalist — either an investor or an innovator — one who creates value for others and is paid accordingly.

They were in fact the exact opposite, vampires using the weaponry of "Too Big Too Fail" to steal money from the U.S. government and American workers, retirees, students, etc.

But how were they able to do it? Was it an accident? Or did they change the rules of the game so they could embark on this path of massive systematic theft from the American people? The deeper I went, the more questions I asked, the worse it appeared.

It was clear that the U.S. Congress during the past decade was perfectly suited to do the bidding of the bankers who saw the opportunity of a lifetime. Bankers who were and continue to face declining profits at the hands of more transparent markets and more widely distributed information, just two of the many benefits of the computer age.

A dangerous change in investing
So to retain their high pay, the Bankers lobbied Congress in 1999 to change the rules of investing so they could risk as much money as they wanted with no accountability or responsibility for their potential losses.
 
They were playing a financial market lottery where they could buy as many tickets as they wanted — keep their winners — and stick the losers with us, our mothers, our children, our future.

Congress, by allowing banks and credit card companies to lend money recklessly, was able to put as many voters as possible into new homes and indulge the desire of those on Wall Street to simply get rich without any consideration of where or how the money was being made, or in this case, stolen.

Last fall was an awakening for me, as it was for many in our country. And yet, our Congress has yet to do anything about it. In fact, conditions have never been better for the banks or worse for the rest of us.

Congress continues to be hostage to Too Big Too Fail — the banks that remain have never been bigger, and none of the ill-gotten multi-billion dollar compensation has been clawed back.

Why is this? Who does our government work for? How much longer will we as Americans tolerate it? And what if anything can we do about it?

The American people are afforded two liberties relative to corporations and government: We get to pick how we spend and invest our non-tax money, and no one can tell us how to vote in elections. If the banks and Congress will not work to protect those liberties, we must immediately demand a change in our representation and stop forcing Americans to invest in failed businesses.

It is especially galling to be forced to invest in those companies who seek to make money not by being forced to innovate and make better products for us, their customers, but by exploiting us, and ultimately stealing from us in a gross corruption of the American government.  

As we approach the anniversary of the bailouts for our banks and insurers and watch the multi-trillion taxpayer-funded programs at the Federal Reserve continue to support banks that once again mark record profits, you really have to ask yourself who Congress really represents. Do they represent the interests of America? Or just those who would rob America?
 
All of us, left, right and center, need to demand that our politicians stop serving those whose business models are based on stealing taxpayer money, and start serving those of us who work, invest and innovate everyday to create value for others.

Morning Meeting airs Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. ET to 11 a.m. ET on MSNBC.

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