“Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes her laws.” – Financier, M.A. Rothschild

In our country, six financial institutions hold unequivocal power over our economic and political system: Bank of America, J.P. Morgan and Chase, Citigroup, WellsFargo, Goldman Sachs, and MorganStanley. Together these corporations hold assets equal to 60 percent of our nations GDP. They hold two-thirds of all credit cards. Thirty-five percent of all mortgages. Ninety-five percent of all derivatives. And more than 40 percent of all bank deposits. Consider the wealth and power displayed in these statistics. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that these six corporations, hold within their endless accounts, the very life blood of our entire economy.

Such vast wealth is a measure of power; a power which these institutions have never been shy of compounding through the infiltration of our political process. Every election cycle, the financiers of this nation have been some of the top donors to campaigns on both sides of the aisle, in both the Federal and State level. For decades, presidents and governors have made good on these campaign loans: appointing executives to cabinet positions, bureaucratic management, and heads of regulatory commissions. In short, in exchange for their contributions: our elected, or should we say paid for officials, have agreed to hand over the task of financial regulation, to the very institutions which ought to be regulated.

The consequences are clear. Decades of financial deregulation, fraudulent lending and trading activities, and, of course; political amnesty when said practices disrupt the economy, or end with the indictment of high ranking bankers. This revolving door system led to the exponential growth of these companies, and to the increasing financialization of our economy: an ever-growing bubble of faulty loans, risky investment portfolios, and the wholesale trading of debt. It seemed that bubble couldn’t be stopped, growing up out of wall street, engulfing everything from family businesses, homes, and pensions: Until finally, it burst, in the economic collapse of 2008.

That wasn’t the end of it though, it was just the beginning, and looking back now, after the $700 billion bailout; it might be said that these bankers weren’t even worried, that they knew what they were doing. Reap 10s of billions of dollars in profit off risky investments, then use our political connections to pass the bill on to the public when things finally go south. Good, sound, business.

As it turns out. That was always the plan, in fact, these banks were never even gambling with their own money, as over the last half decade, the biggest financial institutions in this nation have received over 16 trillion dollars in near 0 interest loans from the Federal Reserve. So, the whole time it’s been our money, our tax dollars, our mortgages, student loans, and medical debt, they’ve been shooting craps with.

Where’s the outrage? Where are the people in the street? Well, some of us are out here, screaming into the face of the colossus, but it’s not enough, we need everyone to bring down Goliath; but most Americans are afraid, whipped, beaten down. Consider the aforementioned statistics. Now consider your own mortgage, your car loans, your college debt, and the heaping pile of back medical bills sitting on the coffee table. Those are your shackles. By being in their debt: your labor, your property, your very economic and political freedom, is in their hands.

But although we are in debt, we are not yet slaves. We have the power, power in numbers, to break our shackles, and reform our financial system. It starts with each of us. Campaigning, knocking doors, and making calls for progressive candidates who do not fear the Gods of Money. We must introduce legislation which curbs their power. Make no mistake, this fight is a fight for our freedom, a fight for the destiny of our nation.

Dillion Daniels graduated from and lives in Mason City. Email him at dwdaniels93@gmail.com.