Posted byat 16th March, 2009
That guy smiling out at you is Charles Ponzi, and he’s had a lot of press lately. Actually, compared to his greatest disciple he’s looking good.
By now you know what a Ponzi Scheme is. Essentially, a con game is run on a pyramid of investors and the early marks are paid just enough of the money that’s coming in from the next generation of marks to attract even more marks. Eventually, the con man has to work too hard to find more suckers so he stops paying anything to anybody, takes all of the money that’s left (the great majority) and buys real estate in a country without an extradition treaty.
Back in 1921 – a time of economic opportunism not unlike that we’d just gone through – Charlie showed some creativity. His hustle was based upon speculation in international postage stamps. He told investors that he could provide a 40% return in 90 days by managing the flux of foreign currency. The scheme was so successful it actually clocked a $1,000,000 intake during one three-hour period. It turns out Ponzi had only purchased $30 worth of stamps, just enough to show people the product.
You really can make this stuff up, but why bother?
Bernie Madoff, an old man whose future medical bills will be covered by the taxpayers, was so far beyond the stamp king that we really shouldn’t call his a Ponzi scheme. Madoff defrauded friends, charitable foundations, small investors, large investment companies, municipalities, pensioners, dogs, cats, amoebas… anybody who would offer him some money. He swindled the Steven Spielberg Foundation. He swindled the Elie Wiezel Foundation for Humanity. Wiezel is a holocaust survivor, author and professor who won the Nobel Peace Prize. He fights aggressively against genocide all over the world.
Madoff pretty much wiped the Wiezel Foundation out. Over $15,000,000 bucks, burnt in the ovens of Madoff’s soul.
People have been filing complaints against Madoff with the Security and Exchange Commission for years, but under the Bush Administration the policy was pure Objectivist: no regulation, no oversight, anybody who gets ripped off was too stupid to have the money in the first place. You know, like peanut butter purchasers and victims of fraudulently presented mortgages.
There’s no difference between the people who were ripped off by Madoff and those who were ripped off by the banks, except that after Jon Stewart went after CNBC I doubt Rick Santelli will shout from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade that Madoff’s marks deserved what they got.
But that’s the attitude of the day, thanks to the late Ayn Rand, the soulless and morally bankrupt societal fantasist whose work has so greatly influenced Alan Greenspan, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Milton Friedman and other heartless bastards. Bernie Madoff’s success was due to their policies, their actions and their inactions.
But Rick Santelli and his fellow travelers want victims to be put out on the street. Welcome to Neocon America, the cage match of the cocksuckers.
Mike’s Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind rants can be heard every Monday and Friday on The Point podcasts, available right here at www.michaeldavisworld.com, as well as at comicmix.com, getthepointradio.com, zzcomics.com, and ravenwolfstudios.com. You can subscribe to The Point at iTunes by searching under “The Point Radio.”