Bernard Madoff has been widely excoriated for running the largest Ponzi scheme of all time. If only it were true.
Bernie took money from investors while promising solid, but not spectacular returns. He used money from later investors to pay off earlier investors and skimmed off a bit for yachts, jets, villas, and other goodies too numerous to mention as his take for keeping it all afloat for years.
Now, I understand that fifty or sixty-five Billion dollars seems like a lot of money to most folks but it is chump change compared to what is actually the world's largest Ponzi scheme. Congratulations, because you are part of it!
It is called Social Security. The government took money from early workers (beginning in the 1930's) and gave them great returns. Among the first was a woman who paid in less than fifty dollars and then collected benefits until she died at the age of 100.
Bernie Madoff skimmed off money for his personal expenses; your government has effectively done the same thing. Your dollars have paid for national defense, welfare, food stamps, roads and bridges, waste, fraud, and abuse, and a host of other things. Bernie didn't put IOU's in the till for the things he bought. Your government did put in IOU's, but the money is gone, accounted for, and spent.
Bernie made a lot of people happy with the fine returns he provided for many years. FDR and successive congresses have made voters very happy by providing lots of goodies from the federal treasury for many years.
Bernie has gone to jail because he could not find enough new investors to keep it all going. The same thing will happen eventually to Social Security. Younger workers will revolt.
The Trustees just told us the money will be gone sooner than they thought it would last year. They are talking about when the IOU's run out. But there are only tax payers to pay the IOU's and those same taxpayers will have to pay for current government expenses at the same time they begin paying off the IOU's in just a few years.
This is what is known as a train-wreck and it will happen sooner than you expect. The only difference is that no one will go to jail. The guilty parties are voters who have kept on, and keep on, electing politicians who rob them of their freedom while promising "security" in return.
Those who make this bargain end up with neither. Bernie Madoff is probably collecting his Social Security payments while in jail. If only we could lock up Congress with him!
I grew up in Kansas in the 1950's - 60's. I attended Kansas State (B.S. in Soc. Science) and Washburn Law School (J.D.). My wife and I have been married for over thirty years and are the parents of three grown sons.