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Bob Franken: Modern-Day Pyramids and Ponzi Schemes :Huffington Post

December 15, 2008
Charles Ponzi (March 3, 1882–January 18, 1949)...

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“As we’re discovering, almost the entire economy is the moral equivalent of a Ponzi scheme.”  Think about it.  Our currency is base on Trust.  People trusted Madoff but when he had to payoff, it became clear he really Mad(e)off with their money. 

Interestingly similar, people trust the United States with their tax money and the printing of currency.  With the creation of 7 to 8 trillion in new money are we approaching a “Madoff” point where the trust just isn’t there?

When so many of our citizens and institutions are expecting a payoff (bail-out) from the government . . .we move further away from the democratic experiment the founders of our American democracy envisioned.  A democracy  for moral, responsible people.  A people whose payoff comes through moral living, creative enterprise, and respect of each other as one family under the creator from whom life, liberty and this pursuit of happiness are freely bestowed.

I’m a conservative and yet I’m glad Obama is president.  He is the only one with enough charisma to move forward . . . as long as the grime sooooooo near him . . . doesn’t tarnish his image is the eyes of the people. On this point I’ll bet even the Democrats are learning to pray.  ME?! I’m already praying and working on plan B.

I don’t really understand why we’re paying so much attention to Bernard Madoff.

Oh sure sure, if the charges are accurate, the collapse of his Ponzi scheme might just put him in the Fraud Hall of Fame.

But he’ll have plenty of company. In the world of finance, however, it’s probably more accurate to say he will achieve new heights in the realm of illegal fraud.

As we’re discovering, almost the entire economy is the moral equivalent of a Ponzi scheme.

Hyperbole? Well, let’s see:

While the operating details may be different… somewhat anyway…it’s undeniable that much of our financial and industrial structure is a Pyramid based on a phantom foundation.

It has been constructed by opportunists who were such con artists they didn’t care whether it ultimately imploded, as long as they got theirs.

Or so inept they had no business around the building.

Or worst, the people who adopted the “Get along-go along” approach to success…never going against the grain, no matter what.

Those may be the most corrupt of all, since their expedient “make no waves” mentality was at the very least amoral, which is another way of saying immoral.

By the way, that would include the politicians who looked the other way so they could either get the crumbs in the form of campaign contributions, or because raising a stink was simply too much of a hassle.

Now that the chickens have come home to roost the home has caved in.

There are important differences between Madoff and the others:

First of all, he has not had the chutzpah to ask for a multi billion dollar loan to bail him out. At least so far.

Secondly, a sizable chunk of those who have been harmed by his enterprise are the prosperous, or soon-to-be former prosperous.

The rest of the financial schemes have damaged or destroyed the well-being of nearly, poor and somewhere in between, including those who believe that Ponzi was a character on “Happy Days

During these UNhappy days, as we clean up this mess, we need to go beyond oversight regulation. It is essential that we write into the law prohibitions that drag a lot of these shady dealings and their dealers across that narrow line that separates barely legal and illegal.

In other words we need to call all this larcenous conduct what it is: A crime.



Bob Franken: Modern-Day Pyramids

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