By Craig J. Cantoni
Dec. 13, 2008
I feel so stupid. Maybe I am stupid. Yes, that’s it: I’m stupid.
You’re smart, so please explain something to me.
First, some background: A Wall Street crook by the name of Bernard Madoff was led away in handcuffs the other day for running a Ponzi scheme that bilked tens of billions from well-off adults who were seeking suspiciously high returns. The Wall Street Journal said it could prove to be history’s largest financial scam.
With all due respect to the Journal, it is not the largest financial scam--not by a long shot. Another pyramid scheme that operates in the open is more than 1,000 times larger. It was set up to bilk defenseless children out of their money.
Law enforcement authorities know about it. The media know about it. The comptroller general of the United States knows about it and has warned the public about it--or at least the five percent of the public that isn’t watching reruns of “American Idol.” Even politicians like Hillary Clinton who claim to care for the children know about it and encourage it.
Curiously, the people responsible for the scheme have not been led away in handcuffs. To the contrary, the culprits have been given cushy jobs in a big marble building, are given free rides in government airplanes, are showered with millions of dollars in gifts from grateful groups, are given airtime and ink by the media, and, in some cases, have had statues of them erected in the public square.
Even more amazing, millions of bilked Americans are planning to worship one of the crooks at his coming inauguration in Washington.
So, smarty-pants, please tell me why the scoundrels who run this scam have not been led away in handcuffs?
Being a genius, you have probably surmised that the scam is Social Security and Medicare, both of which are really part of the same fraud. Like all Ponzi schemes, they were designed so that early “investors” would get more money back then they put in; and later investors would get less and less money than they put in, until the pyramid collapses on future generations. Unlike Bernard Madoff’s scheme, however, participation in this scam is not voluntary and is not restricted to adults.
In fact, children are going to suffer the most. Because the scheme is $60-$90 trillion in the hole, depending on whose estimate you believe, each child under the age of 18 will begin adult life with a bill of at least $700,000.
Not stopping with that indecency, the crooks have also robbed the Social Security Trust Fund, spending the loot on other stuff to make themselves popular while leaving worthless IOUs behind.
I don’t get why Bernard Madoff gets it stuck to him while bigger crooks are allowed to stick it to us. Bernie gets handcuffed while Barack Obama gets worshipped, John McCain gets respected, Nancy Pelosi gets $500,000 cross-country rides on Air Force jets, FDR gets honored in high school textbooks for starting the scheme, and millions of American kids get screwed.
Maybe parents hate their kids. Or maybe they’re stupid like me.
Believing that most Americans are stupid like me, the crooks have added another trillion to the national debt to bailout their campaign contributors, taking money from stupid but honest people and giving it to sleazebags like themselves. This latest theft follows years of spending money that the federal treasury didn’t have, thus creating the financial bubbles that have blown up and spread red ink throughout the economy.
The crooks have such audacity of hope that they are holding hearings to shift the blame for the bubble shrapnel from themselves to others, hoping that the American people don’t suddenly become smart enough to see through the charade and drag them out of their marble building in handcuffs.
Since I’m too stupid to understand why Americans don’t do this, could you please explain it to me? Thanks.
An author and columnist, Mr. Cantoni can be reached at email@example.com.