On Shoes, Insults and Bernie Madoff

So, isn’t that a fine thank-you for liberating a country?

George Bush showed quick reflexes by ducking out of the way of a well-aimed shoe from an Iraqi “journalist”?

I wonder if that made Keith Olbermann feel inadequate in any way.

In Iraq, they call you a dog and throw a shoe at you as a sign of disrespect.

On MSNBC, they sign Keith Olbermann up to a multiyear contract.

The Washington press corps has had just about as much respect for this president as did that Iraqi journalist. They just hid their frustration a tad bit better.

And if I were a Washington journalist, I would be frustrated, too.

Let’s face it, their business model is about ready to go the same way as GM and Chrysler. Just ask Sam Zell.

The world does seem to be spiraling out of control, and the absurdity of the fast-shoe pitch only serves to underscore the crazy world we all live in.

Which leads me to Bernie Madoff.

How can one man create a Ponzi scheme in which $60 billion is lost?

Where did all the money go? It must have gone somewhere, right?

Did he buy real estate? Cars? Apartment buildings? Did he use the money to keep his furnace lit?

And why didn’t the people who invested in this Ponzi scheme check up on their money every once in a while? These investors all seemed to be smart people. They all had fabulous homes in fabulous places like Palm Beach and Manhattan and Hollywood.

And now, these smart people are broke because they got bilked by one man. And we still don’t know what that one man did with the all the money.

But Ponzi schemes should be nothing new to the American people.

Have you ever heard of Social Security? That is the biggest Ponzi scheme ever invented.

The idea is that Americans taxpayer will put a little money in a fund early in life, and then get a lot of money back when he or she retires. Like a Ponzi scheme, it works pretty well for the early investors. It works a lot less well for the later generations.

But unlike Mr. Madoff, the Social Security Ponzi scheme is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Doesn’t make it right. It just makes it official.

What the Madoff case proves is that you can’t trust anybody these days. For an economic system that is based on trust (credit cards, mortgages, food supply, etc.), it is bad news when that trust takes a hit.

We are going through a strange time in this world of ours. Journalists throw shoes at politicians, investment professionals admit that they have stolen billions from their clients, governors put Senate seats on the auction block, big Detroit motor companies prepare to go broke.

And the one man we expect to fix it all has no executive experience, has little legislative experience, and is tied to one of the most corrupt political machines in the country.

Hang on to your hat. This is going to be a wild ride.



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