Monday’s Column: Government Jails Competitor

Today’s column at WorldNetDaily is about Bernard Madoff, the Wall Street trader and major Democrat donor who has been arrested for running what was essentially a $50 billion “Ponzi scheme.” Madoff’s real crime? As near as I can tell, he was treading to close to the government’s territory.

I lay the sarcasm on fairly thick, but it’s well-deserved on the part of the government. Give a read to “Free Bernard Madoff” for the whole story.

Love letter of the week:

JA from Boston was displeased:

It would behoove you to restrain yourself from gloating over the Madoff implosion.

The event did not ONLY result in rich people “losing their country club memberships”. Many charitable foundations relied on Madoff to manage their funds. Many of them do very good work. We know of at least one that got wiped out. It had to immediately cease its charitable efforts, lay off staff, and close up shop with zero notice.

It is never appropriate to celebrate the destruction of a large amount of capital. That capital was often accumulated by lifetimes of hard work by people. Its loss is indeed, a loss.

It is also inappropriate to compare a private fund manager to the Social Security Administration. The SSA is part of our government. We EXPECT it to lose money. Any government agency is by nature inefficient. Most of us see Social Security as a money loser, but still a social good. Without it, millions of seniors would have nothing. Their lives would be lived not on a shoestring, but in abject poverty.

A fund manager, on the other hand, has a fiduciary duty to preserve the capital entrusted to him, not to risk it or destroy it. Finally, the SSA, being part of the government, is subject to oversight and it needs to be transparent and report on its operations. The Madoff fund was hiding losses, robbing from Peter to pay Paul–stealing Peter’s capital to pay Paul phony dividends. That is fraud, and it is a crime. The SSA may be inefficient or a bad idea, but it is not criminal. It is a creation of the people, via Congress. The two things are not really comparable. If you want to attack Social Security, you can find arguments to attack it without making false comparisons.

First off, the “socialite” crack was in reference to stories like this. Kind of a “welcome to the jungle” statement. I did also mention feeling bad for the innocent dupes in this crime. Let’s face it though, these “high return” investments play to some investors desire to make money quickly — be they private people or non-profit charity groups — and as such there’s a risk one assumes when handing over their money to these “high return specialists,” so we have to be careful when allowing somebody to call him or herself a “victim.”

My main points though were “where was the SEC all these years while this was going on?” and “Why aren’t government officials in jail for the same thing?” And yes, it is very similar. Just because the government is inefficient is no excuse for letting them ruin the country faster — which they do very efficiently, by the way, which makes them not wholly inefficient.

Author: Doug Powers

Doug Powers is a writer, editor and commentator covering news of the day from a conservative viewpoint with an occasional shot of irreverence and a chaser of snark. Townhall Media writer/editor. alum. Bowling novice. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan. Contact: