...who doesn't want to see Bernard Madoff drawn, quartered, tarred, feathered, shot or at least sentenced to years of torture for running a Ponzi scheme that cost a lot of investors all or part of their savings.
Oh, I think he should go to jail, all right. I also think his considerable assets should be used to reimburse those who trusted him with their money.
But I can't quite work myself into the kind of rage that has gripped some people, including writers in the New York Post.
It's not that I feel any sympathy for Madoff. He screwed up, big-time.
But the part of the story now being forgotten by those who howl for his blood is this: those who invested with him knowingly took the risk. They were promised the near-impossible, which is regular huge returns on their investments, regardless of other economic conditions. I've heard profit numbers in the 40% range being tossed about as examples of what Bernie promised his clients.
Where I come from, if someone promises you a deal that good, it makes sense to be skeptical, to ask questions and look at the fine print.
Madoff's investors didn't do that. What a surprise.
No, they took their profits year after year -- this has supposedly been going on since the early 1990s -- and never wondered what magic ol' Bernie was performing.
And now, they are whining. Some people put all their money in Bernie's bogus funds, a choice which even I, who knows nothing about investing, can see was dead stupid. They lost it all. Other, more prudent, types are down to their last few millions.
If Madoff had promised risky investments that might return 20% in a good year and cheated his clients, I'd understand their anger. But nothing I know of increases in value by enough to generate a 40% return, unless it's based on the obscene interest rates those "payday cash loan" places charge their customers.
These were not stupid people. They just weren't very smart, which is a different thing.
Except, maybe, for those who claim they trusted Bernie because he is a member of their religion. Now that's stupid.
So I'm happy to see him go off to the cooler for a few years, just as I was happy to see cheats like Michael Millken do time in the Graybar Hotel.
But Madoff is no worse than the rest of the high-flying financial crooks, so spare me the sob stories about his "victims" and the calls for retribution instead of punishment, please.
In fact, I think Madoff is less guilty of massive fraud than those who are now saddling us with trillions of dollars in debt for our children and grandchildren to pay off and funneling the proceeds to their favorite contributors, cronies and various "protected" groups around the country.
Madoff, at least, will go to jail. The president and his cadre of greedheads in Congress will most likely get away with it.
22 hours ago