Madoff’s Crime: Impersonating the Commissioner of Social Security

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Lew, it seems to me that Madoff was just running a Social Security program without a license. His designer program differed from the routine in two ways: Voluntary contributions were accepted from the super-rich. In the real program, mandatory protection money is stolen by force from the poor and middle class.

The reason every Social Security “Reform” effort of the past failed is simple: like Madoff’s kitty, there was no “there” there when reformers went to look for the “saved” money so they could invest it more wisely. The money had all been spent, immediately.

In the 1980s, Margo Carlisle, the highest-ranking woman on the Senate staff, finally found the “Social Security Trust Fund.” It was a few big numbers scribbled on a slip of paper in the desk drawer of a mid-level bureaucrat (GS-13) in West Virginia. So in the 1990’s, Phil Gramm tried to invent a “lockbox” for the proceeds so Congress couldn’t spend them — but the box would still contain only updated slips of paper [“IOU $37 trillion. Happy Holidays!”].

Very much like Madoff. Now, if we’re bailing him out along with all the other misguided losers who have powerful lobbyists, we may as well bail out Social Security and Medicare too.

It would only cost about $70 trillion, but hey — then we’d have a “fresh start”!

12:32 pm on December 14, 2008