You know what I’ve been thinking about lately? Bernie Madoff.
On Thursday, Wall Street swindler and all-around asshole Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty to eleven counts of securities fraud and perjury relating to the larger than average Ponzi scheme he was running. The man who’s become the poster boy for runaway greed during our trying economic times said in his statement to the court that he was “sorry and ashamed.”
These comments hardly seem adequate considering the 70-year-old financier conned a multitude of victims out of roughly $65 billion dollars. “Sorry and ashamed” is what my 2-year-old should be when he purposely drools milk down his chin at the dinner table.
When you steal that much coin from that many people – including the fleecing of pension funds and nonprofit organizations – you should probably take the extra time to properly express exactly how much of a douchebag you really are. If this requires consulting a thesaurus, so be it.
Or perhaps the judge overseeing this case should’ve allowed the people Mr. Madoff ripped off to write his statement for him. I think some of the victims would’ve been more than happy to have gotten together, brainstormed the appropriate verbiage and forced Big Bernie to read their opus publicly. Something tells me their words would’ve been a little more colorful and certainly would have given the world a better gauge by which to judge this man and his actions.
What makes the Madoff case so maddening is that his crimes were motivated my nothing more than unadulterated greed. He was a successful and well-respected investment professional who ripped people off simply to line his own pockets. Apparently being respected and wealthy just wasn‘t enough. He wanted to be respected and super-wealthy.
Stealing is always rotten, but at least when the criminals who commit these misdeeds are desperate people living desperate lives, you can understand it on some level. When the rich lie, cheat and steal just to become more rich, I find myself completely baffled.
It’s people like Bernie Madoff that make me wish reincarnation were real and that scumbags like him would return to earth and suffer the most undignified second lives. Nothing would make me happier than to think of Madoff coming back to the living world as a three-legged dog or a urinal cake.
Unfortunately Bernie Madoff’s punishment will be quite earthly and humane with a better than average chance that no one urinates on him. He’ll live out the last years of his life in a prison (probably the upper crust, country club variety) and die a relatively comfortable death.
When that day comes, there will probably be a small blurb about his passing on the news – assuming the “news” still exists and hasn’t been replaced by reality show about pets trying to lose weight. The general population, due to our utter lack of an attention span, will barely remember his name or what particular actions landed the deceased on the federal farm to begin with.
Of course, the people he ripped off will remember and wish him good riddance.
But most of us will not recall the man, his deeds or the greed that led to them. Instead, we’ll just look back at the Madoff scandal of 2009 as the time we learned what a Ponzi scheme was.
And for that I am sorry and ashamed.