Is there a greater crime against our country than that which Bernie Madoff is charged? I don’t think so. This is not ‘just’ stealing 50 Billion dollars – this is about the harm done to our way of life. Our way of life is based on capitalism tempered by faith, or consideration for others. Bernie Madoff has corrupted the public faith in the fundamental institutions necessary for a prospering society. Nothing short of Treason.
By himself, Madoff would seem a dastardly and corrupt individual – a man with no sense of duty to his country, customers, or even his friends. But Madoff is the proverbial nail in the coffin. We have witnessed ten years of corporate corruption unparalleled in our history. We can start with Worldcom, advance to Enron, then quickly run through predatory home lenders, insurance companies, banking, Big Oil, and the automobile industry. The damage done to the American way of life is nothing less than treason – and our legislators should consider laws that make this sort of travesty of justice exactly what it is – treason.
Martha Stewart profited less than 100,000 dollars with some insider trading – and she went to prison. Insider trading is a serious crime – people like me invest because we believe the playing field is fairly regulated. The conviction of Stewart was necessary to confirm investor faith in the system.
But considering the TRILLION DOLLARS that has somehow escaped from Wall Street – Martha Stewart is a trivial convenience store burglar in comparison. Consider that Bernie Madoff has single-handedly stolen 50 BILLION dollars – and he is drinking his chardonnay while watching football in his swanky New York home.
Where is the justice? Where is the justice for us folks who save all of our lives by investing in our pension or our 401K – only to have our savings stolen by sophisticated used car salesmen – con men who are worse than any mafioso? The Mafia is right up front – give us your money or we will break your legs. Cowards like Madoff are dangerous slimy burglars in the night, stealing the safety, security, and future of your children.
The magnitude of these crooks raises the bar of punishment. The devastation to our economy, to our hopes and dreams for the future, to our confidence in our cherished institutions, should be considered treasonous. Osama Bin Laden’s chauffeur suffered greater punishment than the crooks on Wall Street will experience. Where is the justice?
Treason is the highest crime against a country. And Bernie Madoff should be charged with treason. There will only be justice when the crimes are recognized for what they are – and prison is too pleasant an option for these lowest of criminals.