Friday, December 19, 2008

Bernie Madoff's Ponzi

Madoff's Attorney : Dry Bones cartoon.
By now we've all read that the scam apparently pulled by Bernie Madoff was a "Ponzi" scheme.

In the "Ponzi", Madoff had promised to manage investment portfolios for his clients, but he did not invest their funds...he stole them. Then, to keep his clients from knowing that he had made off (Madoff?) with their money, he delivered what his clients thought were the annual "profits" from his wise investment of their funds. To do that he simply paid them from money put in by his new clients. As long as new clients kept delivering their funds to him for him to "manage", he kept everybody happy. A kind of "Pyramid" scheme.

The more I thought about the structure of this "Ponzi", the more it seemed familiar ...and then it hit me! America's Social Security System is a giant Ponzi!! American workers have paid into the system for years, assuming that they'd get back the money they'd put in plus interest.

In fact the Federal government just made off (Madoff?) with the money and pays out benefits from the money that the new workers put in. And when the number of new workers joining the Social Security system falls and the retirees grow sufficiently in number ...the Social Security Ponzi will collapse ...and the U.S. government will replace Bernie Madoff as the holder of the Guinness record for the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

Your thoughts?

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