The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Madoff Justice

06/30/2009

Longtime readers know my belief that our society is over-regulated and under-punished. Convicted swindler, Bernie Madoff, got off easy at 150 years. Assuming this 71-year-old man actually lives another 150 years, it means he will have to spend only a few seconds in jail for each dollar stolen and only 40 days for each victim swindled. He has lived 70 years in extremely fine style, funded by his victims. Now, he will live out his remaining years with no worries about food, clothing, housing, and even have better medical care than many Americans, all funded by the taxpayers. At some point, a person indeed becomes “above the law”.

Financial journals are now discussing the “lost generation” of investors, people so traumatized by Madoff that they have become paralyzed with fear and confusion. That would be the greatest damage that Madoff has accomplished. The $65 billion that may have already been lost by his victims is nothing compared to the profits that this “lost generation” will miss.

By the way, kudos to Sen. Jim Webb, who is crusading for a new perspective on our prisons. With 5% of the world’s population, we have 25% of the world’s prisoners. And, at what cost? How many hospitals could we build with the money we spend feeding, clothing, housing and caring for prisoners? Or, how many more aircraft carriers could we afford? Now, we must pay for a pampered swindler!

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