Tuesday, December 23, 2008


A spectacular crime.

A rich tapestry.

I like the thread woven by those who, believing Madoff to be a crook, nonetheless entrusted him with their money because they thought he was stealing for them, not stealing from them (i.e., front running, not running a Ponzi scheme).

I like the three-person accounting firm's ability to evade peer review by certifying every year for 30 years that it was conducting no audits. The cool thing about the certification is that, at least as far as the books, records and financial statements of the Madoff organization are concerned, it was true.

I love the masters of Hedgistan (fund of fund variety) whining that this was a failure of governmental regulation, losing sight the the fundamental point that hedges funds are definitionally lightly regulated investment pools, and that half the justification for the fees of the fund of funds managers was their careful scrutiny and sophisticated monitoring of the managers into which they fed their investors capital.

Will the Madoff Affair have consequences? Quite possibly. He fleeced enough of the right people. In tandem with Mr. Dreier they are extremely attractive poster children for the proposition that the whole game was a crooked business, and needs to be shut down.

So shut it down. Start with the bonus culture. Turn the banks into public utilities every bit as exciting as Con Ed. Tax the investment pools out of existence. Then move onto exemplary justice. Executions at midfield in the Yale Bowl aren't part of the American Tradition. Not yet.


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