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Madoff's Fraud is Nothing Compared to U.S. Treasury's

By James West      Printer Friendly Version
Dec 16 2008 9:05AM

Back in 1989, Forbes Magazine published an article painting Vancouver, Canada as the "scam capital of the world". As evidence he cited a few debacles which certainly caused investors to lose money, but the amounts are trifling compared to the trillions that have suddenly become part of the daily news lexicon.

In fact, given the hundreds of billions that Wall Street has fleeced investors for in cases of fraud that are astounding not only in dollar size, but in the duration they run for before they collapse under the weight of their bloated treasuries.

Enron, Tyco, and Worldcom are certainly the household corporate words for fraud on Wall Street. Combined, the estimated take from those three scams was a total of $121 billion in total damages.

But hedge funds are collapsing so fast that they number in the dozens every week, and fully one third of the $1.5 trillion asset class is expected to go up in smoke within the next 24 months, dwarfing the carnage of corporate fraud.

Now along comes Bernie Madoff.

Madoff’s take of $50 billion demonstrates unequivocally that the entire investment industry is essentially one big confidence game, where appearances mean everything and substance is hard to come by. Listening to the petulant indignation emanating from the victims of that fraud who were "professional" investors elicits little sympathy from a public who watches helplessly as the Fed continues to pump taxpayer-backed dollars into the accounts of the biggest financial institutions. That wouldn’t be so bad if we saw some of that cash making its way down into the broad economy, but so far there is absolutely zero evidence of that happening.

Madoff’s fraud, improbable as it may seem, brings to mind another massive financial institution that, if the same standards of evaluation were to be applied as to Madoff, would most likely reveal another Ponzi scheme in progress.

A “Ponzi Scheme? is one where early investors are paid non-existent “profits? with the money brought in by new investors. Ponzi schemes always collapse when no more investors can be enticed into the scheme, and payouts stop. This is exactly what happened in the Madoff case, and unless I am very much mistaken, this is what is happening at the United States Treasury right now, with its accomplice, the United States Federal Reserve.

Technically, the Fed prints money when the Treasury issues it a check that it back with the sale of T-Bills. The treasury bills theoretically attract buyers because the revenue generated from taxes as a percentage of GDP are sufficient to justify the number of T-Bills in circulation. If the U.S. Economy was a corporation, T-Bills would be shares in the company, and all of the infrastructure and profit-generating businesses in the United States would be its assets, and the taxes generated across the whole operation would theoretically comprise the corporation’s revenue.

In Bernie Madoff’s case, the fan was hit with the proverbial excrement when he ran out of new investors, and some old investors wanted to withdraw $7 billion of their money. Bernie ran around Wall Street for a couple of weeks before he realized the jig was up, and he and his two sons concocted a strategy whereby they would turn him in, hopefully thwarting the boys being swept up in the inevitable incarcerations just on the horizon.

Now if Bernie was the United States Treasury, and his sons were the U.S. Federal Reserve, he could have simply called his boys and said, “Look boys…send over $7 billion right away, will ya?? The boys, being family, would have certainly wired the funds over to Bernie, and Bernie could go on his merry way, attracting a growing crowd of innocent (hah!) investors, and paying them off with his sons’ printing press. In this case, investors would continue to pile in, and Bernie could keep writing checks to his sons and issuing shares to his victims, because at no point was anybody going to say “Whoa boys! Lets take a look at them books!?

And that’s because if Bernie was the U.S. Treasury, and his sons the Fed, everybody who might want to take a peak at the balance sheets already pretty much knows what they’d find there: the ashes of the U.S. economy. Baffed out and beaten, repackaged and resold in a trillion different ways, such that there is no way the entire productivity and asset base of the United States now and for decades to come, could ever justify the trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of shares the massive Ponzi scheme that is the United States has put into circulation.

Nobody wants the illusion to end. Especially not its biggest shareholders – Japan, China and the U.K. For if their own treasuries are based substantially on the fragrant paper originated by the United States government, well then what does that say about the value of the bonds they issue to justify the quantity of their own currency in circulation?

When considered in this light, its no wonder the world’s central banks act on a concerted basis to suppress the price of precious metals. For it the metals were allowed to trade freely against these currencies of falsely inflated value, then the market would quite likely demonstrate what it thinks about those currencies by trading them in for gold – a process now underway on the fringe where wise men looking through the fog of deception that is the media, are moving as nonchalantly as possible for the exits of U.S. investment.

I wonder if we’ll ever see this sign, now gracing the web page of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, on the front door of the U.S. Treasury:

“The Honorable Louis L. Stanton, Federal Judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, has appointed Lee S. Richards of the law firm Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP receiver over the assets and accounts of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (“BMIS?) as per the attached order:

By the way, the author of the article on Vancouver, Joe Queenan, now focuses on what turned out to be his forte – humor.

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James West
Monday, December 15, 2008



James West is the editor of, a subscriber-based financial newsletter that alerts readers to opportunities and threats to their financial well-being. A subscription is US$499 for one year. Visit to learn more.