Friday, December 12, 2008

Loss of Faith

After the Blago corruption story broke, Michael of Southern Appeal asked "Do corruption stories ever give big-government aficionados any real worry?" A libertarian leaning friend of mine here at UC asked me roughly the same question. My response was twofold: first, corruption in Illinois state politics is hardly something shocking, so no, I'm not having a crisis of faith, and second, to the extent this is indictment of "big government", it's roughly on par to the effect your average "MegaCorp dumps a billion gallons of toxic waste into local waterways -- local children spotted with extra limbs" has on the die-hard free marketers.

In the vein of the latter, out comes another Wall Street scandal (via Balloon Juice):
Bernard L. Madoff, a legend among Wall Street traders, was arrested on Thursday morning by federal agents and charged with criminal securities fraud stemming from his company’s money management business.

The arrest and criminal complaint were confirmed just before 6 p.m. Thursday by Lev L. Dassin, the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan, and Mark Mershon, the assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the complaint, Mr. Madoff advised colleagues at the firm on Wednesday that his investment advisory business was “all just one big lie” that was “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme” that, by his estimate, had lost $50 billion over many years.

Fun fact: I never thought I'd see a business executive describe his own malfeasance as "a giant Ponzi scheme" outside a Dilbert strip.

1 comment:

Tony Henke said...

You outed me (well not really). But you're right, reflecting back I realize that I committed what in some circles is known as the "libertarian vice." Oops.