Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day the Earth Went Broke

This is excerpted from a very well-written sales pitch for precious metals. Well worth reading down to the paragraph below which precedes the pitch to buy silver and gold.
So it makes me wonder. How bad is it out there? How many other Ponzi schemes are there besides Madoff’s? How many more financial psychopaths are ginning up fake account statements? How many little old ladies are there out there who think they have money in an account, but it’s all just some big scam? How many more bad banks? How many bad brokerage houses? How many more bad companies with bad stock? How many more bad government entities with bad finances and worse bonds? How many bad pension funds?

It drives home the point of wondering whom you can trust. And how bad is it with even the U.S. government? Do you really trust government statistics, like the one for the rate of inflation or unemployment? And how about the numbers in the national budget accounts? We’re spending how much? Does money even have any meaning to the people who have the power to appropriate it? Our whole national accounting process has turned into an intergenerational Ponzi scheme.

Really, our $10 trillion national debt is not enough? We are looking at trillion-dollar deficits in just the next year or two. How long can it last? And whom can you believe in any position of authority? So Bernard Madoff had a “system” for investing? And Ben Bernanke has a “system” for managing the monetary policy of the country, right? Hank Paulson has a “system” for managing the Treasury accounts? And Congress and the president — G.W. Bush, and after him B.H. Obama — have a “system” for spending the nation’s limited wealth on important things, yes?
Begs so many questions. For example, how does the devastation resulting from Madoff's fraud compare with the WTC devastation precipitating the GWOT? If as I suspect, Madoff is just the visible tip of a much larger iceberg, what level of alert is appropriate in response to what will ensue as other such schemes unfold over the next few weeks and months? (and no, I don't think buying silver and gold at this late hour is the answer)