A blog . . . in spite of how pathetic blogging actually is.

Friday, December 19, 2008

We're All Out of Order

[Really Pathetic Blogger's Note: I was intending to write a longer version of what you see below, but then I got beat to the punch by some Nobel Prize winner. Upon reading his piece this morning, I stopped working on my post immediately as he (not surprisingly) says better what I had wanted to convey. The trigger point in his piece that iced the theme of my piece, comes in the last four paragraphs of what he wrote, but I recommend you read the whole thing. He's damn good. On a personal note, this is a really cool thing you can do in the pathetic world of blogging because you're your own boss, albeit for a company that makes no money, but you get to do whatever you want. It's a snow day at Shorewood High School. Like I want to write???]

Here's what I'd written before I stopped . . . .

On second thought, it would appear that Senator McCain was right, SEC Chairman Chris Cox should be fired. As the epic realities of the Madoff scheme come to light, there can be no other conclusion. If Chris Cox were a high school civics teacher, someone paid to perform a duty that involves, at its core, the conveyance of the principles of our democracy to a room full of teenagers, then the final exam would only be fair if it asked those young learners to construct haikus about their favorite flavors of ice cream. The correlation between job description and actual job product is, as far as I can tell, fairly judged in this hypothetical scenario---at least by the standards we now have to use for the SEC in the wake of a $50,000,000,000 fraud that has allowed me to do something I never thought I'd get to do: In the great net worth competition being played out in America's final weeks of being seen as a primarily capitalist society, I can now say that I just passed up a few a dozen people whose respective estates were at least eight figures a piece, and I can say that I did it in a day . . . and I can say that I did it by essentially standing still. My net worth is decent, but not high enough to qualify for the Madoff club. Lucky me.

It's happened . . . to a number of people. You're worth 15 million dollars one day, and then you're eligible for food stamps the next. Sure, it's easy to harden the shell and feel no sympathy. Caveat emptor. If it's too good to be true, it's not . . . dumbasses. What were you thinking when you saw year-in, year-out returns that, statistically speaking, were impossible? You remind me of the mathematically illiterate tour de force that argued, just over eight years ago, that a margin of 537 votes out of just under 6,000,000 was a plausibly acceptable definition for electoral victory. I mean, have you ever seen 537 people gathered together in a room? That's a lot! (NOTE: This argument was actually made to me by a friend who has a medical degree from a prestigious university in the United States of America.)

I get it.

Mathematical illiteracy (even when used as a crutch by otherwise intelligent people) is a convenient way of putting the whole thing to rest at a time when the majority of us who live down here in the seven figure, six figure, five figure, and four figure net worth categories . . . have plenty of other matters over which to expend our stress. It got to be like the Wild West out there (the U.S. financial sector) and, like most chapters in this Wild West drama of the U.S. economy, it has consequences for us all. Ol' Doc Jones' stall of horses is still missing even if we did catch that Madoff rustler, and now we'll have a harder time getting medicines for the sick folk in town.

It leaves me with the feeling that something is profoundly wrong here. [At the 4:16 point of the epic scene, Al Pacino says it all]

Madoff did this over the course of more than just the Bush Administration. Democrats and Republicans alike have this blood on their hands. We're all out of order. How does this happen? Where does trust go when it can't be a part of the U.S. economic infrastructure?

------[Communication terminated by Dr. Krugman's Nobelly mind and just overall level of awesomeness]

No comments: