The aptly-named Bernie Madoff has been sentenced.
Bernard Madoff has been given the maximum prison sentence of 150 years for masterminding a massive fraud that robbed investors of $65bn (£40bn).
Madoff's firm was investigated eight times by the US Securities and Exchange Commission over the past 16 years, because it made exceptional returns.
Madoff's crime, you will remember, was to run a Ponzi Scheme—in effect, a fraud in which investors' returns are paid purely from the money flowing in from new investors, rather than from any profit earned.
£40 billion pounds is, of course, an awful lot of money to have swindled over the course of nearly twenty years.
However, as I have consistently pointed out, Madoff's fraud is nowhere near the scale of the British governments' National Insurance—which has been running since 1911 and will defraud "investors" of some £104 billion this year alone [PDF].
The only major difference between NICs and Madoff's scam is that the latter's investors could choose whether or not they wished to invest in Madoff's scheme, and at what level.
Under NICs, not only must we pay 11% of our salary—under threat of fines and prison (whether we recognise that the wholescheme is a big, fat fraud or not)—but our employers must pay another 12.8% too.
And whilst Madoff—when faced with the prospect of being unable to repay the money—gave himself up, what is the response of our government? It is to press the gun to our heads once again, and insist that we not only up our investment into the scam but also that we make up the shortfall in delivery with yet more of our money—even though anyone on the median wage could source the services elsewhere for about half the money.
Yes, Madoff has committed a massive fraud. But it is absolutely fucking nothing compared to the colossal—and compulsory—Ponzi Scheme forced on the British people for nearly a century.
And whilst a weekend at Bernie's* will not be nearly so fun from now on, our politicians continue to live high on the hog (on money extorted from us) and suffer no legal consequences whatsoever.
Justice is a funny thing, eh?
* I couldn't resist it.