Madoff Matters

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I’m still thinking (as are we all) about Bernie Madoff and the New Year recession. Over at the Daily Beast, an artist conveys what it’s like to go from riches to rags over night. I link to it mostly because of the appalling comments it generated.

As the author tells it, she scrimped, saved, and worked her way to a schmancy NY apartment, a vacation cottage in Palm Beach, fancy truffles, and real pearls, refusing even to take alimony post-divorce! Yet, oh so predictably, readers crap all over her. Why? Even if she’d inherited all her money and spent her days in a heroin haze, does that make it all right to steal her money, then vilify her? She was victimized! And the readers victimize her again.

There’s a lot of petty emotion from readers too obvious to bear discussion, but these are comments we really need to talk about.

Now that no one can deny that the “smartest guys in the room” are really just the greediest, it’s time to unravel the mindset that rich people get that way cuz they deserve it (and, therefore, we don’t). No, most rich people get rich on all our backs (auto bailouts, anyone?), however inept. What burns me up is our willingness to buy this baloney. The fat cats have taught us to blame ourselves for our ‘failures’ (like being unemployed, uninsured, etc.), when it’s their machinations largely responsible for the small margins of either error or success available to us. And boy, have we bought the mindfuck.

So, if you’re inclined to agree with this poor, defrauded woman’s detractors, ask yourself why. Why are you madder at her than at Madoff and all the running dog capitalists who’ve ruined our country?

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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