Friday, March 13, 2009

Fry Bernie Madoff

I should begin by saying up front that I oppose the death penalty in all cases. It's a religious/moral thing that I won't bore you with. But since we live in a country that happens to still reserve the right to kill its citizens legally, I'd like to propose we impose the death sentence on the, now self-admittedly guilty, Bernie Madoff.

Punishment should be proportionate to crime. If we believe that an individual has done extremely destructive things that damage the fabric of society and harm the well-being and safety of lots of other citizens, we should have a punishment that fits the scope of the crime.

I can think of no other criminal in my lifetime who has done more widespread harm to public trust, capitalism, non-profits, universities, individuals, and the health of the U.S. economy than Bernie Madoff. He's stolen billions, ruined thousands of lives directly, further damaged what little trust existed for investment advisers and bankers, already cost tax payers millions and will cost perhaps billions more in investigations, tax research, law suits, and countersuits. And of course the blizzard of regulation that will occur in his wake will cost us even more. He's even prompted a couple of Wall Street folks to commit suicide, so you can put killing people on the list as well. He may be the most destructive individual force I've ever seen since Bin Laden.

As I noted in an earlier post, my Dad works in the criminal justice field. When he first started out he had to watch a couple of executions, which helped seal his opposition to the practice. They had a nickname for guys in death row back when they still used the electric chair - they called them "crispy." Let's turn the chair up to "11" and make Bernie "extra crispy."

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