In his “Talking Business” column, Joe Nocera explores Bernie Madoff’s accomplices: the victims themselves, and the SEC. He quotes James R. Hedges IV of LJH Global Investments:
“It is a real lesson that people cannot abdicate personal responsibility when it comes to their personal finances.” And that’s the point. People did abdicate responsibility — and now, rather than face that fact, many of them are blaming the government for not, in effect, saving them from themselves. Indeed, what you discover when you talk to victims is that they harbor an anger toward the S.E.C. that is as deep or deeper than the anger they feel toward Mr. Madoff. There is a powerful sense that because the agency was asleep at the switch, they have been doubly victimized. And they want the government to do something about it.
Nocera ably acknowledges the hurt and suffering of Madoff’s victims while pointing out their thoroughgoing irresponsibility — especially in the suggestion that someone else should pick up the pieces.
I’m less sanguine: The more thoroughly their cascading delusions of government aid and protection are shattered, the better. And yours, too. And mine. No bailout.