Welcome To Our World

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Ben Cohen
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By David Glenn Cox

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Welcome, good evening, one and all, find a seat and make yourself
comfortable. Take your shoes off and stay a while; a little business
first, for those of you with cars there is no valet parking. Feel free
to ask to ask questions of your neighbors. Those of you who lost your
retirement in the Enron scandal please raise your hands so that the
newcomers can find you.

There will be no refreshments served, get used to it. So, here we
go. You are now poor and this is the awareness group: "So you woke up
and found yourself poor." Any former millionaires here? Ha, ha, ha, ha,
I’m sorry, I know that’s mean-spirited but I just can’t help myself
sometimes. How about any Republicans? I didn’t think so, I knew you
wouldn’t fall for that gag twice, would you?

With that I’ll open up the floor for questions. Yes, sir, go ahead.

"I am a retired business man living in Florida. Just about all my
money is invested with Madoff Securities. I have been using that money
to live on. Based on what is known so far, can you tell me how badly I
have been hurt and if there is anything I should be doing to possibly
protect myself or preserve my assets. I appreciate any advice you can
give me. Please email me or call me . . ."

That’s an easy one; you are screwed, blued and tattooed. You were
retired, now you're just broke-ass poor. Your new hobbies are yard
sales, flea markets, and for a big day, hanging out at the public
library. Yes, you in the back.

"I have just read the article regarding the Madoff investments.
Could you please tell me what investors are supposed do in wake of this
news? Or provide any detail that you may have come across in your
research for this story?"

Well, ma’am, in the words of the late Johnny Cash, "Cry, cry, cry,"
but try to look at the bright side. Remember how concerned many of you
were before the election that Obama was going to raise your taxes? You
don’t have to worry about that any more.

"Both my grandmother and parents invested funds with the firm. We are very concerned. Please advise."

Clean out the spare room and don’t expect an inheritance.

"We are long-time investors in Madoff with millions of dollars
there. We can’t get any information. Do you know anything about how
much of the investors assets are left?"

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, I’m sorry, let’s see, he had fifty billion
and he’s got around two hundred million left, so what’s that? About two
cents on the dollar? Of course, that was before Bernie started passing
out millions to his friends and relatives. So, if you’ve got any jars
filled with change you might want to start planning your retirement
around them.

"I am one of the little guys who has money invested at Madoff. My
father was an investor with the company for 30 years, and when he died
in 2006 he left money in trust for my children and my wife which is
invested in Madoff accounts. Based on what he told me of the firm, I
also invested the money he left to me. All totaled we have about
$2,800,000 in four accounts. Needless to say I am feeling pretty sick
to my stomach this evening. At this point do you have any idea of
whether there is (or will be) any money to distribute to account
holders. Any information you can provide would be appreciated (that is
an understatement for sure). Thank you."

Had, sir, you had, then he had; now you don’t have and never will have again.

"I am an 86-year-old widow who had her total money with Madoff. I
have read the Internet stories but would be interested to learn more
about the prospects of getting any money out of this situation. If you
have any information or can direct me to how I can get some information
I would be very grateful."

Ma’am, in all honesty you have a better chance of winning the New
York marathon with a winning lottery ticket in your pocket. But never
forget that you live in the greatest country in the whole wide world.
You live in a country where even a man who admits to stealing 50
billion dollars from little old ladies can post bond and be out of jail
and home in time for supper. Where he can return to his palace fit for
the king of Saudi Arabia and hold meetings with an army of high-priced
lawyers on how to keep you from ever getting a nickel and use what’s
left of your money to do it with.

"I am absolutely appalled by the arrest of Bernard Madoff. My father
has a very substantial investment with his firm and is, at the moment,
out of the country and not reachable. Is there any word on whether my
father’s account is worth anything? Is there something that he should
be doing, or is it too late? What does it mean that Madoff was making
distributions to select employees, friends and family? How could this
happen??????"

That is a very good question, thank you for asking. The good news is
that until you are able to reach your father, he is still affluent. So
don’t be in too much of a hurry to contact him. Your father's account
is worth a smile and a promise. This happened because you forgot that
greed is eternal. You trusted in those who told you that the market
could be trusted and that regulations would steal away the precious
pennies you sought to put in your pocket, and that is what brought you
here today. Try and understand, sir, that you are in the remedial group.

The rest of us already know that we are screwed, we’ve already lost
homes and cars and jobs. Most of us had little to lose in the first
place, the workmen, the carpenters and painters, plumbers, the sheet
rock men have all seen their jobs bled away. Then it was the auto
mechanics and bank tellers. But now you dare ask in righteous
indignation how could this happen, but what you really mean by that is
how could this happen to you?

You are better then? Than the autoworkers trying to keep their jobs?
You thought your white collar and your wealth would protect you as you
nodded in agreement that outsourcing was vital to a growing economy.
You thought these things could never reach you? Well here’s another
clue for you all, the walrus is Paul, coo coo ka choo.

Welcome to our world; come on in, a world where the mailman only
brings bad news. Where your heart jumps when city vehicles drive by
your house. Where shopping isn’t a pleasure but a nightmare; where you
don’t decide what you’ll get but what you won’t get. When the door bell
is ringing at 3 AM, it’s the repo man, and that red color on your
utility bills means that they are delinquent and about to be turned off.

But we welcome you all, you are one of us now, even if you thought you never would be.

They used to tell me
I was building a dream.
And so I followed the mob
When there was earth to plow
Or guns to bear
I was always there
Right on the job.
They used to tell me
I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead.
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?
Once I built a railroad
I made it run
Made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad
Now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower up to the sun
Brick and rivet and lime.
Once I built a tower,
Now it's done.
Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once in khaki suits
Gee we looked swell
Full of that yankee doodle dee dum.
Half a million boots went sloggin' through hell
And I was the kid with the drum!
Say don't you remember?
They called me Al.
It was Al all the time.
Why don't you remember?
I'm your pal.
Say buddy, can you spare a dime?

(Gorney, Harburg)

The questions are all actual questions posed by the former investors
in Madoff Securities; please make them feel welcome when you run into
them today.