Saturday, December 27, 2008

And So This is Christmas

My life is small town America, with a view of the Mohawk River. It is folksy people, loads of history, close proximity to Cooperstown, Saratoga Springs and the Southern Adirondacks. Or, we can drive to Manhattan in a little over 3.5 hours.

But, there are no jobs here. People don't lock their doors at night and they don't eat arugula. They shovel their own sidewalks, clean their own houses and their kids play high school sports. There are vegetable gardens and homemade wines. Christmas cookie baking parties and a library group for people who love to knit, but there is not a grocery store within 10 miles. Taxes are high and homes aren't selling. It's small town Norman Rockwell America at its best and at its worst.

I was born here, my parents still live here and two of my three sisters are within 9 miles of my house. It's a small community of less than 2000 residents with a large elderly population. Our kids graduate from college and only return home to visit.

So, it was with mind boggling soberness to learn that Bernard Madoff has affected our lives. On Christmas Eve, my retired construction worker husband had a visit from his former boss, who presently sits on the Board of Trustees for the Pension Fund of his Union. He was told that 85% of the Pension Fund and 20% of his annuity had been invested with Madoff. The money is gone, the fund has fallen into Critical Status, a meeting is being planned for sometime in the future to discuss what has happened, how it impacts members and what efforts will be undertaken to address all of the above. The Board has requested that State Police be present at the meeting, as it is expected that the Union workers will not take kindly to the fact that such a high percentage of their hard earned money was invested in something so speculative as a hedge fund. Benefits will be cut, workers who have not yet retired will have to work much longer to accrue retirement credits, monies deducted from paychecks for the Fund will have to be increased sharply, disability, supplemental death benefits and early retirement subsidies will be reduced or eliminated in an effort to restore the Pension Plan.

It is hard to grasp that the man responsible for security fraud that has affected so many people throughout the world is on "house arrest" in his luxurious apartment, enjoying the same freedom as you and I. He has reached into to hundreds of thousands of lives and ripped out their best laid plans. It is too late to do anything about the 50 billion dollars of investor assets he has stolen, but it is not too late to remind us how greed can ruin lives.

8 comments:

Shainzona said...

WOW. Years ago, when I still went to church, I did posters for the local train station in town (to entice visitors to our small and dwindling congregation). I did one that said, "At the heart of darkness is greed".

Was true then. And is true today. I just don't remember it being so pervasive.

Heaven help us all.

Simonetta Vespucci said...

You and your family are in my prayers....
Dear DJF....I am so sorry to read this..I can't tell you.

I am shocked....I didn't think this far...regarding the Madoff issue..

This is a case that the Federal Government ought to
assist...for the sake of the American people who played by the rules..

as Shainzona said..

Heaven help us all...

Double Jointed Fingers said...

I am a Gemini/Cancer cusp. I feel better when I write about what bothers me, but then I climb into my shell to try to figure it out, bury it, get over it or blow my top.

I'm still working through this, but thank you both from the bottom of my heart for caring. Your comments are appreciated more than you know.

Simonetta Vespucci said...

I am a Cancer-Leo cusp DJF...one foot in the door, the other running out the door.

actually I have been depressed since I read this...
It makes me sad and angry...

I heard tonight on the news that they are looking offshore for some of Madoff's money...and they think they will find millions...

(don't know if you heard this..it was on Fox)

uppitywoman08 said...

Permission to cross post, please? If it's ok, please leave a comment at today's Madoff post on my blog. Thanks.

What a travesty.

Grail Guardian said...

I am so sorry to hear this. It is still amazing to me that this can happen in America, even though we should be getting used to it by now.

And just like none of the bailout money for the Sub Prime mortgage mess went to Main St, there will also be no bailout of Madoff's victims. I anticipate an unexpected "death" before he goes to trial, allowing his "estate" to be divied up among his "heirs". Personally, I'd like to see the body (and that of Ken Lay as well). I don't believe in government-issued certificates anymore.

The reality is that none of this will matter soon. Once the economy totally collapses and we are forced into the North American Union, anything any of us have will be taken or devalued completely. It's going to be a long, tough ride for everyone.

Simonetta Vespucci said...

Dear Cyn,

http://flyingmusic.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/heavy-on-my-heart-right-and-wrong/


love

song

quipster said...

So sorry to hear about your and your town's predicament. You are right - why is this man allowed to wallow in the luxuries he has stolen from hard earning folks, in his own home, when anyone else would have been thrown into jail? Thoughts and prayers with all of you to have the strength to cope with the future.