Saturday, February 14, 2009

CS Monitor on Madoff

The CS Monitor has an interesting article on Madoff:

According to the article, Madoff's investors will probably not get a full bailout, but will be able to deduct their losses:

"I've been telling people to renounce their claims," says Robert Willens, a tax attorney in New York. Closing out litigation and other investor-protection claims, he says, opens the door to a "theft-loss" deduction. This lets investors recoup the entire loss minus 10 percent of their gross adjusted income. "Otherwise you'll only get pennies on the dollar," says Mr. Willens.

With the tax deductions, Madoff's investors will be paying fewer or no taxes. That means the Treasury gets less revenue in a year when it desperately needs more. Bailout or no bailout, Madoff has harmed the average taxpayer.

Tragically, some of Madoff's investors have committed suicide. The most publicized suicides during this recession have been rich people (Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, William Foxton, et al), not middle class or poor people. That's party because hedge funds and feeder funds relied on a closed circle of affluent investors and connections to supply Madoff with fresh money. Still, it's surprising to see the uber-rich commit suicide, because even without their Madoff investment, they must have property or enough money to be middle class.

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