"Although quite a few political figures have been convicted of various crimes over the years, and although it is widely believed that politicians routinely lie to voters, Cooley is reportedly the only Member of Congress ever convicted specifically of lying to voters."
Yes, cynicism is rampant.
Or maybe not rampant enough.
The above quote is from the Wikipeda entry for one Wester Cooley, a former congressman from Oregon. Now while it is widely believed that Wikipedia isn't necessarily accurate, it's still a bit disturbing that "it is widely believed that politicians routinely lie to voters."
If that's true, why should we be disappointed when we've found out that a politician has lied? Isn't that part of the implied job description?
I thought of this the other day after a couple of Obama appointees withdrew their nominations because of some, ahem, tax issues. The withdrawals made me wonder about a couple of things.
Like how many of those guys in Congress failed to report a few things on their tax returns because they thought no one would notice and they weren't going to be nominated for a Cabinet position?
Or how many of you reading this haven't left out an item or two from your tax returns because you were sure no one would notice?
Come on. You can be honest with me. I can't hear you anyway.
So should we be upset when we find out some of these guys lied on their tax returns?
The next, and possibly more important, question is why do we believe and/or elect politicians anyway? Are we insane?
This brings us to the case of Wester Cooley, a man whom you may recall was indicted the other day for securities fraud.
Indictment was not a new experience for Cooley. He was convicted of lying about his war experience in a voter information pamphlet when he ran for Congress.
So here's the part to marvel at: this is a guy who was once convicted of lying. He got lots of publicity for this. So, naturally, he then was able to get hundreds of people to invest millions of dollars in a public company that he lied about.
Apparently there are lots of people with money out there who look at a company being run by a well-known convicted felon who is also one of those politicians who routinely lie and think that company must be a great investment.
Of course it may not have been worse than a lot of other investments these days....
ANOTHER INVESTMENT SCHEME. There's always a silver lining.
OK, not always but you do find silver linings in some unexpected places. To wit: the Bernie Madoff investment debacle.
Yeah, investors lost an enormous sum of money, but we now have a new domestic service industry: Madoff litigation.
If you don't believe me, then you probably haven't heard that there will be a Madoff Litigation Conference in New York later this month.
This is from a press release announcing the event: "Litigation sparked by financial losses investors attributed to the conduct of alleged Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff will be the focus of the program, priced at $495."
And you're guaranteed to get your money back when you go out and recruit clients....
No wait, wasn't that that the original scheme?
Financial life just keeps recycling.
This is going to be a growth industry.