It's Monday, May 18th.
Victoria Day. And 131 years since Queen Victoria dispatched thousands of British soldiers to fight in Afghanistan.
Currently ... Boy, it's good to know they solved that problem.
This is The Current.
He doesn't have a blackberry. He barely uses e-mail. But when it comes to money matters, Stephen Jarislowsky is on top of things. He is one of Canada's wealthiest people and leading philanthropists. He runs an investment counseling firm that manages more than 50-Billion-dollars worth of funds. So in a time of economic turmoil, Stephen Jarislowsky's advice on how to survive an economic downturn is worth noting. He wants Ottawa to pump what he calls "an astronomical" amount of money into the economy.
Last December, news broke of a sprawling Ponzi scheme involving a Wall Street giant and a legion of well-heeled investors. The mastermind was former NASDAQ chairman Bernie Madoff.
In March, Bernie Madoff plead guilty to operating a classic pyramid scheme. Early investors were paid off with money from a second tier of investors, who were in turn paid off by later tiers and so on. At least until the stock market tanked and the whole house of cards collapsed.
Bernie Madoff is now in jail, and faces sentencing in June. U.S. Prosecutors estimate about 65 Billion dollars worth of investors' money was lost in the fiasco. The list of victims doesn't exactly elicit a lot of sympathy.
Although charitable foundations and universities were among the losers, there were more than a few Hollywood stars, movie moguls, corporate executives and members of the Palm Beach Country Club who were duped.
And then there were people like Geneen Roth. She's a best-selling author and teacher and she lost much of her life's savings to Bernie Madoff. We spoke to her from Nicasio, California in January.
It's become normal to hear about disastrous quarterly results, layoffs and dwindling stock options. So last month, when banking giant Goldman Sachs posted a first quarter profit of 1.8 Billion dollars and said it wanted to pay off half of a 10-Billion dollar loan from the U.S. Government, even the most diligent Wall Street watchers were surprised.
According to David Cay Johnston, the tight relationship between Goldman Sachs and the U.S. Federal Government has allowed Goldman Sachs to turn itself into one of the most powerful and influential companies in the country ... one that has been able to bend and shape the economic policies of one U.S. Administration after another.
David Cay Johnston is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning investigative reporter who teaches at Syracuse University's law school. He's also the author of Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense and Stick You With The Bill. We spoke to him last month from Rochester, New York.
Last Word - Scrooge
We ended the program today with a lesson about the value of money. It seems appropriate at a time when those who manage our money don't appear to have a lot of respect for a million dollars.