“Those who can’t do or teach, steal.” motto of “Gus,” publisher of Swindler’s Monthly: The Premier Journal for Cons Everywhere [Editor’s Note: Gus says he is now serving time in a federal prison.]
Like many of you guys, I’ve mostly traveled the world by reading books and magazines. Thankfully these wonderful diversions for the imagination have given me inspiration for this guest post on Brucenomics, “Why Fraud is a Good Thing”
First, you’ve got to run the numbers. Just look at what fraud does for an economy.
Fraud creates jobs – that’s something the Fed can’t seem to do!
Look at how fraud does this. According to one of my mentors in seeing the ways of the world, Mr. Sata Bose of the Shahjahan Hotel in Calcutta “The most priceless commodity in the cabaret market was youth. Dancers’ rates varied according to the ebb and tide of this fluid quality. As a result, dancers had to get themselves photographed every three months and produce a certificate to prove that the picture was a recent one.”
So there, you see, in an effort to combat fraud, photographers and notary publics were employed. That’s good, no?
But there’s more! There’s a “multiplier effect” from fraud too. We mustn’t forget it in our calculations. Because fraud always exists, you have to look for fraud on the part of those who exist to prevent or penalize fraud. This is why, for example, police forces have internal affairs departments. Cops who police cops! And the same was true for Indian hotel owners wishing to hire female dancers.
“…it was a very treacherous business–passing off four and five-year-old pictures as recent ones was common practice. The hotel had, therefore, made arrangements with a few well-known studios around the word where the dancers had to get themselves photographs.” (Chowringhee by Sankar and Arunava Sinha, pp 191-192)
Have no doubt, those photography studios deemed most trusted to vouch for the authenticity of the dancers’ ages could charge whatever they wanted. Dancers were a rare and precious commodity in India according to Mr. Bose.
Or note that in the November AARP Bulletin I just received this month there’s an article by Jay Weaver, “Medicare Fraud: Defying Justice.” It tells us that the new health care reform law has included $350 million to combat health care fraud over the next decade. That’s going to buy a lot of new jobs, don’t you think!
Plus, think of all the lawyers, court employees, insurance companies, government bureaucrats, and law enforcement agencies that would be eliminated if fraud suddenly ceased! Man! It would be worse than the housing and commercial mortgage messes for throwing people out of work!
Fraud does not create or destroy wealth – it redistributes wealth
Get this straight! Fraud does not create or destroy wealth. Fraud simply transfers wealth. It moves wealth from one pocket to another (hopefully ours!) Those who feel cheated out of what they expected have no real gripe. What they expected was never real in the first place.
Now those Republicans, god love ’em, are always whining about wealth redistribution, and take a look who’s king at wealth redistribution. The IRS, that’s who. If taxes aren’t the biggest con in this country, I dunno what is! You want to eliminate fraud, you’re going to have to get rid of taxes first.
At least we in the fraud business don’t just take people’s money using sneaky tricks. We actually teach naive people a lesson. If they don’t learn that lesson, well, we just teach it to them again. That’s what we do. We teach suckers. Surely teaching is a nobel career, even if sometimes it isn’t well remunerated! We cons work just as hard as you do for your money, buster.
Fraud is good – fraud gives people hope
Believe our lies, and buddy, you get what you pay for. We are not business to sell value. No way. We sell what snake-oil salesmen have always sold. We sell the same thing your junkman sells. We sell the same thing “American Idol” sells — hope even for the hopeless!
A recent TV show I caught down in the lounge the other night showed one of us selling a cancer cure to terminally-ill patients. When cornered by those nasty expose-reporters asking what his clients got for their money, the plucky fellow shouted, “I give these people hope! What’s their alternative?”
Indeed, there are the hope-needers and the hope-givers in this world. And the number of needers seems to greatly outweigh that of the givers. Pity the pressure this puts on this of us who have to give them hope!
What’s our reward for giving hope? Why even we ourselves gain hope from fraud. Without fraud, what would our alliterative be? We want the American Dream too! We’re just like you and everyone else! We want to be rich, drive nice cars, have girlfriends, pay our child support costs. Can you begrudge us that?
Come on folks, face it! If fraud didn’t give people hope, what the heck would politicians do for a living?
There is no free lunch
I had a landlord tell me that when I didn’t need to rent his house for a whole month. I just needed a couple of days to pull off my con. Can you beat that! The cheap ba$$tard made me cough the money up the whole month. But I learned from that. Now I tell ’em I’m a Hollywood location scout. It works every time. I pay the deposit and take off when I want.
Now, according to the November issue of the AARP, “The new [health care] law requires officials to use savings from Medicare-including staunching the flow of money lost to fraud–to strengthen the program and help pay for new Medicare benefits such as free screenings?” Isn’t that outrageous? [Editor’s note: bold type added by Gus.]
Who ever said things should be free for everyone? Free screenings for all? Come on! When did this country become socialist? We’re a country of entrepreneurs, pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Forget about free screenings. Boy, if you buy that commie idea, you deserve to have us rip you off!
There is no free lunch, folks. Even we cons have to work for ours! Speaking of which, I’m sorry, but I gotta go. I need to pick up a bunch a litter down the road before dinner. And then tonight it’s back to work figuring out my new plan for when I get out of this resort.
Thanks for listening you all. Thanks for having me on your site, Nance! I’ve really learned a lot from you.
[Editor’s note: I have no idea what he meant saying he learned a lot from me. My emails to Gus’ email address have all bounced!]