Friday, November 27, 2009

Good Old American Values

Crime doesn't pay, you say? An ex-UBS bank employee, one Bradley C. Birkenfeld, was convicted of helping rich tax evaders sock away millions of dollars that should have gone into tax coffers. He was sentenced to 40 months in jail. But here's the kicker. He became a whistle-blower and told the feds exactly how rich folks were hiding their massive wealth in offshore accounts. As a result, these rich folks have finally had to pay--no jail time, of course--just come forward and pay. Now Birkenfeld wants the government to award him several billion (yes, you read that right--billion) dollars as a reward for blowing that whistle. And he just may get it.

I understand the reason we reward whistle blowers, but where I come from, if you participate in the crime, you're a rat, not a whistle blower. You don't get rewarded; you get to sleep with the fishes.

Of course, if you blow the whistle on the DOE, you don't get money--you get sent to the rubber room like David Pakter, a former teacher of the year who was vulcanized for his troubles.

There's a lesson here somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is. All I know is a criminal may get very wealthy, and a bunch of already wealthy people will suffer no penalty for trying to cheat the government.

And teachers? We get skewered for wanting a 4% raise.

Something is wrong here.

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