The Advance Fee Scam is a variant of the Spanish Prisoner - one of the oldest cons (confidence scams) known to man. It plays on several natural instincts: greed, trust, and fear. It's old but it still works. Congress' bailout may be the biggest Advance Fee scam of all time and it relied on the same fundamentals.
The advance fee fraud scam involves ransoming cash or valuable items before the some option expires or thieves recognize its value. If this sounds like an email you received from Nigeria...it is.
In our version, congress told us that for an investment of 700 billion we could release assets in excess of 2 trillion dollars from the "locked up" credit market. We were told of billions of profits for projects like universal health care. Like any good confidence scam, the details were hard to grasp and very non-specific. And the trust part? Everywhere we looked, we had other members of the scam telling us how important it was to do this thing. People like James Johnson, Herb Allison, Henry Paulson, President Bush, Barney Frank and Barack Obama all helped create this mess...and we took their advice.
After the Big Push to get this funding through congress, the lonely American Taxpayer showed up in Nigeria to get his money back today, and look what we found. The DOW has dropped like a rock since congress finally authorized the money.
In the very near future this scam will evolve into a Spanish Prisoner when these same bright boys tell us that the 700 billion just was not enough. It will now take 1.5 trillion. They will tell us that since we have already invested 700 billion, it would be foolish to waste the money already spent. And that this time, THIS TIME, it will really work.
FYI dear taxpayer. The Spanish Prisoner scam usually ends when the mark (us) is broke.