Treasury Bond Swindle

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Davis Logsdon is chairman of the economics department at the University of Minnesota. He is an expert in financial swindles, and he tipped off the FBI about the Treasury Department’s scam of selling worthless "Treasury bills" to unsuspecting investors.

Event: Andy Borowitz will be hosting a discussion looking at politics after the presidential election
Thursday, April 30, at 8:00 pm
92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Ave.
More information here.


Davis Logsdon

Comments [93]

Tony from San Jose, CA

Robert, the difference between Social Security and a Ponzi scheme is that you are REQUIRED by law to throw your money away into SS.

Apr. 08 2009 11:19 AM
robert barker from fort smith, arkansas

I guess being from Arkansas I a little simple, but could someone explain to me the difference between Social Security and a Ponzu scheme?

Apr. 07 2009 05:19 PM
Milton from Manhattan

Maybe the April Fool's joke is that it IS true

The strength of the Treasury has been that people trusted its strength. Over-extending itself now can change that.

Apr. 06 2009 12:31 PM
Sean Dell from New York City

Brilliant. I was tipped off by the preamble in which Logsdon described Lopate as 'sexy in real life'. The mangled metaphors were the next clue. But I have to admit, I nearly fell for it. Well done everyone.

Apr. 03 2009 09:09 AM
Don Thieme from

This guy is like a grain of sand crying in the ocean. P^on^zi = pwned!

Apr. 03 2009 06:42 AM
ZBicyclist from Chicago (usually podcast listener)

Andy B was an inspired April 1 guest, and perfect for the Lopate show. Well done, Leonard and Andy!

Apr. 02 2009 11:33 PM
Rich Barrell from Amherst, MA

to all those who can't enjoy a good laugh...
may you be banished to a place where the hand of man has never set foot....

Apr. 02 2009 08:10 PM

in the old english phrase the professor is a real "boar o' wits" andhe should have a web page where he can report his thoughts.

Apr. 02 2009 06:06 PM
Helen Moe from Brooklyn, New York

Someone should recommend Andy Borowitz for New York University's Marshall McLuhan Media Award.

Apr. 02 2009 04:29 PM
Frank from PA

This is brilliant--how did the moderator not break up? 800 lb. gorilla hanging over the conference. This is pure Borowitz and just great.

Apr. 02 2009 04:23 PM
Carol Foyler from United States

I'm Davis Logsden's teaching assistant. Right on, Davis!!

Apr. 02 2009 03:25 PM
Judith Shapiro from NYC

To all of those who are indignant and did not recognize this as satire: (1) you need to spend more time listening to NPR to enhance your sophistication and sense of humor, and (2) you need to lighten up.

Apr. 02 2009 03:18 PM
Bob from Colorado

Thanks Mr. Borowicz, excellent satire as always, but probably too true!

Apr. 02 2009 02:16 PM
Christine from Houston

As soon as I heard "Davis Logsden of the University of Minnesota" I knew it was Andy. I get his "Shockers" automatically by email, heard him in person, and have 2 of his books. (One is "The Republican Play Book" and it's a scream!)

Apr. 02 2009 01:46 PM
Martha McManamy from United States

Got it: 1/3 Ponzi treasury bills, 1/3 OTB, 1/3 state lottery. I love it!

Apr. 02 2009 01:36 PM
Jhaimoke Raj

“Economist Logsdon” starts out by telling Leonard he’s sexier in person-no way! This gave it away from the start. Can you image Paul Krugman making a statement like that? And, omg Lenny, you’re the "straight" man alright-lol!

Apr. 02 2009 01:33 PM
Curt Barnes from New York City

the mangled metaphor was intentional - this is an April Fools' joke - this is the comedian Andy Borowitz impersonating an economist.

Apr. 02 2009 01:32 PM
steven from vermont

c'mon people -it's only money!!

Apr. 02 2009 01:31 PM
Gary from Stearnsville, MI

Well done, Andy.

WNYC, feel free to contact me about replacing any member who actually quits for lack of a working sense of humor.

Apr. 02 2009 01:24 PM
eStreet4ever from Madison, WI

In case nobody commented on this before, this is an April Fools prank. It's Andy Borowitz. You can find the link on The Borowitz Report.

Apr. 02 2009 01:24 PM
Gary from Stearnsville, MI

glekapolis from brookie Re#65 -- you listed all EIGHT 21st-century stages. LOL

Apr. 02 2009 01:19 PM

Mathematical formula, "P to the ON to the ZI"??? LOL!!! LOVE Borowitz.

Apr. 02 2009 01:14 PM
Leslie Carlo from Sacramento

Why doesn't Andy have his own show on NPR? This is pure genius.

Apr. 02 2009 12:51 PM
Ron Olson from Madison wi

Gosh, Davis Logsdon must be the world's smartest man! Where did Andy meet him? In Andy's columns, David has held so many positions of importance at the University of Minnesota.

Apr. 02 2009 12:40 PM
brenden from CA

He is brilliant. I get his newsletter.

Apr. 02 2009 12:23 PM
Nancy Westrell from Portland, OR

This was wonderful! Thanks for putting it on the air. I am quite a fan of Andy Borowitz.

Apr. 02 2009 12:19 PM
Tony from San Jose, CA

Where's the mp3? Please?

The Lopate Show responds:
The audio is now available. We apologize for the delay.

Apr. 02 2009 10:02 AM
matt watts from the wilds of jersey

"he tipped off the FBI about the Treasury Department’s scam of selling worthless "Treasury bills" to unsuspecting investors."
\ This is a joke ?
did you go to the theater last night and shout fire?
I would think this kind of a joke would threaten your fcc certification leonard
extreme dose'nt mean clever
you are not orson welles and that was'nt war of the worlds
signed ,a fan

Apr. 02 2009 09:05 AM
glekapolis from brookie

LOVE the segment. I think we all went through the 7 stages of grief.

Acceptance and Hope

Can you all post it online?

Apr. 01 2009 10:45 PM
tobyhotote from Bronx

Has the show acknowledged that it is a joke yet?

Apr. 01 2009 10:32 PM
lol4ever from philadelphia, pa

i neeeeeeeeeeeed the mp3...

Apr. 01 2009 09:54 PM
fool me once from Westchester

Can we can an audio? I turned off the segment before the end.

Apr. 01 2009 08:21 PM
Mike T from Saratoga Spgs, NY

Really enjoyed the education financing segment a year ago on 4/1/08. Looking forward to hearing the MP3.

Apr. 01 2009 05:03 PM
Marc K from NJ

how come this audio is not available for streaming like the other segments of the day's show? (I really wanna hear this again)!

Apr. 01 2009 04:25 PM
Ava from NYC

Very good indeed, it got me really going, almost in horror started thinking of moving to another country asap!!
But I'd like to suggest something to the educated listeners of WNYC to see Zeitgeist the Movie at zeitgeistmovie dot com and share your thoughts because unfortunately the prank today may be way too close to reality..
And another small fact - what about the baby boomers who will be turning 60 every 16 minutes for the next 15 years or so (citing WNYC)? Who will take care of them and their retirement plans!? 401K? Markets? We? Fresh investors? I wonder..

Apr. 01 2009 04:20 PM
Bob Jakuc from New Jersey

Will audio of this segment be posted? Classic. Very funny. Either some of your posters have no sense of humor or they're attempting to tack on a bad joke to a good one.

Apr. 01 2009 03:37 PM
arkady from Brooklyn

OMG - com'n peeps... In this day and age, to find a good joke is a treasure (treasury?) indeed! Hilarious, and made me LOL on the street.

Apr. 01 2009 02:59 PM
Peter Kuklan from Brooklyn

Absolutely brilliant and hilarious, although not as funny as comment #55. Thank you Leonard and Andy Borowitz!

Apr. 01 2009 02:51 PM
Richard from Piermont, NY

You, Leonard Lopate and his producer/director ought to be ashamed of yourselves. if this is what my contributions are being used for, count me out. Mr. Lopate and all those responsible should be disciplined. I suggest two months off without pay.

Apr. 01 2009 02:48 PM
Bessie from Queens, NY


What poor judgment and lack of common sense. Where is your sensitivity for the many who are vulnerable financially?

This is hard to forgive.

Apr. 01 2009 02:10 PM
Chris Gerbi from New Hartford, CT

With all the nasty financial stuff being revealed right now, this was not funny. Humor should ease any national paranoia, not feed into it. I am sure a lot of listeners, like me, are half-listeners, in-and-out while negotiating a busy workday. No, I did not hear all or register the 'enormity' of the metaphors. This got me off-track for a bit, for sure. Not fun! This segment was more suited to the Daily Show.

Apr. 01 2009 01:50 PM
George Bendemann from Manhattan

I was the first to start to get on to this a little....(see post #2). I was, however, fooled! I think it is hilarious!! That's despite what the few cranks above have written. (Everybody knows there will always be those who condescendingly mattter what show you do!)

If we don't have laughter as part of our arsenal, then we are really losing a lot.

Keep up the great work on all aspects of the show!!!

Apr. 01 2009 01:39 PM
Patty from Nutley

Regarding the T-bill ponzi scheme. I was working on a spreadsheet and listening with half an ear... you had me going for awhile... totally taken in until the recommendation to invest in the Lottery. I was beginning to hyperventilate! Brilliant but a bit risky!

Apr. 01 2009 01:30 PM
Margery from NYC

In the 18th century ther was an allocation of monies to NYS to build a water system to bring clean water to NYC? A small in adequate system was built.

The remaining money was to be used as wished. It was used to start the Bank Of New York, in 1784 by Alexander Hamilton. If he was responsible for the Treasury Bills...? Maybe it should be called the "Hamilton Scheme"

Apr. 01 2009 01:29 PM
judy from NJ

I didn't think this was funny at all. Clearly the listeners who have commented are not as worried as I am about ending up on the street. Sure, I figured out it was a joke, but only after my chest had already started to hurt, and my heart had begun to pound.

Apr. 01 2009 01:29 PM
Andrew Cohen from New Yrok City

Just a harmless prank? Such reckless use of mixed metaphors leaves scars that no copy of Strunk & White can erase. What about the children? PTSD kills you grammatical bastards. Have you no shame?

Apr. 01 2009 01:28 PM

not to diminish mr. borowitz's considerable pranking abilities, but my favorite part of this is definitely comment 16.

Apr. 01 2009 01:27 PM
kbinps from park slope

A nerd's idea of humor. Borowitz is a prime example of humorists who aren't humorous. Like Brian Lehrer's little April Fools piece-lame. Stick to the punditry and news as humor is not your strong suit. That goes for those lame memebership commercials too. Like that very tired Dragnet piece.

Apr. 01 2009 01:27 PM
annaf from nyc

I really believed it!!

Apr. 01 2009 01:26 PM
Joel M. Benisch from Livingston NJ

Sadly, the April Fools conversation about the US Treasury perpetrated Ponzi scheme is not really very far from the truth. Madoff used money from today's investors to pay off yesterday's investors. The US Government (our society and it's values, actually) is promising to find tomorrow's investors to pay off today's investors.

Both will result in the same outcome. At some point, the music will stop (for reasons we can't even imagine today) and there simply won't be enough chairs in the room for everyone to sit on.

Apr. 01 2009 01:25 PM
George Bendemann from Manhattan

Borowitz is a gas!

Apr. 01 2009 01:25 PM
Lovern from work

I can't believe I fell for this. Great April Fool's prank!

Apr. 01 2009 01:24 PM
cnh from NYC

SHAME ON YOU! When people are losing their homes and jobs, their health care, the topic is too serious for humor.

Faith in financial markets is key to our recovery. Any part of the media that fails to understand that and to act accordingly is just as guilty as the commission addicted Wall Street Execs or the bankers and borrowers that wrote bogus mortgages or the idiots at S&P and Moody's that drank the kool-aide.

SHAME SHAME SHAME. It's not funny!

Apr. 01 2009 01:24 PM
Count Zero from New York

Very amusing April Fool's joke.

I hope your listeners recognized it as the spoof it was intended to be.

Apr. 01 2009 01:24 PM
Janny from jersey city

once i heard skimming the cream off the pot of gold, i knew it was a prank!

Apr. 01 2009 01:24 PM
George Bendemann from Manhattan

According to the description above, the treasury department attempted to sell phony certficates. Where is this written up exactly?
Please provide a url or else Happy April's Fools! No matter who Davis Logsdon is!!

Apr. 01 2009 01:23 PM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

Much better than Brian's indeed. Took me WAY longer to figure it out.

Apr. 01 2009 01:22 PM
Count Zero from New York

Very amusing April Foll's joke.

I just hope most your listener's recognized it as the spoof it was intended to be.

Apr. 01 2009 01:21 PM
Edward Lewit from Long Island, NY

This whole segment sounds like a wonderful April Fools segment.

I want a copy of the book. Does it exist?

Apr. 01 2009 01:21 PM
BraveDave from West 90s

Good April Fool's bit. Loved the last bit about the president's "package".

Apr. 01 2009 01:21 PM
david jenkins from Monmouth Cty, NJ


The calender says April 1st. Though the person of interest statement might be cause for pause.

Apr. 01 2009 01:21 PM
aaron from queens

Very funny. Well done!

Apr. 01 2009 01:20 PM
Christine Ravena from tribeca

I just had my banker sell all my treasuries!

Apr. 01 2009 01:20 PM
Erica from Manhattan

Fabulous! You both did a great job. I love Andy Borowitz.

Apr. 01 2009 01:20 PM
DEE from nj

Off track betting... I'd love to see how they can keep a straight face happy april fools

Apr. 01 2009 01:20 PM
Brad from Lincroft, NJ

I love Leonard's April Fools stuff but part of me wonders if this is borderline reckless given the state of the world. Don't get me wrong, I think this is funny. However, part of me can't help but draw comparisons to War of the Worlds.

Apr. 01 2009 01:20 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Leonard, you having trouble playing the straight man?

Apr. 01 2009 01:19 PM

April Fool's indeed! Just Google Davis Logsdon

Apr. 01 2009 01:19 PM
N/A from brooklyn



Apr. 01 2009 01:19 PM

April Fool's!!!

Apr. 01 2009 01:19 PM
BBW from Rye NY

April Fools. I am beginning to feel as though I am listening to "The War of The Worlds".

Apr. 01 2009 01:18 PM
geoffrey osullivan from brooklyn ,ny

Brother Please! Give your listeners a challenge on this day, way too easy.

Apr. 01 2009 01:18 PM
Hugh from Brookyn

Andy Borowitz -- very funny! But just a little too close to the truth, don't you think?!

Apr. 01 2009 01:18 PM
Mary from Upper West Side

this tbill thing has to be april fool's doesn't it?

Apr. 01 2009 01:18 PM
gogls from NJ

I thought most April Fools weren't supposed to be so true.


Apr. 01 2009 01:17 PM
Matt from UWS




Apr. 01 2009 01:17 PM
Peter McCauley from Philadelphia

April Fool

Apr. 01 2009 01:17 PM
Catherine from Manhattan

Please stop turning this interesting piece into an April fool's prank. It's a disservice to your own credibility and to us listener/members.

Apr. 01 2009 01:17 PM
John from Brooklyn

this April Fool's gag is a bit disturbing.

Apr. 01 2009 01:17 PM
hjs from 11211

this is MUCH better than brian's prank

Apr. 01 2009 01:16 PM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

April Fools!

Apr. 01 2009 01:16 PM
Tricia from Brooklyn

OK, at first I thought this was the world's most hilarious economist, with all of the mixed metaphors... so funny! Thanks and Happy April Fool's Day!

Apr. 01 2009 01:16 PM
Gary from UWS

This guy has mixed four metaphors already.

Apr. 01 2009 01:15 PM
Eric from NYC

Where can we find an article about this online?

Apr. 01 2009 01:15 PM
fuva from Harlem, NY


Apr. 01 2009 01:15 PM
Catherine from Manhattan

Stop turning this interesting piece into an April Fool's prank, it is a disservice to your own credibility and to the listeners, I mean members.

Apr. 01 2009 01:15 PM
N/A from brooklyn

COME ON......

Apr. 01 2009 01:15 PM


Apr. 01 2009 01:15 PM
Peter from Brooklyn

Seriously, these mixed metaphors are out of control. How, exactly, does a crack form in the ocean?

I mean, I know we're close to passover, but come on...

Apr. 01 2009 01:13 PM
Terri from Brooklyn

I'm quite enjoying his mixed metaphors. 'Cracks in the ocean'? 'Skeletons in the closet coming home to roost?'


Apr. 01 2009 01:13 PM
sanjay from manhattan

Skeletons in the closet coming home to roost?

Cracks in the Ocean?

How many metaphors can this guy break??

Apr. 01 2009 01:12 PM
George Bendemann from Manhattan

omigod....did this gentleman just use a triple mixed metaphor. And I quote, "Sometimes you must pay the pay the piper when the skeletons come home to roost." What a hoot!

He is still an interesting guest as he discovered the villain Madoff.

Apr. 01 2009 01:12 PM

difference betwn aig and madoff?

Apr. 01 2009 01:09 PM

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