Footing the Bill for Madoff ... Again

Are we done paying for Bernie Madoff's crimes? Not any time soon. Bernie may get at least 20 years in prison, but it seems we're going to have to be paying for his lifestyle - although more modest behind bars - for quite some time.

According to some estimates, Bernie is going to cost taxpayers an average of $29,000 a year - and that's not including any extra perks that his lawyers may negotiate in court.

Things may have changed since the days of Michael Milken spending a few years in "Club Fed" only to be released to his $500 million dollar fortune, but the Bernie Madoff tab is still open.

At a time when 45 million Americans are living without the benefits of health insurance, and reform is the hot topic on everyone's lips, it's quite disheartening to know that the onlypeople with a constitutional right to government-funded health care are convicts. And isn't it ironic that in the midst of an economic crisis, where many Americans are struggling to get by, that we taxpayers are once again footing the bill for those same greedy crooks who got us into this mess?

So the question is: Should Bernie Madoff have to pay for his own imprisonment? And I think the answer is yes. Now I know many of you smart lawyers out there might tell me this is a ridiculous notion, but I can't help but think a• if I was planning my retirement, what would I want?

Well, I think I would want secluded place to spend my time, three hot meals a day, 24/7 health benefits a• including dental and vision a• and visitors that would come and see me once in a while, but would never stay long enough for me to have to kick them out. Sounds an awful lot like Bernie's new retirement plan, doesn't it?

So I guess I better start saving now for my retirement at the age of 70. But I wonder if all the people that he stole from, whose lives he destroyed, are going to be able to see some the benefits that American taxpayers will provide good ol' Bernie for the rest of his miserable existence.