Matt Towery

Say you shoplift. You get handcuffed and tossed into a nasty jail cell. It happens every day, just about everywhere.

Say you commit a really serious crime. It's likely your bond will be set at a price too steep to afford. You'll sit in jail until your case is heard.

But you're not the man who swindled billions of dollars from unsuspecting investors. Not the man who apparently violated the order that allowed him to live under "house arrest" in his luxury Manhattan home, even after he "gifted" over $1 million in jewels to close friends.

You're not Bernie Madoff, he of the special treatment. You're not the guy who has ruined families and triggered suicides.

Unbelievable. And Madoff isn't alone. Late last year, as America's financial system was near collapse, Congress put its political neck on the line and passed the Troubled Assets Relief Program. It was a $700-billion bailout supposedly designed to free up liquidity and help rescue financial institutions that were sinking under the weight of homeownership and other loans that had gone sour.

With at least a good portion of the first half of the TARP funds having already been distributed, the requirement that the funds be used to make good on bad loans has been dropped. The banks have done little if any lending to individuals, small businesses or anyone else. Beyond that, many in the financial sector took home nice fat bonuses, as if the year had been a rousing success.

But the con games don't end with the banks.

After receiving billions of our hard-earned tax dollars in a bailout of Chrysler, we came to learn this week that the privately held company seems to believe that it has no duty to make its finances available to public scrutiny.

Unbelievable! To me, Chrysler is now a public corporation using public funds to keep going.

It gets worse. When Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli was begging for a bailout from Congress and the White House, I don't recall him ever suggesting that $4 billion would only keep the company afloat for a month or so.

But now comes an AP story this week, "Chrysler's fate running on empty: Car analysts expect it to die." The piece quoted Chrysler's chief financial officer saying the company needs " ... $7 billion every 45 days to pay parts suppliers." The article went on to note that "... analysts question whether the company's meager sales are generating enough cash to make those payments."

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery