CNBC is calling the Madoff Ponzi scheme the "scam of the century" and will air a special by that name tonight.
While Madoff certainly "made off" with some money, his little sting pales in comparison to government fraud. Social Security/Medicare in just as much a Ponzi scheme and compounds the harm of fraud with it's forcible extraction of money from all of us. SS/Medicare takes more from us EACH MONTH than Madoff stole in 15 years. (At least Bernie didn't hold a gun to anyone's head!)
In turn, Social Security/Medicare pales when compared to the Federal Reserve. By design, the Fed has robbed us of over 95% of the dollar's purchasing power since it's inception in 1913.
In the realm of private schemes Madoff certainly impresses, but he's at best a distraction from the real crimes taking place in America.