Tuesday, October 07, 2008

With apologies to Mr. Paxton

I was walking the corridor minding my own business today when I suddenly thought of one of my favorite Tom Paxton songs (and there are many). It had been years since I had thought of "I'm Changing My Name to Chrysler", and I hadn't thought about it in term of current events since, well, since it was current about 30 years ago immediately after the Chrysler bailout. For those who weren't around at the time: Chrysler was on the verge of going under due to years of poor management and bad business decisions. The head of the company, Lee Iacocca, went to Washington and pointed out what the failure would do to the national unemployment rate. Lo and behold the feds decided to throw money at the company to keep it afloat (at least until it could be sold to the Germans some years later). Sound familiar? The largest apparent difference, however, is that the Chrysler bailout - while it sent shivers down the spine of all of us who believe corporations should be responsible for their decisions - worked. The feds eventually got all of their money back plus interest and all those jobs were saved at least temporarily.

So, to resurrect the words of Tom Paxton, as it relates to the buffons who profited off of the credit mess:

"If you are a coporate titanic and your failure is gigantic down in Congress there's a safety net for you."

Of course, Mr. Paxton was more optimistic: "I'll tell some power broker what they did for Iacocca will be perfectly acceptable to me. I'm changing my name to Chrysler, I'm heading for that great receiving line. So when they hand a million grand out I'll be standing with my hand out. Yes sir, I'll get mine."

Where is Tom when you need him?



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