T’was the Time of the Big Crash
by Tim Stewart
T’was the time of the Big Crash, when all through The Street,
Merry traders flogged worthless paper, growing their bonus heap.
Derivatives were shunted ‘round the world without care,
Knowing St. Greenspan soon would proclaim, “No bubble there!”
Over-leveraged homeowners were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of ever-inflating values danced in their heads.
And my trophy-wife in her designer lingerie, and I in my official logo cap,
Had just flipped on the 100-inch plasma and settled into the Jacuzzi, unable to nap.
When out in the free markets there arose such a clatter,
Paulson had to pull his head out of the Wall Street Journal to see what was the matter.
Away to Goldman Sachs he flew like a flash,
Tore open the jewel-embossed shutters and quickly hid the stash.
The rose-coloured lenses, once discarded they flew,
Then stocks began tanking, as the pyramid schemes blew.
When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But a 700 billion dollar bailout, and eighty fat-cat bankers hands outstretched so dear.
With an old boy as the driver, so two-faced and slick,
I knew in a moment it must be a trick.
More rapid than eagles the free traders they came,
And Paulson whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Goldman! Now, Merrill! Now, AIG and Bear Stearns!
Sorry, Lehman. On, Citicorp! On Morgan and Stanley!
To the top of the Federal Reserve Bank! To the top of the Street’s Wall!
Take the taxpayer’s money and dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
After impelling so many to amass debts sky high,
When they meet with an obstacle, they are ‘too big’ to die.
So back to the Congress the noble free-market men they flew,
With private jets full of toys, some for each member too.
Amid all the back scratching, Congressmen heard on the helipad roof,
The soft leather pawing of each well-heeled hoof.
As one jotted on a napkin the formula for ole trickle down,
Up the nation’s chimneys all wealth was sucked, with hardly a sound.
Investment bankers strutted dressed all in fur, from their head to their foot,
No clothes not custom-made on their skin could be put.
Bundled sub-prime mortgages they flung ‘round with Triple A matter-of-fact,
And they sounded like gamblers, just playing a game of black jack.
The Decider’s eyes—how they twinkled! His smirk how scary!
His ideals were like deadweight, his mind muddled and airy!
His fake Texas drawl sputtered out rather slow,
And the colour of his face turned as white as the snow.
He was stumped by events so gritted his teeth,
While the smoke from the Big Crash encircled his head like a wreath.
He had more lines on his face, and dreaded the sound of the closing bell,
But shrugged and laughed it all off, ‘truly sorry’ for this hell.
He was chummy with plump billionaires, around them a right jolly old elf,
The people cringed when they saw him, and resented his stealth!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave us to know we had much more to dread.
He spoke not a word, about all of his dirty work,
When people threw shoes and stockings, he ducked and he jerked.
And shooting the finger at the press conference close,
Into history he tumbled, smelling more like Herbert Hoover than a rose.
He sprang from the White House, to his team gave several loud whistles,
And away to the Crawford ranch they all flew to play golf and clear thistles.
But we heard him exclaim, as he flew out of sight,
“Happy Big Crash to all, and to Obama good luck, yer sure gonna need a might!”
(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore. Tim Stewart is an associate professor at the Kyoto University Institute for the Promotion of Excellence in Higher Education.)