How the Bankers Stole Christmas

I wrote this in December 2008. It feels like time to repost it.

* * *

Every You down in You-ville
Liked Christmas a lot.
And the Bankers did too — in New York and Charlotte.

The Bankers loved Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
You can ask why. Everyone knows the reason.
It was gift cards and sweaters and HD TVs
American Girl dolls and new shoes and Nintendo Wiis.

But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that everyone’s credit limit was too tall.

But, no matter the reason, the gift cards or shoes.
Weeks before Christmas, the Bankers began hating the Yous.
Staring down from their offices with nervous wan smiles
At the vacant shop windows and empty store aisles.
But every You down in You-ville couldn’t even afford lunch
From debt load and foreclosure and the big credit crunch.

It happened back in September,
If you will remember …

After years of prosperity, the economy tanked.
And now this austerity, it just really stank.
For 28 years, they’d been on a roll.
Now the Yous one by one were living on the dole.

“They’re not filling the stores!” the Bankers snarled with a sneer.
“We’ll never stay liquid. That much is clear.”
Then they growled as they watched the DOW Jones keep on dropping.
“We must find a way to keep them all shopping!”

But how?

Then the Bankers got an idea!
An awful idea
The Bankers got a wonderful awful idea!

“We know just what to do!” they laughed with great glee.
And they boarded their jets and flew to D.C.
And as they walked into Congress, they knew they’d receive
An unprecedented 700 billion dollar reprieve.

“Help us!” they said in a loud chorus of rings,
“For we are the most awesome of the financial kings!”

They reminded Congress, “to give us free rein!
To regulate us now would be completely insane.
We can bring the DOW back to its previous bubble
It’s just those stupid Yous who are in all this trouble.”

Then, they loaded their pockets with taxpayer money.
And flew off to where the climate was sunny.
They would eat escargot in the restaurants of Paris
And fly private jets to the beaches of Nevis.

But then as the Bankers sat down and gloated
Their overstuffed egos distended and bloated.
The Yous stood watch as the DOW continued down
And their homes were foreclosed in their very own town.

The Bank had taken their houses and credit.
For 28 years, the government had let it.
Secondary derivatives and subprime mortgage rates.
And credit default swaps had sealed the Yous’ fates.

All through the fall, throughout the long days
All the Yous felt robbed of their 401(k)s.
They sold all they could–a stock market unloading.
But as Christmas approached, there was a sense of foreboding.

With no credit to buy and no money to spend
The Yous would be starting a new Christmas trend.
They’d make and they’d bake and they’d learn to buy less
Until the new President could get them out of this mess.

For Christmas would come, just without cash
It would come without packaging that went in the trash.
It would come without presents, without ribbons and wrappings
Without tags and tinsel and trimmings and trappings.

Then the Yous thought of something really quite daring.
Maybe Christmas, they thought, is about more than sharing.
The holidays, perhaps, are more about caring.

As Christmas drew near, the Yous felt in good cheer
And focused their hopes on the New Year.

And hope, the Yous realized, the tall and the small,
Could be the very best Christmas present of all.

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