While we nodded, nearly napping, suddenly
There came a tapping, rapping on my laptop door:
Let us build a free nation, they said in 1776,
Let us mortar it with liberty; we’ll use this vast continent for bricks.
So then came our great exploration, on horses, on wagons, then on rails,
in a century of expansion, steeped in sweat, and debt, with bundles of tall tales.
‘T’was an age of corn and wheat, a time of tobacco and great toil,
boiling in a cauldron of soil and coal and oil.
On farms and orchards swelled our sweet fruits of sweat labor;
in pastures and ranches our blooms of prosperity’s favor.
Iron horse came a roaring over trestle and prairie
through a land ripe with harvest, rich with mineral and dairy.
We were milking the dream, skimming the cream,
moving on muscles and running on steam,
Across the tracks and over the roads, here rode the passengers, there the heavy loads;
extracting the mother lodes, knocking up white picket abodes.
Sodbustin’, soon with internal combustion, we rode, driving cattle and pigs with our pokes,
we volks and them blokes, all manner of folks with their yokes, ever now ‘n then tellin jokes,
we came casting off troubles, heaving the rubbles, and wielding our worn steel shovels,
we went building our houses, our stations and shacks, and nailing up mansions and hovels.
we’re blazin’ trails with ole Dan’l and Davy, eatin’ biscuits and gravy, ‘bibing a wee nip o’ liquor,
through sagebrush the saga and ragtime the raga with bustin’ raw rigor and unlimited vigor.
Let us build a rich nation! Let us form companies;
Let us develop, and envelope, opportunities.
We’ll raise capital, and stock it and sell it, until all the shares are sold.
Let us hammer out a Great Northern Railway, on tracks of steel, burning Appalachian coal;
We’ll wrangle our way to the West, dear partner; we’ll wildcat our wells while we roll.
Out of raw earth we summon a Standard Oil, a USSteel, and a B&O;
Across the wide prairies we’ll fence ranches and dairies, with windmills and farms, high and low.
Let’s sign up the hires and string up the wires, tapping Morse signals all the while as we go,
Till we’ve rolled and we’ve tolled and we’ve bought and we’ve sold all the long way to San Francisco.
Mr. Edison says let’s turn on the light; Mr. Bell says oh yes, and hello
Mr. Morgan proffers finance and wealth, while Mr. Ford cranks up our engines to go.
Summon the lawyers for incorporation, in big divisions, with a company town.
Call Wilbur; tell Orville: let’s drum up some capital, and get this great work off the ground!
Pack me a sack of groceries, will ya, from the corner at the A&P,
and buy us some trinkets and widgets and blinkets from the dime store, or the big new Kresge.
Here in our houses with spouses, in our homes with our loans, we’ll make and we’ll do and we’ll prosper;
now we’ve adorned Lady Liberty with a fashion outfit, and fed her and bled her, and yet we’ve not lost her.
And ‘though the folks in the old country drag us into their wars,
we’ll not lose sight of our stripes, nor dim our bright stars.
Let us run our great machines on American dreams!
Drive our Chevys to the levees for beer and ice creams.
Punch us an IBM card and we’ll flip out the bucks, at Kmart and Walmart and Radio Shack.
Bring in this Microsoft, this Apple, this modem and fax. Hey, buy me some Windows and Cracker Jacks.
Truck in the autos; pump in the gas; toss me a loan and float me a boat.
Fling wide the fridge! Bring me some chips; hook me up with the tube. Where’s the remote?
Sign me up for a card; don’t make it too hard.
Just give me some credit; you won’t need to vet it. Approve my home loan; I’m ready to get it.
You know it don’t matter I’m makin’ half what I used to; I’m presently performing some credit jujitsu.
But our great yankee contraption having now been built,
and the boomer consumers all leveraged to the hilt,
the guys down on WallStreet were feeling the pinch.
With fewer and fewer equity opps, they’re no longer a cinch.
Traders squinting for spreads, on margins and bets,
our great growth machine slows, then it sputters and spets.
So let us whip up some synthetic collateralized debt obligations! they said
We’ll bundle those low-grade mortgages in convoluted configurations, and we’ll follow the Fed.
Let’s slice em and dice and twice em and thrice em
to pump up a million, trade up a billion, swap up a trillion, maybe gazillion.
Slap me some MBS, shoot me some CDOs and credit default swaps;
those sub primes are hot, triple-A, so S&P say, too complicated for regulatin’ by SEC cops.
So our great American ranches morphed to securitized tranches.
Maybe we shouldn’t have let the big players get in with bank branches.
Was this dot.com trouble– that real estate bubble, our last great Kapital hoorah?
Is this all we got left–this bubblin’ Booyah?
Have we bought for too long on the troughs, have we sold out too short on the peaks?
Are we so severely crippled by our insider leaks?
Have we reached the end of this long leveraging line? With our great capitalist expansion now running out of time?
Has our American Dream Machine run out of steam? Has it sputtered in the gutter of avaricial schemes?
Say it aint so, entrepreneurial Joe!
Quoth the Trader, “Nevermo.”
Now that’s a rap, on my laptop tap.