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Year in Review 2009

Many Happier Returns

2009? No valentine—
The landscape looks like District 9,
Though corporate corpses line the lawns
Instead of otherworldly prawns.
Among the living, those once strong
Now huff and puff and wheeze along,
Unless, of course, they got a gift
When stimulus gave them a lift.
So many deemed too big to fail
And so few deemed too big to bail,
The situation gives one pause—
Who made Tim Geithner Santa Claus?
With federal spending out of sight,
Paul Krugman says it's still too slight.
The controversy's fierce, but wait,
There's still the health-care-bill debate.
The public option's blown a fuse,
The Senate bill will lose, win, lose,
They'll never make Olympia Snowe see
Eye to eye with Ms. Pelosi,
Lieberman says no, yes, no,
While Harry Reid—oh, let it go.
A back-and-forth on cap-and-trade
Means going green's again delayed,
And how can joy be unalloyed
With double-digit unemployed
And upward-sailing federal debt...
Did I say Merry Christmas yet?

Well, Merry Christmas anyhow,
And first of all, the deepest bow
To those whose companies survived,
And in some cases even thrived:
At Goldman Sachs, somehow Lloyd Blankfein
Kept the profits of his bank fine;
Richard Anderson impressed
With Delta's merger with Northwest,
While Citi's Pandit spread some cheer
By working for a buck a year,
As did the chief of Oracle—
What, Ellison? Historical!
Bob Iger helped make Disney shine
By snapping up the Marvel line
And also made his stock price spark
Announcing that new Shanghai park,
While Microsoft made big noise revvin'
Up to market Windows 7.
Signs of life were found, they say,
By analysts of M&A,
And Jeffrey Bewkes at last was able
To unwind Time Warner's cable.
Wal-Mart bravely soldiered on
In price wars vs. Amazon,
But happiest of all, perhaps,
Was anyone who markets apps,
From recipes for turkey scraps
To farts to Chinese take-out maps.
Such downloads, though they may be pap, 'll
Surely warm the hearts at Apple.

Season's greetings, too, to those
Whose bottom lines hit thudding lows,
Or who are never coming back:
An R.I.P. for Pontiac,
And even Saturn fell to earth
(I liked the Vue, for what it's worth),
Though GM, in a bid to cope, 'll
Sell, keep, sell, keep, sell, keep Opel.
Massive debt at AMR,
Six Flags and Saks are under par,
And for the umpty-umth year, Boeing
Can't get its Dreamliner going.
NBC is finding ten o'
Clock is not prime time for Leno.
(Will its programs be more trendy
Once it's cut off from Vivendi?)
Intel's having not much fun
In being sued by everyone,
While Rupert Murdoch feels the sting
Of Google (his solution: Bing).
The woe extends to Donald Trump,
Who's suffering from a gambling slump,
And layoffs even ruled the day
(And this is rare) at J&J.
Some not-too-prudent marketing
Meant sales were down at Burger King,
And though their image is aglitter,
Are they in the black at Twitter?
Little changed at CIT:
It's barely out of bankruptcy,
While profits were a constant lack
At Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Oh, one more thing that made us freak:
When Bloomberg purchased BusinessWeek.

So for next year, here's what I'm thinking:
Let the trade gap go on shrinking,
Let each market force allow
A solidly five-digit Dow.
In fact, let every market fly—
The DAX, the Nikkei, heck, Dubai.
Let the feds still run GM,
But once it's healthy, fire them.
More electric cars, and please,
More cost-efficient batteries.
Let the media brass divine
A way to make a buck online,
And let that buck not plunge so low
The U.S. ends up with no dough.
Let a sluggish SEC
Resolve its Madoff misery,
And let the BLS report
Statistics of a happier sort,
With millions of well-paid new jobs,
For everyone, not just Lou Dobbs.
Let the housing market soar
Right back to where it was before,
And let consumer spending rise,
But don't let debt metastasize.
Peace on earth, good will toward men,
And see you in 2010.

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