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Showdown at the showroom: An epic poem of rubber meeting the road

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Rick Horowitz
March 31, 2009

In fair Detroit, where motors roar


And cars roll down assembly lines,


There was a time when things were great


And no one saw the warning signs.


They ruled the roost, they held the heights,


Their names meant power, strong and free,


Who could have dreamt that harm would ever come


To those they called “Big Three”?


T’was GM, Ford and Chrysler, too,


The titans of a golden age,


When T-Birds, tailfins, muscle cars


All strutted proudly on the stage.


No need to take a diff’rent route,


No need to ever change their plan:


“We build ’em big, we sell ’em high”…


’Till in their rear-view mirror: Japan.


Toyotas, Hondas, Subarus,


A trickle first, and then a flood,


“They’ll never last!” the Threesome sneered,


And blithely built another dud.


Then bold Korea joined the game,


But Motown never broke a sweat,


They doubled down on guzzler gear:


“You suckers ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”


“Who cares about high mileage rates?”


“Your tank is low, just buy more gas!”


“Now, how about some SUVs?”


They blew it—knocked right on their sass.


Their numbers fell, their profits plunged,


Their cozy world had come undone,


And still they didn’t heed the signs,


Until denial became Job One.


And when—at last!—they looked around


And saw what it was all about,


They came to Congress, hat in hand,


And said, “We’re vital—bail us out.”


So billions flowed, and billions more,


They burned through every dime, and then


They staggered back and said, “We’re broke…


You have to bail us out again.”


But not so fast! The mood had changed,


The shift was clear in ev’ry poll:


The voters didn’t see the point


Of throwing money down a hole.


And at the White House, things were grim,


They hated being tough on friends,


But someone had to draw a line


And say, “Last chance—but then it ends.”


The task fell to the president,


(Just one more crisis on his plate!)


He stepped before the microphones


And told them that the hour was late.


“You need to have a better plan,


“You need to cut things down to size,


“You need to can your CEO,


“You need to see things with new eyes.”


“The time for twiddling thumbs is gone,


“You’re out of time, your deadline’s short,


“You’ll get your act together NOW,


“Or we’ll see you in debtors’ court!”


In fair Detroit, where motors roared,


And cars once filled assembly lines,


They may have reached the highway’s end…


They drove right past the warning signs.


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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