As I’m sitting here listening to Tom Paxton, I’m reminded of his fabulous 1980 song about Chrysler:

I'm Changing My Name to Chrysler 
by Tom Paxton 
Oh the price of gold is rising out of sight
And the dollar is in sorry shape tonight
What the dollar used to get us
Now won't buy a head of lettuce
No the economic forecast isn't right
But amidst the clouds I spot a shining ray

I can even glimpse a new and better way
And I’ve demised a plan of action
Worked it down to the last fraction
And I’m going into action here today

I am changing my name to Chrysler
I am going down to Washington D.C.
I will tell some power broker
What they did for Iacocca
Will be perfectly acceptable to me
I am changing my name to Chrysler
I am headed for that great receiving line
So when they hand a million grand out
I’ll be standing with my hand out
Yes sir I’ll get mine

When my creditors are screaming for their dough
I’ll be proud to tell them all where they can all go
They won’t have to scream and holler
They’ll be paid to the last dollar
Where the endless streams of money seem to flow
I’ll be glad to tell them what they can do
It’s a matter of a simple form or two
It’s not just remuneration it’s a liberal education
Ain’t you kind of glad that I’m in debt to you


Since the first amphibians crawled out of the slime
We’ve been struggling in an unrelenting climb
We were hardly up and walking before money started talking
And it’s sad that failure is an awful crime
Well it’s been that way for a millennium or two
But now it seems that there’s a different point of view
If you’re a corporate titanic and your failure is gigantic
Down to congress there’s a safety net for you


©1980 Accabonac Music (ASCAP)

In 1980, a ‘million grand’ ($1 billion) was a big deal. Now it’s peanuts. But those who got the whole world into trouble are still getting handouts from the government.

What does this have to do with options?

I recall when the US bailed out Chrysler, one of the benefits was that the taxpayers received a whole gaggle of warrants. (Warrants are essentially very long term options). Because Chrysler (here’s a bit of irony, Chrysler’s stock symbol was C, the current symbol for Citibank) recovered, and as the stock went higher, those warrants moved into the money and became very valuable. Good news for the taxpayers? Of course not. Some moron who had the power to do so, sold those warrants back to Chrysler. Another triumph for Iacocca. Another loss for the rest of us.

If Citibank goes away, I surely hope no other company takes that stock symbol. I don’t think the US taxpayers can afford the possibility of ‘C’ requiring a bailout for the 3rd time.

The Washington Post recently published an article about Tom Paxton. The article states that there’s been a recent (2008) update to the Chrysler song. The new version is: “I’m Changing My Name to Fannie Mae.” The ‘million grand’ has been updated to a ‘700 million grand.’

Here’s a video Tom singing the updated version, courtesy of You-Tube.