Everyone's probably sick of hearing the 'c word' (I know I am, especially after the long presidential campaign), but many people will look back at '08 as a time when things rapidly changed before our eyes. Change can mean good and/or bad things. It was a term used by Hitler, and much later, Hugo Chavez. But I hope Obama's idea of 'change' is for the best of the country. Especially since the big story of last year was not the big election, but our spiraling-down economy. But I'll go ahead and flash back to one year ago.
One year ago today, Anheuser Busch was an independently-owned company. The big 3 auto companies, as well as a lot of (I guess) mortgage companies were not being government-run. There's a lot of other things I forgot but I'll remember later on, but these stick in my mind. It's kind of depressing because I believe these are threats to our democracy. There's no description in our Constitution that says that the government can come to the rescue, or that they will take care of us.
I'll start with Anheuser Busch (now with InBev at the end). I'll finally give my two cents about the whole buyout thing. Without question, it depressed a lot of St. Louisans that a foreign company buys one of the biggest, respectable corporations in America. Look, I understand that InBev means the bigger, the better, and they may think the world is too small. The reason I say 'respectable' is not a lot of people outside St. Louis know that they have more than given back to their community as well as donate to several charities. It is a long-time American institution, having survived Prohibition and the Great Depression. Then InBev comes along, refusing to take no for an answer. A month ago, the new company laid off thousands right before Christmas. I do believe, however, that even if they weren't bought out, they still would have laid off many due to our struggling economy.
We also saw many companies like Freddie and Fannie crumble as well as the Lehman Brothers. And of course, the auto industry as Detroit's 'Big 3' saw themeselves about to go bankrupt. If you read newspapers everyday like me, you've probably seen full-page ads from these auto companies stating what would happen if they go to the pot. They're also, of course, asking us to support Congress' decision for oversight and passing the bailout bill. Yes, I do see all the negatives that would happen if General Motors goes bankrupt. But the one thing that bothers me is this: they don't admit their mistakes. I've always believed if you're going to ask someone for forgiveness, please....admit your freakin' mistakes. Whether if its using a 1940s business model or not keeping up with the times like the Japanese brands do, I think they should definitely rethink their strategy.
The long-suffering print newspaper industry also saw their own '9/11' as the Chicago Tribune reported big losses.
We'll probably see some great corporate empires come to an end, but some for the right reasons. We shall see. Sorry I'm being too negative here, but I thought I'd share my thoughts :) And lastly, cheers to Michael Phelps for being a new role model for kids (including my great nephews). 'Bout time we had someone who seems to have a clean image.