By on February 16, 2009

Word and music by John Rich. (Lyrics after the jump) The same singer-songwriter who delighted crowds with the deliciously, unintentionally ironic Raisin’ McCain. You know, for background.

My daddy taught me in this country everyone’s the same.
You work hard for your dollar and you never pass the blame,
When it don’t go your way.
Now I see all these big shots whining on my evening news,
About how they’re losing billions and it’s up to me and you
To come running to the rescue.

Well pardon me if I don’t shed a tear.
There selling make believe and we don’t buy that here.

Because in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down,
While the boss man takes his bonus paid jets on out of town.
DC’s bailing out them bankers at the farmers’ auction ground.
Yeah while they’re living up on Wall Street in that New York City town,
Here in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down.
Here in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down.

Well that old man’s been working in that plant most all his life,
Now his pension plan’s been cut in half and he can’t afford to die
And it’s a crying shame, cus he ain’t the one to blame.
When I looked down to see his calloused hands,
Well let me tell you, friend, it gets me fightin’ mad.

Cause in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down,
While the boss man takes his bonus paid jets on out of town.
DC’s bailing out them bankers at the farmers’ auction ground.
Yeah while they’re living up on Wall Street in that New York City town,
Here in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down.

Yeah while they’re living up on Wall Street in that New York City town,
Here in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down.
Here in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down,
In the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down.
They’re shuttin’ Detroit down.

[thanks to Brett Solomon for the link]

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37 Comments on “Class War Has Another Theme Song: They’re Shuttin’ Detroit Down...”


  • avatar
    taxman100

    Not sure about the Detroit part, but there is no doubt that Wall St. and Washington D.C. are incestuous twins.

    Andrew Jackson fought the same fight when he was President. The only difference is he was for the people – Presidents today care more about the banks.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Not a fan of country music,but I like the message.

  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    Old man can blame the 6 sleeping freeloaders around him.

  • avatar
    blue 9

    “Well that old man’s been working in that plant most all his life,”

    Yeah, most all his life. There’s nothing that sounds more false than some middle class, likely college-educated, poser using that language.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    John Rich needs to learn the difference between “their” “there” and “they’re”……….

  • avatar

    First of all, Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Monarchy, and all other forms of government/social order are simply PHILOSOPHIES.

    Even though people are always convinced that their way is 100% right, I refuse to accept any of these Philosophies as 100% right – or better than the next.

    Any of them can be done wrong and any of them can be done right.

    I’ve lived in Communist countries such as China – and paid less than $200 to get healthcare that would have cost me $2000 or more here. sure the quality of their health care wasn’t as high as it is here, but if the countries finances were better, the quality of the healthcare would be better and still cost individuals a fair/ low price.

    As for these businesses on the Capitalist model… America has become an OLIGARCHY where rule is consolidated within small enclaves who’ve INHERETED MONEY or beneffited from NEPOTISM as well as other situations giving them unfair advantages or unfair setbacks. Irish, african Americans, Italians and other immigrants have never been allowed 100% cooperation in this country due to racism and prejudice.

    Perhaps the best thing that could happen is the country’s economy collapse – the tables be reset and the playing field be leveled as the assets are liquidated.

    But the rich are never gonna let that type of shit happen.

  • avatar
    mel23

    With growing mass discontent and a populace that is largely willfully ignorant and even stupid, we have a fertile ground for demagoguery with many only too ready to sew seeds and reap whatever results. Dangerous. I’m just getting started on “The Predator State” by James Galbraith. Looks like it’s going to be good. We do need a through clean out of many institutions; if we’re luckier than we deserve to be (again), it might be without much violence.

  • avatar
    per

    “Perhaps the best thing that could happen is the country’s economy collapse – the tables be reset and the playing field be leveled as the assets are liquidated.

    But the rich are never gonna let that type of shit happen.”

    No rational person wishes that.

  • avatar
    mel23

    But the rich are never gonna let that type of shit happen.

    If enough people take to the streets, it might happen anyway. People in power, of whatever type, are willing to throw each other overboard when their own skins become at risk. Reagan is accepted as the initiator of free market bullshit, but he was just the first home run hit by its proponents. They succeeded in driving that crap into the psyches of people here as received wisdom, accepted without question and thus discrediting anyone who challenged it.

    I like your calling attention to inheritance and nepotism. And how slick of the supporters of these to coin the term ‘death tax’. Contaminating the language is very effective with the unthinking public we have now. Buffett equates those who live from inheritance/nepotism with those who live on welfare. Both take instead of contribute to building. But one group is admired and one condemned by most in our society.

  • avatar
    mikey

    The much maligned union movement pushed/pulled working class into middle class.The end result was
    a cease fire in the class war.Perhaps even a truce.The unions got bigger and more powerfull and created thier very own elite.So now the house of cards comes tumbling down.

    So we start all over again.Class warfare protectnism,creeping back in.Us vs them. Guys sitting in cubicles and driving BMWs.Former well paid paid workers stocking shelves at Wallmart.

    Well now the big factory pay checks vanish.How
    about the taxes they all paid?How about the consumer goods they used to buy?Correct me if I’m wrong doesn’t that put a little pressure on the cubicle sitting,import buying white collar worker?

    Hunger,poverty, perceived injustice,and class war fare.Precisely the environment where collective bargaining got its start.If this economic downturn get worse,watch this “war” escalate.

    Remember what we have been taught of the perils that result from,ignoring history.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    Reagan is accepted as the initiator of free market bullshit

    Actually they thought up the free markets long before Reagan ever drew a breath. The lack of knowledge of history is a great problem in contemporary America.

    If anybody thinks there is a free market, when the government taxes at a near 50% rate, tells the companies who to hire and how to operate(basically massive regulations), and artificially sets the interest rates while encouraging and forcing the banks to make bad loans, they are living in an imaginary LA LA land.

    Reagan had figured out that the government was not the solution but the problem.

    Ronald Reagan
    “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    Anyone who thinks America has ever had a free market, at least in the last 150 years, is seriously delusional.

  • avatar
    Qwerty

    Actually Reagan and his political kinfolk have fought a thirty year war against the U.S. government to destroy its ability to govern so their business backers could run amuck. The end result is that they bankrupted the country while condemming half the population to third world status.

  • avatar

    Everyone who talks lovely about ronald reagan makes me sick.

    Reagan was not a capitalist. he was a COPORATIST. He was intent on removing the government from the Capitalist system so coorporation could control everything – consolidating wealth and power. Reagan was supported by coorporations and thanks to Reaganomic, the money was divided between the rich and poor in quantities similar to the great depression.

    I think its so funny that the Tax and Spend liberals such as Bill clinton could actually BALANCE the budge and leave a surplus, YET assholes like Reagan, Bush and Bush the son could cause budget deficits.

    The problem is, American people are stupid and they have grown used to DEFFERED PAYMENT andare in love with DEBT.

    When you have two politicians and one is saying: lets pay our bills and the other is saying: lets spend more money and get you a tax cut…everyone wants to vote for the latter. Its ridiculous.

    The people are tapped out and are no longer productive. All Americans do now is consume – living off the work of Asians. This country doesn’t produce anything anymore and the Neocons were actually willing to let the Big 3 die which would have killed the last bit of production we actually have. Meanwhile they were willing to pay the bankers – people who just move money around – to keep them in business. At least the Big 3 make something tangible…something I can see and touch.

    This is why I subscribe to carlin’s views on American Capitalism and Politics.

  • avatar
    jckirlan11

    “… their shuttin’ Detroit down.”
    I get folksy but can we please keep the Queen’s english.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    Seriously delusional is right.

    Now the government is going to run the auto companies. Let’s see how that works out.

    “It will take more than one “car czar” to help get the embattled U.S. auto industry back on track, President Barack Obama has decided. Instead, his administration is establishing a presidential task force to direct the restructuring of General Motors Corp. (GM) and Chrysler LLC, a senior administration official said Sunday night.”

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090216/D96CLG6O0.html

  • avatar
    Qwerty

    Now the government is going to run the auto companies. Let’s see how that works out.

    We have already seen how well things worked out with capitalists running them.

  • avatar
    Qwerty

    Now the government is going to run the auto companies. Let’s see how that works out.

    We have already seen how well things worked out with capitalists running them. The goverenment cannot do any worse.

  • avatar

    Mikey:
    So we start all over again.Class warfare protectnism,creeping back in.Us vs them. Guys sitting in cubicles and driving BMWs.Former well paid paid workers stocking shelves at Wallmart.

    Make that “…workers stocking shelves at Wallmart with Chinese-made merchandise” and you’ve identified a big part of the problem.

  • avatar
    ctoan

    What’s his point? Detroit killed itself. That’s the free market.
    Now, I’m not necessarily a fan of the free market, and I hate to see all these jobs go, and I do hope Ford can survive this, but the slack can be picked up by the foreign brands, and after all, they’re quite happy to build here, and could probably be motivated even more with some tariffs.

    Hopefully the next union will pay a bit more attention to the fortunes of it’s employer. Or maybe there won’t be another union. Maybe there won’t be any more factories. Maybe the US is going away. What do we still have? A large middle-class population used to living beyond their means. Oh, and lots of arable land. We’ve been coasting on technological superiority for a long time, and maybe we can do that again, but it’s not going to happen like this.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @Frank Williams Agreed and whole bunch of us downtrodden, disenfranchised,rank and file brothers and sisters lined up to buy the crap.

  • avatar

    FREE MARKET?

    STOP SAYING THAT.

    #1 There are people in GOVERNMENT STEALING MONEY and making deals with other countries who will finance their campaigns no matter how it effects workers.

    #2 There are CEO’s who are willing to lay off however many people they want because they want to increase profits to make themselves look profitable just to give themselves a billion dollars – so even if the company fails later on, they have a PLATINUM PARACHUTE.

    #3 There are other countries we do business with who are EXTREMELY CORRUPT (just like most of our politicians) and are willing to ENSLAVE their populations just to make their millions (just like most of our CEO’s).

    How is China, Russia, Saudi Arabia,or African nations any different from KLEPTOCRACY?

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE FREE MARKET.

    ITS CALLED RIGGED MARKET.

    Hopefully, Americans will learn from this and move as far away from credit as possible. Credit cards are DEMONS. The User Laws keep them from charging you more than 29.9% interest – so what do they do? They charge you around 83% interest and call it a FINANCE CHARGE

    Credit is the most profitable commodity there is because THERE IS NOTHING BACKING IT. Its not like Oil or Gold which have tangible items backing it.

    They lend you credit to buy things and then when they themselves screw up, you gotta pay taxes just to fix the system with bailouts.

    ITS MADNESS.

    and no – no one put a gun to anyone’s head and made them buy a buullshit mortgage or use a credit card – but, considering the fact that there are laws set up regarding how you can actually pay for things and the government is in the pockets of the cooperations and banks, then it really does become a “conspiracy” by which unwary civilians can be trapped in debt.

    Not to mention the system is designed to endebt you.

  • avatar
    MBella

    Flashpoint, I really like your first point about philosophies. You are right that no philosophy is 100% right. Something like health care should be socialized, because it does not work in the free market. The demand for health care far exceeds a persons ability to pay for it, because people are willing to pay just about anything to live.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Schizophrenia Has Another Theme Song.

    -I’m angry that they are shutting Detroit down (as opposed to bailing it out).

    -But I supported McCain, who, while voting for the financial industry bailout, would have certainly not been bailout happy with the auto industry.

    -And I support Southern Republicans, the biggest opponents of the Detroit bailout.

    -Oh yeah, and “as the farmers auction ground”, because there are a lot of farmers in Detroit.

    I’m pretty sure this is how this went down:

    Financial Manger (FM): John Rich, we just found out that one of your properties, the mansion outside Nashville, has an ARM.
    John Rich (JR): Yes, I am aware, however interest rates have recently come down, we can just refinance.
    FM: Unfortunately there is not enough equity, you are going to have to pay down the mortgage first in order to refinance.
    JR: That is unfortunate. Most of my assets are illiquid, I do not have much cash on hand.
    FM: Maybe you can write a new song?
    JR: That might work, my McCain song sold well. Possibly something about Detroit, that is a passionate issue right now; it would have strong sales potential.
    FM: That sounds risky, Detroit isn’t really your target demographic.
    JR: That is a legitimate concern. I know, I will put in something about farmers.
    FM: Perfect, problem solved. Now onto the next issue, I know you wanted the A8, but there is a new 7-series coming out. . .

  • avatar
    geeber

    Flashpoint: I’ve lived in Communist countries such as China – and paid less than $200 to get healthcare that would have cost me $2000 or more here. sure the quality of their health care wasn’t as high as it is here, but if the countries finances were better, the quality of the healthcare would be better and still cost individuals a fair/ low price.

    First, when it comes to health care, I’m not sure that I want to take my chances with “almost as good.”

    Flashpoint: As for these businesses on the Capitalist model… America has become an OLIGARCHY where rule is consolidated within small enclaves who’ve INHERETED MONEY or beneffited from NEPOTISM as well as other situations giving them unfair advantages or unfair setbacks.

    Actually, there is less dependence on inherited wealth today than there was even 40 years ago. You are completely wrong on that one.

    And what is happening in the auto industry completely demolishes your point. We HAD an oligopoly consisting of GM, Ford, Chrysler and the UAW that basically dictated what we could buy and how much we would pay. The Japanese and the Koreans have come in and cracked that oligopoloy, and the old guard hasn’t been able to change fast enough to compete.

    Flashpoint: Irish, african Americans, Italians and other immigrants have never been allowed 100% cooperation in this country due to racism and prejudice.

    Are you saying that today, in 2009, that the Irish, Italian Americans and African Americans have neever been allowed to fully participate in American’s economic, political and social life? When the Italians and Irish first emigrated to this country, they were certainly discrimated against, but they have become fully integrated into American society over the years.

    It’s 2009, not 1909.

    And African-Americans have made tremendous progress over the last 35 years, too. It’s best not to listen to the professional race hustlers and grievance mongers, as they tend to be disconnected from what is happening in the real world.

    Flashpoint: Reagan was not a capitalist. he was a COPORATIST. He was intent on removing the government from the Capitalist system so coorporation could control everything – consolidating wealth and power.

    He believed in minimal government regulation. That is not the same as a corporatist. He actually opposed the Chrysler bailout, for example, as he believed that government should not bail out failing companies. It was a done deal when he took office, so he followed through with the agreement.

    The preferred business organization model of all modern economies is the corporation. Just because a leader presides over said economy doesn’t mean that he is a corporatist.

    Flashpoint: Reagan was supported by coorporations and thanks to Reaganomic, the money was divided between the rich and poor in quantities similar to the great depression.

    Actually, Republicans have historically garnered more support from small businesses, so whatever point you are trying to make is incorrect. The Democrats have, historically, relied more on corporate donations and donations from the rich, not to mention the unions that represent the workers that labor at many of those corporations.

    And the trend toward income concentration began before Reagan’s term.

    Flashpoint: I think its so funny that the Tax and Spend liberals such as Bill clinton could actually BALANCE the budge and leave a surplus, YET assholes like Reagan, Bush and Bush the son could cause budget deficits.

    First, he had a Republican Congress after 1994 to keep him in check, and second, the economy was already slipping into the deficit mode when he left office.

    Qwerthy: We have already seen how well things worked out with capitalists running them. The goverenment cannot do any worse.

    Wrong question. The question is whether the free market worked. The answer is “yes,” because companies and unions that built subpar products are being ignored by buyers. Thus, they either change or die. Change, incidentally, can mean reorganizing under bankruptcy protection.

    The problem is that certain groups – the executives, the union, the dealers, the bondholders – are agitating for government action to save the companies, because they want to be shielded from the consequences of their actions. If you really support the little man – i.e, the person who buys cars – as opposed to the big, impersonal organizations that want the government to shield them from change, you will support the bankruptcy option.

  • avatar

    Someone should release a compilation album of songs about Detroit. Off the top of my head there’s Detroit City, Cadillac Assembly Line, Motor City’s Burning, Panic In Detroit, Detroit Rock City, Makin’ Thunderbirds, One Piece At A Time.

    As for the John Rich song, I think it’s more populist than class warfare.

    For my tastes, Bob Seger’s Makin’ Thunderbirds captures the boom/bust cycle of Detroit particularly well.

  • avatar
    TEW

    Flashpoint- The funny part is that they will do anything so they can keep that charge card. The credit cards companies figured that out and now they are giants. It is this I want it now mentality that needs to stop now. But why should the credit card companies stop enslaving people by burying them in debt when people are happy with it as long as they have that new pair of shoes.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    no_slushbox

    EXCELLENT post!

    You so eloquently put into words the gist of what I was thinking, but could not formulate myself!

    It also points out the cultural attitude that has been prevalent for a long time. Do what ever you can to get ahead at society’s expense I got mine F.You. In fact I’ll F.You to get it. Utter hypocracy is just fine, if it makes a buck for me.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Flashpoint
    May I half in jest off a varion of your upper case point you made?

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE GOVERNMENT.

    ITS CALLED THE “RIGGED MARKET” RUNS THE GOVERNMENT

  • avatar
    Patrickj

    @geeber

    Are you saying that today, in 2009, that the Irish, Italian Americans and African Americans have never been allowed to fully participate in American’s economic, political and social life?

    In a number of ways yes, even for Irish and Italian Americans. Both are still very, very scarce at the sort of elite universities used to stock the new Administration.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    I don’t know where the lyrics came from, but I couldn’t stand it. I’ve fixed all of the “they’re/there/their” errors. You’re welcome.

  • avatar
    Rusty_Ranger

    “They’re Shuttin’ Detroit Down”. Really? Who exactly are “They”? I thought that Detroit was in trouble because of a combination of incompetent management, greedy unions, and the economic downturn. Is that who “They” are?

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    geeber-thanks for bring some sense and facts to this class anger fueled nonsense.

    BTW- I just looked in the rankings in “The Millionaire Next Door”. The Irish and Italians are solidly in the top 10 ethnic groups that as a percentage of households that are millionaires (whether considered with their percentage of the population or not). Adjusted for population percentage Russians were number one and Scottish second.
    But hey, if we shout loud enough that we are downtrodden and nobody checks the numbers it’s OK, right?

    On philosophies of government-Looking at the span of the 20th century I can see which philosophy has produced countries I would rather live in.
    Winston Churchill put it like this (from memory) ” The chief flaw of capitalism is it’s unequal distribution of blessings, the chief virtue of socialism is it’s eqaul distribution of misery”

    As a lifelong member of the American midclass, and having seen first hand the vast improvement in lifestyle we have experienced in my near 50 years, I must say that the whiney, snivelling attitude of our class in recent years is pathetic.

    I keep hearing people implying that things are better in country “X or Y”. Yet I recently looked up some research on how we rank. Fact is our middle-class is wealthier than that of Canada, Australia and all of weatern Europe except Luxemborg. And there does seem to be a strong correlation between the maximum level of wealth in a nation and the height of the mean.
    Perhaps “trickle-down economics” needs a different name-I nominate “Economics“. ;^D

    Maybe when you lower the ceiling everybody feels the crunch.

    Much of this class envy seems to stem from a “fixed-pool” mentality on wealth. “If someone has more then someone has less”. This is wrong.
    Weealth is created (well run buisnesses) and destroyed (Detroit anyone?).

    Sure some wealthy exploit and cheat, as do some of the middle-class (yes including the UAW/CAW workers) and some of the poor.
    But to generalize on the actions of some is rubbish.

    Well, I found that thereaputic.

    Regards,

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    One more thought-I think a lot of people mistake the terms “equality of life style” and “quality of life” as equivalent.

    It is far better to be “poor” in the USA than middle class in a lot of countries with more “equality of life-style”.

    Just sayin’

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Rusty Ranger-Shhhhhhhush.
    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

    Bunter

  • avatar

    Jeff:
    I snagged the lyrics from a website because I lacked the patience to transpose them directly from the tune. However, I doubt Mr. Rich is using Chigago Rules of Style while writing, and for all I know could be how he intended it!

    At first, I thought it was a typical uber-patriotic country ditty. However, as the replies above demonstrate, there are a few ‘layers’ of this song that are worth debating.

    Yee-Haw.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    Brett: No problem. I’ve seen a few of those lyrics sites and I’m fairly confident whoever transcribed this song made the errors. I didn’t change the style, just those damn words.


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