The trickle-down economy doth well as it oughter,
Rrrich folk piddle on the poor and call it holy water!
Golden showers, fill my cup, grant this spirit succor,
Fill my pocket, warm my hearth, send chickens to the plucker!

‒Katya Rochell

Katya gave us these words to the tune of “Yankee Doodle” at the El Cerrito Free Folk Festival last year. Roll the r in “Rrrich”; substitutions are welcome in the last line as long as the end rhymes with “succor.”

We have lots of words and few notes this issue, because most of the songs use tunes everyone knows, and one song gets along with no tune at all for the most part. Waste not, want not!

Bubble Up Economy

Peter Krug gave us this talking blues with sung chorus. If economics doesn’t interest you, note the vivid rhetoric set in a difficult rhyme scheme and how easy Peter makes that look.

©Peter Krug, 2010

Stanzas: talking blues, |: C/// F/// G/// C F G :|

I’m sure you all recall some years ago
When our leadership said to make the country grow
We should embrace the practice that we’ve come to know
As the trickle down economy.
By encouraging rich folks’ fortunes to grow
So they got even richer time would show
That cash would trickle down to the average Joe
The likes of you and me.
Well, we’ve been playing this game forty years or more
And there’s one thing that I’ve noticed for sure
Most folks I know are worse off than before
And I’ve got my suspicions why.
I’m seeing people with no shoes on their feet
Hungry babies in the ghetto with nothing to eat
And a lot more folks living out on the street
Since we gave that trickle down a try.

Score image

Now the way this works is simple indeed
You just tax all the people with more than they need
The ones who make a virtue out of greed
And you tax them till they scream.
Tax that mansion! Tax that yacht!
Tax them for everything they’ve got
Oh, they’ll scream but soon they’ll see that it’s not
Near as bad as it first may seem.
’Cause you take all that dough that you got from the greedy
And you pass it all out to the poor and the needy
The ones with a lifestyle grim and seedy
The victims of poverty
And as soon as those poor folks have some dough
Straight away to the shopping mall they’ll go
To buy clothes and shoes, things they need you know
Like furniture and groceries.


And now here comes the happy part
That will warm the cockles of the rich guy’s heart
You see, him and his dough are not long apart
It’ll all come rolling back.
’Cause the rich guy owns all those malls and shops
Where to buy what he needs the poor man stops
And with more folks shopping business hops
He can buy another Cadillac.
Now some will regard this plan with a smirk
I can hear them saying: "Who is this jerk
That hare-brained scheme will never work
That boy’s stark raving mad."
Well, even if it doesn’t work, hell, I don’t care
There’ll be a lot of poor folks with new clothes to wear
And more food on their table and a slightly bigger share
And I don’t think that’s all bad.


Trickle Down

This is partly a tribute to “Peg and Awl,” an early 20th century song about the death of the manual trade of hand-stitching shoe leather, wiped out by mechanization in the late 19th century; and partly a comment on a discredited but still popular school of economics. The old tune is quirky, ending on the third, and not heard much today, so I use it in accordance with Faith’s dictum on boosting old tunes. People are welcome to add and subtract stanzas—and to seek out the “Peg and Awl” for its own sake. This song works best as an introduction to “Bubble Up Economy”—it poses a question, and Peter’s song answers it.

©John Kelly, 2010

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Back in nineteen eighty-one, trickle down, trickle down,
Back in nineteen eighty-one, trickle down,
Back in nineteen eighty-one,
Reaganomics was begun,
I’m still waiting for my share to trickle down.

A rising tide lifts all the boats, trickle down …
And Diebold counts the votes,
I’m still waiting for my share to trickle down.

Rich folks got their taxes cut, trickle down …
Poor folks got kicked in the butt,
I’m still waiting for my share to trickle down.

Regulations they got cut, trickle down …
And the Wall Street boys went nuts,
I’m still waiting for my share to trickle down.

Ain’t no use to learn a trade, trickle down …
Ain’t no money to be made,
I’m still waiting for my share to trickle down.

Well, my boss gave me a raise, trickle down …
Then he said, No work today,
I’m still waiting for my share to trickle down.

Now the rich get more and more, trickle down …
And the poor they just stay poor,
I’m still waiting for my share to trickle down.

One in a hundred, so they tell, trickle down …
Owns a quarter of all the wealth,
I’m still waiting for my share to trickle down.

And they say that one in ten, trickle down …
Owns ninety-some percent,
I’m still waiting for my share to trickle down.

Don’t you love free enterprise, trickle down …
Mom, the flag and apple pie,
I’m still waiting for my share to trickle down.

Moses Was His Name-O

Enough economics? Here’s a Passover song by Sol Weber—to the tune of “Bingo!” Sol writes: “I hope you enjoy my humble parody. I do love gospel, Sacred Harp, carols, etc, but it’s handy to have a bit of tongue in cheek balance, ’another religion heard from.’ The high point, for me, is the supremely silly spelling of ’Pharo,’ delivered with a straight face, of course. The last verse can be changed to ’We gather now…,’ for use at an actual seder. If it’s a tolerant crowd, more verses are possible: ’Next time, another holiday–PURIM is its name, oh’; ’There’s one more plague that you could add—TAXES is its name, oh’; and in light of dramatic news from Egypt, ’And now, “Good riddance” once again–Hosni is his name, oh!’ Have fun!”

There was a man who freed the Jews and Moses was his name-O
M - O - S - E - S,   M - O - S - E - S,   M - O - S - E - S, and Moses was his name-O.

They were in bondage in that land and Egypt was its name-O
E - G - Y - P - T,    E - G - Y - P - T, …

They said “good riddance” to that King and Pharo was his name-O
P - H - A - R - O,    P - H - A - R - O, …

Each day they ate unleavened bread and matzo was its name-O
M - A - T - Z - O,    M - A - T - Z - O, …

They gathered then in celebration, Seder was its name-O
S - E - D - E - R,    S - E - D - E - R, …

We gather now in celebration, Seder is its name-O
S - E - D - E - R,    S - E - D - E - R, …

The folknik song pages are lovingly produced by John Kelly and Barbara Millikan. John Kelly produced the song pages for this issue.

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