Some Musical Responses to the Tax Plan and the Gig Economy

New Orleans   How about a break? When we worry about whether or not there’s something new that can be said to warn people about the inequitable horrors of the President and Republican’s tax plan or the systemic dysfunction and exploitation that lies at the core of the so-called “gig” economy, then maybe Randy Newman and Bruce Springsteen can add some perspective.

Newman wrote “Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)” in 1974 in the face of Richard Nixon’s proposals, but it’s a message that President Trump needs to hear as well.

We’ve taken all you’ve given
But it’s gettin’ hard to make a livin’
Mr. President have pity on the working man

We ain’t asking for you to love us
You may place yourself high above us
Mr. President have pity on the working man

I know it may sound funny
But people ev’ry where are runnin’ out of money
We just can’t make it by ourself

It is cold and the wind is blowing
We need something to keep us going
Mr. President have pity on the working man

Maybe you’re cheatin’
Maybe you’re lyin’
Maybe you have lost your mind
Maybe you’re only thinking ’bout yourself

Too late to run. Too late to cry now
The time has come for us to say good-bye now
Mr. President have pity on the working man
Mr. President have pity on the working man

And, for all of the talk about the supposedly modern, future seeking innovations of making a living in the gig economy, listening to Bruce Springsteen’s 2012 song, “Jack of All Trades,” might be a reminder that there’s nothing new about work that is hard to find and piecing together a living the best you can from whatever as well as a protest about the rich getting the meal and the rest of us searching for the crumbs with an anger just barely under control.

I’ll mow your lawn, clean the leaves out your drain
I’ll mend your roof to keep out the rain
I’ll take the work that God provides
I’m a Jack of all trades, honey, we’ll be alright

I’ll hammer the nails, and I’ll set the stone
I’ll harvest your crops when they’re ripe and grown
I’ll pull that engine apart and patch her up ’til she’s running right
I’m a Jack of all trades, we’ll be alright

A hurricane blows, brings a hard rain
When the blue sky breaks, feels like the world’s gonna change
We’ll start caring for each other like Jesus said that we might
I’m a Jack of all trades, we’ll be alright

The banker man grows fatter, the working man grows thin
It’s all happened before and it’ll happen again
It’ll happen again, they’ll bet your life
I’m a Jack of all trades and, darling, we’ll be alright

Now sometimes tomorrow comes soaked in treasure and blood
Here we stood the drought, now we’ll stand the flood
There’s a new world coming, I can see the light
I’m a Jack of all trades, we’ll be alright

So you use what you’ve got, and you learn to make do
You take the old, you make it new
If I had me a gun, I’d find the bastards and shoot ’em on sight
I’m a Jack of all trades, we’ll be alright
I’m a Jack of all trades, we’ll be alright

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail