Title: Shuttin' Detroit Down

​Artist: John Rich

Economic Concepts: Business cycle; Recession; Bailouts; Moral hazard; Cyclical unemployment

Details: The video is set during the depth of the Financial Crisis/Great Recession in Detroit, MI, which is known as 'Motor City' for its large automobile manufacturing industry.  An older worker at an auto factory is laid off due to low demand for durable goods such as automobiles.  The unemployment rate in the U.S. peaked at 10.1% during 2009, well above the average 5 - 6%. 

        The song begins with the vaules that many Americans were taught that "You work hard for your dollar and you never pass the blame, When it don't go your way".  This is in reference to large Wall Street banks that made ill-advised investments and now were in trouble of collapsing and were requesting government help.  "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". 

        This song illustrates the frustration and disgust that many average Americans had during the Financial Crisis, as Wall Street received bailouts while Main Street was left to fend for themselves.  "Well, pardon me if I don't shed a tear…Because in the real world they're shuttin Detroit down, While the boss man takes his bonus pay and jets on out of town, DC's bailing out them bankers as the farmers auction ground.  Yeah, while they're living up on Wall Steet in that New York City town, Here in the real world they're shuttin Detroit down".  Not only were many people opposed to the bailouts on capitalist principles alone, but it also creates moral  hazard meaning banks continue to make risky investments because they know they'll get financial help when things don't go well.  

        Ironically, when this song was written and released it appeared that only Wall Street would receive government money during the Financial Crisis.  However, a few months later Detroit received its bailout money too.  Through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the U.S. Treasury funneled $76 billion in loans and direct equity purchases in General Motors and Chrysler.  Ford Motor Company was in better financial standing at the time and took a $5.9 billion dollar loan and used its self-dependence to boost auto sales.  In fact, the running joke at the time was that GM stood for "government motors". 

        In defense of the bailouts, many prominent economists including then Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, believed that the banks and auto industry were 'too big to fail' and failing to bail them out would result in the collapse of the U.S. economy and send the country into Great Depression 2.0.  Although controversial, a vast majority of the TARP funds have been repaid to the U.S. Treasury.  For more information on the TARP program, please click here.     

Lyrics

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.
Their 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 as 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 as 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.

​Classroom Polling


EconGoneCountry

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