Wednesday, January 07, 2009


(in our own heads for starters)

Who Made Who

It’s never gonna come up in any cell phone

Or anywhere, out loud, across the nation

You’re never gonna admit it

Guys, ego to ego in the corner sports bar

Ladies, gossip to gossip in the hair salon

But deep inside

In your heart of hearts

In your nighttime thoughts

In your time on the can

On the street waiting for the man

America, you know it’s true

You think about how Bill Gates is better than

And not just Bill and that Microsoft crew

There’s also BET’s Robert Johnson

That Chicano dude who bought the Angels

Warren Buffett

George Soros

Oprah, Jay Z, Russell Simmons too

Anyone who’s light years above just making

Limousines passing in the night

They must have done something right

And you must have done something wrong

To keep sinking out of sight

Like the song says:“I don’t put down the man who’s got a better

‘Cause I know I’m doing the best I can”

But those people on the cover of Business

Are doing better than best

Is it really ‘cause they’re innovators or
because they never rest?

Their golden road was paved way before they
were born

Free labor from the slaves

Free land from the Indians

You could be as dumb as Dubya and build an
empire from that

Mexico and Hawaii


Investments worldwide


You could be as dumb as Dubya and build an
empire from that

Bill Gates and all the billionaire boys and girls
didn’t start at the bottom and pull themselves up

They started at the top of a bloody ladder

The most they did was add a rung or two

And if that ladder gets shaky and they fall?

Congress says “Don’t worry, we’ll bail you out; you know how we do”

Seven hundred billion, and that’s just the

The top of the first inning

The corporate types are rewarded when they

You get no health care, no job, and time in jail

Seven hundred billion wasn’t the first chapter
in the bailout book

Through boom and bust

With high tech industries and those covered
with rust

We’ve paved the corporate highway with
bonds, tax breaks, free land

In fact, we’ve given them anything they

They make the dollars

But that really makes no sense

Since we paid for it all

Shouldn’t we own it?

We receive no crop although we’ve sown it


We’re dying at the gates of paradise

Just barely living in a country with more than
enough for all

A country where professional eating is a sport

And fourteen million children go hungry every

Can’t we take these funky economic relations
and twist ‘em

Get a new system

Where we can live our days

Instead of just counting our years

It’s time for you to step up and be the repo

To do that you need a repo plan

But you’ll never get that as long as….

Deep inside

In your heart of hearts

In your nighttime thoughts

In your time on the can

On the street waiting for the man

You turn history inside out, take the false and
make it true

And think that Bill Gates and Oprah are
somehow better than you

Lee Ballinger / January 2009


Private Beach said...

It's a bit unfair to Oprah to equate her with Bill Gates and company. Her ancestors were the slaves who made the wealth; his were the ones who enjoyed it. And she didn't exactly start at the top herself.

Danny Alexander said...

Yes, that's true, but I don't think the poem does that. It talks about Bill Gates' wealth in a different section. By the time it reaches Oprah, it's simply talking about wealth defining value. And that's what the poem's really about, for me. It's not that rich people are bad, but it's countering the very American idea that wealth is equivalent to someone who's done the right thing, who's worthy of distinctions the average American could never dream of. The sources of wealth are the problem.