Stephen Gottlieb: But Not For Me

Jan 2, 2018

But Not for Me ( based on Gershwin and Sinatra)
Steve Gottlieb

My dad was a Juilliard trained musician
My daughter teaches in a conservatory of music

The refrain is simple, just f-g-f-g,
But I’ll do you a favor and will not sing

Still sometimes nothing will do
but Gershwin and Sinatra

Who had a way with words
and appreciated our dreams

Gershwin and Sinatra don’t write our laws though;
Others make the statutes and the rules.

So I’ll appropriate their refrain
“but not for me”

“A lucky star’s above, but not for me.”
Congress writes lovely language, but not for me.

Some can calculate if increased tax credits
Will pay for those they took away,
but that’s not for me;
details may be clear by April

Bigger consequences are clearer for corporations,
and people with a lot of money, but not for me

I understand the benefits are supposed to trickle down
but I can’t find the spout; I guess it’s just a leak
with an occasional drop,
that’s what’s for me

The president says it a giant tax cut, but not for me.
He said they made the cuts really big, but not for me.

They say I won’t have to pay a death tax br> But I can’t feed my family on dreams of wealth

They are increasing the value of assets held by the super rich
But not by the middle-class like us

No nothing for the middle-class
not Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or health care
They’ll end those to pay for the tax cuts
Because those were for us

It’s the holiday season, with Christmas, Kwanzaa and Chanukkah,
And from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other

They truly love their neighbors – on K Street and Bimini.
Yes, they took care of those needy billionaires, but not for you and me.

Somewhere there is a corporate island, but not for me.
Somewhere islands shelter taxes, but not for me.

That’s OK –
It’s my patriotic duty to contribute the little I’ve saved for retirement
Only parasites expect to be able to retire

No parasite me, they can cover the deficit
With my Medicare and Social Security
I’ve paid into for years
so taking those away
will be my chance to contribute to the corporate moguls’ luxury yachts,
bank accounts and hedge funds, things that are not for me
but make those wealthy folk look so dapper
Surely that’s a good use of my assets

I was a fool to fall for his promise - and get this way,
“Never tell me dreams come true” – they go astray

Although I can't dismiss the memory of his words
I guess he's not - he's not for me

Steve Gottlieb is Jay and Ruth Caplan Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Albany Law School. A widely recognized constitutional scholar, he has served on the New York Civil Liberties Union board, the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and was a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Iran. His latest book is Unfit for Democracy: The Roberts Court and The Breakdown of American Politics.

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