J. Cole — Brackets

J Cole discusses the impact of tax brackets on his earnings. As J Cole continues to increase his earnings, he moves into new tax brackets, which requires an increasing amount of tax liability to the government. This song could be used as a good pre-class video before discussing tax policy. The Tax Policy Foundation provides the country’s tax brackets since the inception income taxes as part of the 16th Amendment.

J Cole notes in the song that the money is supposed to support schools and roads, but he doesn’t believe the money is being used efficiently by politicians. He argues that because he pays so much, he should be able to have some say in how the money is used, but that’s part of the explanation for pork spending already in that companies rent seek and convince politicians to vote in favor of their interests:

I pay taxes, so much taxes, shit don’t make sense
Where do my dollars go? You see lately, I ain’t been convinced
I guess they say my dollars supposed to build roads and schools
But my niggas barely graduate, they ain’t got the tools
Maybe ’cause the tax dollars that I make sure I send
Get spent hirin’ some teachers that don’t look like them
And the curriculum be tricking them, them dollars I spend

Thanks to Kim Holder for the song suggestion!

Lil Dicky — $ave Dat Money

Lil’ Dicky shows the process of trying to make the most epic rap video of all time, but without spending much money. The entire song looks at a variety of ways that Lil’ Dicky tries to save money and avoids spending money on unnecessary expenditures “just to flex.”

The Beatles — The Taxman

I reached out on Twitter to solicit advice for great music videos associated with different lessons, and my former teaching assistant responded with this great song from the Beatles. One of the great lines from the song goes like this:

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

This is a great opener for a lesson on taxes and tax policy.

Thanks to Marissa Reuther for the song suggestion

Beyonce — Irreplaceable

 

Beyonce does a great job discussing just how valuable she is as a partner (inelastic), but that her man isn’t all that special because “I could have another you in a minute” (elastic). These are good lines to talk about perfectly inelastic and perfectly elastic demand.

Thanks to Michael Coon for the recommendation!

Das Racist — Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell

If you haven’t driven by YUM!’s combination stores, they are a site to see. A family of picky eaters can stop by a location and grab a combination (depending on the pairings) of pizza, tacos, fried chicken, fish, or burgers. The combination of stores varies depending on the area, and some even have three-in-one:

pizza hut taco bell kfc

This song (and accompanying picture) can serves a great introduction to the concepts of product differentiation and economies of scope. The YUM! brands have a large presence in major categories in the fast food market:

4. KFC —  20,404 locations
7. Pizza Hutt — 13,728
11. Taco Bell — 6,500

Thanks to Rob Szarka for the recommendation.

Y.N. RichKids — Hot Cheetos and Takis

I reached out to #EconTwitter and asked what songs they like to use to teach different topics in their classes and the results did not disappoint:

Travis didn’t hesitate to reach out and suggest this catchy song about two popular snacks that they enjoy eating. The first question that comes to mind is if the two snacks are complements or substitutes for one another, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a combination bag from Frito-Lay soon.

Thanks to Travis Roach for the song suggestion.

Billy Paul — Let the Dollar Circulate

I reached out to #EconTwitter and asked what songs they like to use to teach different topics in their classes and the results did not disappoint:

Since I’m not a macroeconomist, I have very little content on the macro side from tv and movies, but apparently music covers a lot of macro topics. The first suggestion was this 1975 Billy Paul song, Let the Dollar Circulate which begs for money to start flowing through the economy and wonders why things have slowed down (Is it all because of Watergate?). Paul notes that “Things are gettin’ higher, makes it hard on the buyers”  (inflation is happening) and “Unemployment on the rise.” The song was released at the end of the 1973-1975 recession. I was curious what unemployment and inflation looked like in the 1970s leading up to the recession, so I went and put together a FRED chart for you:

Thanks to Leo for the song suggestion!

Kyle — Playinwitme feat. Kehlani

One of the fun topics of decision making is to ask students if they have ever been stuck in a relationship they weren’t happy with, but they continued dating that person anyway. The most common response to why this occurs is that the students have invested a lot of time in the relationship and they don’t want to see it wasted. This example is an introduction to the irrational decision making people often go through because of their resiliancy to focus on sunk costs when they should be ignored. Kyle and Kehlani’s new song goes through the same tough decision because both feel like they’re being played with. Kyle and Kehlani both ask:

Girl, why are you playin’ with me?
I don’t got the time for that
Might need me a refund, haha
I’ma need that time back

Since neither can get their time back, if they are unhappy or anticipate being unhappy in the future, they should rationally move on from each other.

I like to use Old Domion’s song, Break Up With Him for the same lesson as well.

Chris Young — Beer or Gasoline

Tradeoffs are one topic you can use this video for. With only $3 to his name, Chris needs to decide between a gallon of gas or a 6-pack of beer!

Thanks to James Tierney for the clip and description. For more country videos with economics, check out EconGoneCountry!

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