Economist at Fayetteville, Arkansas
It was a sunny afternoon
At story-telling time.
Old Kaspar clipped a fresh cigar
and spiked his rum-and-lime,
While Peterkin and Wilhelmine
Looked at the futurama screen.
They saw a street where men and boys
Were sleeping in the shade
Or drifting slowly in the sun
Along the esplanade;
While merchants leaned against the doors,
As idle as their empty stores.
"Are all those men and boys on strike?"
The little children cried.
"It is a sort of wildcat strike,"
Old Kaspar soon replied,
"Against the yoke the Welfare State
Inflicts on people born too late."
"A Welfare State," said Kaspar then,
"Builds pyramids of debt.
It leaves a trail of unfilled claims
And bills it never met.
It keeps ahead of bankruptcy
By mortgaging Posterity."
"Those youngsters quit their work or school
When they became aware
That paying off colossal debt
Is all that’s left to share.
Their lives began so late, you see,
That they comprise Posterity."
"Who’ll pay the debt," asked Peterkin,
"If all the youngsters balk?"
"We’ll hold that question," Kaspar sighed,
"Until the Planners talk.
Perhaps the foreign friends we’ve made
Will bail us out with grants-in-aid."