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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."