All Commentary
Friday, April 1, 1960

Middle-Income Housing or-Rent Collection In The Affluent Society


Economist at Fayetteville, Arkansas

It was a foggy afternoon

At story-telling time.

Old Kaspar puffed his last cigar

and wished for rum-and-lime,

While Peterkin and Wilhelmine

Looked at the television screen.

 

They saw a crowded city street,

Where men with clubs and sacks

Were rounding up the passers-by

And sorting them in packs;

While others sprang like beasts of prey

On folks who tried to run away.

 

“Now tell us what it’s all about!”

The little children cried.

“It is the Federal Housing Plan,”

Old Kaspar soon replied.

“It helps to pay the soaring rent,

And keeps the building trades content.”

 

“The cost of housing,” Kaspar said,

“Has risen far too high

For middle-income folks to pay,

No matter how they try.

So now we give them Federal Aid

To cover rents they haven’t paid.”

 

“When tax collectors find a bunch

Of middle-income folks

They search them all for hidden cash

And empty all their pokes.

That’s how we get the cash, you see,

To pay the Housing Subsidy.”

 

“But what’s the use of getting Aid

And paying for it, too?”

“There are some answers,” Kaspar sighed,

“I never really knew.

But Planners set the greatest store

By schemes that make the taxes soar.”


  • H. P. B. JENKINS, 1902-1963. Following active service in the European Theater during World War II, Dr. Harry Jenkins taught Economics in the College of Business Ad­ministration at the University of Arkansas. Many will best remember him as author of the "Old Kasper" communiques, carried continuously in THE FREEMAN since February 1959.


    Dr. Jenkins was stricken and died while walking home from graduation ceremonies on the campus, January 26, 1963.