All Commentary
Saturday, April 1, 1961

Surplus labor

Economist, Fayetteville, Arkansas

It was a chilly afternoon
At story-telling time.
Old Kaspar closed the windows tight
and poured his rum-and-lime,
While Peterkin and Wilhelmine
Warmed up the television screen.

They saw a crowd of workingmen
Who stood on shuffling feet
And watched an open factory gate
Across the city street,
Where men dressed up like Uncle Sam
Had blocked the gate from post to jamb.

“Now tell us what it’s all about!”
The little children cried.
“It is the Federal Wage Control,”
Old Kaspar then replied.
“The lowest legal rate of pay
Was raised another notch today.”

“That crowd of workers,” Kaspar said,
“Were going through the gate
To work at jobs that paid a wage
Below the legal rate.
But Uncle Sam has made it clear
There’ll be no bootleg labor here.”

“Will they get jobs at higher pay?”
Asked little Wilhelmine.
“Their chances now,” Old Kaspar sighed,
“Are few and far between.
They’ll have to join the growing mobs
In search of higher-paying jobs.”

“Can workers live,” cried Peterkin,
“With neither job nor pay?”
“The payroll taxes,” Kaspar said,
“Were also raised today.
The men whose jobs have been destroyed
Will live off workers still employed.”

  • 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.