All Commentary
Tuesday, May 1, 1962

The Price of Food

Economist, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Old Kaspar pulled the window shades
Against the sunset glare
and pondered on the many times
He’d found his cupboard bare.
While Peterkin and Wilhelmine

Looked at the propaganda screen.
They saw the speaker standing there
Behind the microphones
And heard his voice come rolling out
In hortatory tones,

All studded with affirmatives
And garnished with superlatives.
“What lovely words,” cried Wilhelmine,
“I wonder what they say!”
“He is explaining,” Kaspar sighed,

“Why food is cheap today,
While all the other things we buy
Have prices reaching for the sky.”
“The basic cause, the speaker says,
For prices growing high

Is private dollars chasing goods
That people want to buy;
While public dollars in the chase
Make prices wilt like watered lace.”
“Are public dollars chasing food?”

Asked little Peterkin.
“He says they’re chasing crops of wheat
And all its kith and kin.
That’s how we get the huge supply
That cheapens all the food we buy.”

“Then tell us where does Uncle Sam
Get dollars for the chase?”
“He catches food consumers, Pete,
At home or market place
And helps himself to dollar bills
He finds in private pokes or tills.”

  • 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.