All Commentary
Thursday, November 1, 1962

The Transfer Payments Net

Economist, Fayetteville, Arkansas

When gusty winds had herded clouds
Across the setting sun,
Old Kaspar turned the fire up
and oiled his rabbit gun,

While Peterkin and Wilhelmine
Warmed up the allegoric screen.

They watched a giant trailer truck
That stood with flashing lights
Amid a snarling traffic jam
And people locked in fights,
Until a thousand folks or more

Went in and out the trailer’s door.                           

“What’s going on inside that door?”
The little children cried.

“They run a Net Computer there,”
Old Kaspar soon replied.

“It shows how much your neighbors give
Toward the wealth on which you live.”

“For many years,” said Kaspar then,
“A lot of folks have tried

To live on economic wealth
Their neighbors would provide.
They’ve sought to win a life of ease
By voting grants and subsidies.”

“What’s made them mad,” asked Peterkin,
“And started all the fights?”

“They’re feeling underprivileged
And cheated of their rights.

When that computer shows their net,
Their taxes top the sums they get.”

“I think it’s mean,” cried Wilhelmine,
“To make those people fight!”
“A few contusions,” Kaspar smiled,
“May help them see the light.
When they cool down, they may have learned
That wealth is sweetest when it’s earned.”

  • 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.