After the War of the
Almonds, the Land of Kulumar was the richest and most powerful of all.
Its fields were bountiful and
its granaries were full. Its flocks were fat and sleek. The Kulumese were
proud and productive. They worked and they rejoiced in the highest standard
of living known.
Sire, the Generous, surveyed all
this plenty and said: "Surely a country as rich as Kulumar should provide
food and housing and garments for our less fortunate. I will ask the Lawmakers
to levy a tax on the workers to provide this."
And the Lawmakers, each of whom
hoped one day to become Sire, levied the taxes. They then said: "Let there
also be free circuses for those who do not work. And let there be soft
hassocks and free food and wines for those who watch the circuses."
And the Lawmakers levied more
When the workers of Kulumar heard
of the free circuses, the soft hassocks, and the food and wines, and then
figured their now monstrous taxes, they said: "This is for us."
The farmers left the fields. The
shepherds abandoned their flocks. The weavers laid down their shuttles.
The blacksmiths cooled their forges. All the Kulumese were watching the
Plenty turned to scarcity. No
longer was there abundant food. Garments were hard to come by. The Kulumese
did not even have camel chips to heat their tents.
Prices rose and rose. And the
Lawmakers raised taxes again and again. (It was the only thing they knew
how to do.)
Misery and gloom replaced joy
And Sire, the Generous, who was
well intentioned, went to the Wise Man of the Mountain and said: "Wise
One, I have tried to give the good life to my people, but they no longer
want to work. Food and goods are scarce. Prices are outrageous. Taxes are
even more so. Give me a solution."
And the Wise Man of the Mountain
replied in Kulumese: "TANSTAAFL."
Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch."