In for a Pinny Penny


Ruth Plumly Thompson’s The Wishing Horse of Oz introduces the Kingdom of Skampavia, a desert country adjacent to Noland that’s ruled by King Skamperoo. At the beginning of the story, he imposes taxes of one-third of his subjects’ earnings, and makes them all train at a military academy. His prime minister Pinny Penny advises against this, saying that Skamperoo is “unwise and greedy.” When the king rides off on his magic horse to conquer Oz, he leaves Pinny to rule Skampavia. During his time as monarch, Pinny lowers the tax to one-twentieth of the subjects’ earnings, and he explains that they “were so grateful and delighted, they’ve been sending [the King] presents ever since.” Too bad this kind of thing doesn’t work in real life. Really, the “lower taxes and everything will be great” philosophy has never been effective, and while Thompson’s use of it in fiction doesn’t necessarily mean she really advocated it, I do have to wonder. Thompson does seem to have been generally more conservative than L. Frank Baum, and while I’ve heard they were both Republicans, that party wasn’t exactly the same when Baum died in 1919 as when Wishing Horse was published in 1934. Then again, it might also be significant that Skamperoo wasn’t investing in public works to improve his country, and Pinny does work in that direction during his brief reign. He has the guards stop drilling and instead work around the castle, trying to fix it up. Thompson was probably writing the book when FDR first began to implement his New Deal policies, and she likely had that on her mind. I’d say the lower taxes were more along the lines of Herbert Hoover’s trickle-down economics, but since even the richest Skampavians were apparently fairly poor, there wasn’t really anything to trickle down. So it’s not really comparable to the United States, even as it was during the Great Depression. Let’s hope the Skampavian economy stayed on the right track, unlike our own.

This entry was posted in Characters, Economics, Great Depression, History, L. Frank Baum, Oz, Oz Authors, Places, Politics, Ruth Plumly Thompson and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to In for a Pinny Penny

  1. I was at a Philly’s game and everyone had these ill t-shirts on. I saw one guy with an ill penny though and cannot seem to find it online at all. If you have any idea where I might be able to find one I would really appreciate it. Thanks

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