I hope your winter holiday brings you everything you deserve.
This week's column.
Stop the war on Santa!
The so-called war against Christmas is a war against the past, but the war against Santa is a war against the present(s!).
The Santa-driven economy is strong but, in keeping with November’s national vote in favor of what Citibank has dubbed the new American Plutonomy, we need to be on guard against any backsliding. Money was crowned king in this last election and so, this year, we need to protect American profits by standing strong with Santa against the enemies of the Holiday Shopping Season – the most important economic institution of the fiscal year.
Our new corporate plutocrats, and their recently elected elves in Congress, have taken a patriotic stand against all those crazy sidebars to history: you know, stuff like social justice, remembering the poor, allowing sentimentality or even morals to intrude on the bottom line, and any regulations imposed on any company at any time.
While it’s true that the Holiday Shopping Season does include a few religious holidays and that these traditions are comforting in difficult times, remember: a wise manager knows you can’t run an economy on comfort or happiness. Plus, the Establishment Clause in the Constitution protects serious-minded business people from bleeding heart traditionalists who want to erode the season’s economic impact by placing religious or moral – or human – constraints on free trade.
Like giving workers a day off on Christmas, for instance. Why should Americans who want to improve their circumstances by working extra hours be locked out of their jobs by government red tape? Why should businesses have to sacrifice profits, the life blood of this country, for the sake of giving lazy employees a day to watch football and eat too much?
This nonsense has snuck into our national narrative. Consider the historical revisionism of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Over the past hundred years, sentimental intellectual-elitist theologians and their Hollywood-based co-conspirators – people who have never had to meet a payroll or pay taxes on capital gains – have done everything in their power to turn a beautiful novel, one in which Dickens documents the common sense application of free market economics, into some kind of morality play.
Look more carefully into the real character of Ebenezer Scrooge and you’ll be surprised to find that he’s not an amoral and miserly misanthrope; he’s a talented executive who understands how the real world works and protects his employees by protecting his profits. After a long night courageously fending off malicious ghosts who, one after another, attempt to convince him to abandon his fiscally sound economic commitments, he puts on a big spread for his family and then subsidizes Tiny Tim’s health-care package.
Let’s just cut to the chase: Would any of that Christmas morning joy have happened if Scrooge weren’t rich? The revisionists always get sanctimonious about Bob Cratchit having to work (gasp!) on Christmas but, as we all know, it’s the rich who create the jobs. Where would Bob Cratchit have been without Scrooge? Collecting lumps of coal along the railroad tracks in the dark of winter, that’s where. Without Scrooge he wouldn’t have had a job in the first place and, without that job, he never would have been able to support all those children and, most telling of all, without the good will and financial foresight of his boss – whose discipline and restraint allowed the invisible hand of the market to work the real magic in this story, the magic that guaranteed Mr. Cratchit a salary – Tiny Tim would have grown up lame and unable to work.
“A Christmas Carol” is not a story about the moral and spiritual dangers of greed – and the possibility of human redemption born out of compassion and charity. That’s just crazy talk. It’s about the miracle of trickledown economics, an economics that makes it possible to say “God bless us every one.” Saying “God bless us every one” is easy – creating jobs, that’s the heavy lifting.
This explains the recent, and valiant, efforts to curb unemployment benefits by fiscally responsible members of Congress. If you take the misery out of unemployment, people won’t be forced to take lower salaries which, after all, improve profit margins. Worst of all, if you take the misery out of life, then people would be happier and, as every Scrooge out there knows, what matters – the economy – isn’t interested in your happiness.
So while the narcotic blizzard of this Holiday Shopping Season swirls around your head, like egg nog and rum in a high speed blender, pay careful attention to where your true happiness lies – and to the lies that keep you from your true happiness.