≡ Menu

Santa: Job Killer

Dave Hebert and Austin Middleton – both of whom, I proudly report, are trained in economics at George Mason University – get all Bastiatian for the holiday season in this wonderful satire.  Here’s a slice from near the start:

Every year on December 24, we struggle to fall asleep, anxious over the arrival of the villain known as Father Christmas. Santa’s crimes are not breaking and entering or stealing foodstuffs. No, Santa is guilty of the much more serious crime of destroying American jobs. Products imported from abroad and consumed domestically make Americans worse off. Every “gift” from Santa represents a reduction in measured American welfare; this is one of the fundamental assertions of national income accounting when calculating gross domestic product. In fact, the North Pole is worse than other countries, for the North Pole does not receive any goods produced for export from the United States. Thus, the US trade deficit with the North Pole is entirely one-sided.

And Dave’s and Austin’s essay burns even more brightly as you read on.

The sad truth is that, if Santa Claus were real, the likes of Chuck Schumer, Lindsey Graham, Sherrod Brown, and a large number of other government officials, each of whom publicly displays only an elf-sized understanding of economics, would in fact accuse him of all manner of economic wrongdoings.  They would  seek to shut Santa down, or at least to force Rudolf and the other reindeer to land at the border where Grinchly customs agents would force Santa to pay hefty punitive tariffs while other agents – fancying themselves to be more knowledgeable and caring than are parents – root through Santa’s sleigh to inspect the toys and to refuse to allow Santa to deliver those toys that they, the agents (rather than the parents), determine are misfit.


Indeed, Dave’s and Austin’s theme can and should be generalized: if low-priced goods and services from abroad are harmful to the domestic economy, then many charitable acts are harmful.  Charitable acts, by their nature, are contributions to others – gifts to the the recipients of the charitable actions.  So I wonder why, for example, do so many of the same “Progressives” who call for restrictions on trade with low-wage countries applaud “volunteering.”  Don’t volunteers destroy jobs, and do so at wages ($0) below cost?  And what’s with donating cars and clothing and food and toys?  Donations are made below cost.  Surely it’s better that these items be destroyed, rather than donated, in order to increase the number of jobs for people working in the auto industry and in clothing stores, on farms and in restaurants and supermarkets, and in toy stores?


Merry Christmas, everyone!