By Morton Marcus
My friend at the North Pole, Elvin Elfenhousen, confided that all is not well in Santa’s workshop.
“Santa is more than concerned,” Elvin told me over a cup of coffee. “He’s worried about the cost of installing air conditioning if this global warming continues. He despises e-commerce with people unwilling to wait for delivery until Christmas Eve.”
“Commercialization has been a seasonal disorder for generations,” I observed, taking a bite of my Mrs. Claus Classic Croissant.
“Oh, it’s a disease more than a disorder,” Elvin sighed. “Have you seen that despicable Elf on the Shelf? Imagine how elves feel to be depicted as empty-headed, undifferentiated, simpletons, reduced to household spying. We’ve had special counseling sessions for elves suffering from identity crisis symptoms.”
“I didn’t know,” I commiserated.
“You probably don’t know lots of things,” Elvin said, his tone turning still more bitter. “Are you aware of the attempt by the State of Indiana to move Santa’s workshop from the North Pole to Spencer County, in the Evansville area?”
Shocked by this revelation, I said nothing.
“Oh, yes,” Elvin continued. “You know all about the Carrier, United Technologies, and Rexnord workers losing jobs to Mexico.
“Well, your economic development sharks want to move Santa’s workshop to a site north of Rockport, not far from that vulgar amusement park, to say nothing of Lincoln’s Boyhood Home.”
“Disgraceful,” I said.
“Oh, you have no idea,” he sobbed. “They want a big retail mall, with sales people dressed like St. Meinrad monks, and workshop tours conducted by guides dressed like the actors in that horror film, Elf.”
There was quiet for a moment as Elvin composed himself.
Then I asked, “And you? What happens to the workers here at the North Pole?”
I waited for a response and Elvin finally said, “Those sharks have neither responsibility nor concern for the workers left behind. Yes, there would be a few left here to answer the postal mail that isn’t already diverted to Santa Claus (IN).
Sure, there’s talk of the Russians opening PutinLand, a resort for people who like to swim in freezing waters. Disney has sent some developers to look a site for FrozenLand. But what kind of jobs, paying how much, would those be? Serving custard to cranky kids is not what a skilled elf seeks as work.”
“You could move,” I said. “Southern Indiana is beautiful.”
“Bugs!” Elvin replied. “We don’t have bugs at the North Pole.
“Would Indiana offer any compensation?” I asked.
“Don’t make me laugh,” he chortled. “Did you ever hear of pirates compensating those from whom they steal? It’s not the way economic development is done.”
I hesitated, but said it anyway, “Did you contact Governor Pence to get Mr. Trump to intervene.”
“Are you out of your mind?” Elvin expostulated. “The North Pole isn’t part of the United States. Trump doesn’t want to make us great again.”
Morton Marcus is an economist, formerly with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.