Having said that, here I go with a Christmas-related post before Thanksgiving. But it really doesn't have anything to do with Christmas. It has to do with a political cartoon.
The above cartoon recently appeared in the Boston Globe and here is Don Boudreaux's response:
Dan Wasserman's cartoon today depicts countless gloomy Santa Clauses queued up before a "Unemployment Benefits" office. 2008 will indeed be a sad year for shopping-mall Santas, but other Santas are quite jolly.
I speak of politicians. Like shopping-mall Santas, their job is to entertain requests from strangers for goodies. These strangers (like those on the laps of shopping-mall Santas) give no thought to who pays for the requested goodies - so their requests are childish and ample. Politician Santas are naively taken at their word that they can create wondrous things for all good boys and girls. Assisted in the magical
by self-abnegating elves, who need only avoid giving gifts to the naughty, Politician Santas promise the nice a wonderful bounty. Capital City
Alas, one important difference between a shopping-mall Santa and a Politician Santa is that the former immediately forgets each child's request the moment that child pops off of his knee. The Politician Santa, in contrast, works hard at the impossible task of making the magic come true.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Chairman, Department of Economics
George Mason University