Virtual Voices

Dear Santa ...

Economy

I write this letter to offer a deal that you will find impossible to resist. It has been a tough year for my country and the world. As a good boy I did my best to help everyone. Unfortunately, because of malice or ignorance, some people resist the good changes I have planned for them. Banks won't loan. Our middle class sleeps late on Black Friday. Christmas shoppers have started doing the math before touching their credit cards. Businesses do not expand. The Taliban won't turn their swords into plowshares. Even some of my congressmen insist on reading the healthcare bill before voting on it.

But worst of all is that kid down the block---I hope he tops your Naughty List. The boy has been recycling his dad's beer cans since the Fourth of July picnic in order to buy a pair of Christmas shoes for his sick mom. Now he has decided to petrify the money in a college savings account. If only there was an economics teacher to explain to the ungrateful brat how imprudent his behavior is in times such as ours. Because of his hoarding, the local shoe store will lose business. Its owner won't have enough money to buy new snow tires from the boy's father. Since dad won't be able to afford his Bud Light, the son will lose his only source of income.

So this is what I have in mind for the next year. My friend Ben and I will keep interest rates close to zero so there is little incentive for people to save. Every penny that does not get spent immediately shall be punishable by an inflation tax. We shall push for legislation encouraging credit companies to develop new products for preschoolers. And we shall vivify the global economy with an unlimited amount of IOU dollars, hot from our printing presses. I believe that such measures will strengthen our consumer confidence, keeping you and your Chinese elves in business.

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Now you probably wonder what I want in return. Not much. I have it all---money, power, prestige, a hypoallergenic puppy for my daughters, an organic vegetable garden for the wife, two feet of snow for Christmas in the midst of global warming. Some nice Norwegian people even gave me a prize for peace and goodwill. I have just one regret--can you get me the Olympics?

Yours truly,

B.O.

Alex Tokarev
Alex Tokarev

Alex is the chair of the Department of Business at Morthland College in West Frankfort, Ill., and teaches at Northwood University in Midland, Mich. The native of communist Bulgaria fanatically supports the Bulgarian soccer team, Levski.

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