HICKS: An open letter to an elf from an economist

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Dear Santa:

I have been a very, very good economist this year. I did lots of forecasts, graded all my homework, gave A’s and F’s on all my tests … I even got tenure (which honestly is a lot like a lifetime of Christmas mornings). Let’s forget about that forecast I made about inflation, just this one time. But St. Nick, I know you are busy, so enough about me and on to the list:

First, I would like you to do something to help Greece. I know there’s been a lot of that going on for the past 2,000 years, what with your old boss writing all those helpful letters to Philippi, Corinth and Thessalonica, but this year is really important. You see, all the European banks bought Greek bonds that are now worth about as much as a plate of leftover Thanksgiving dressing. A financial collapse looms, so they need some magical help.

Also, please don’t pack any Penn State, Cincinnati or Xavier sportswear. Ball State, Butler, IU, Purdue or even Lady Vols apparel is more in style this year, for reasons other than their skill at sports.

Please bring a warm double cappuccino with latte and a dash of common sense to the boys and girls at Occupy Wall Street. At the same time, fortify the courage of the men and women protesting in Yemen, Egypt and Syria. Help the rest of us remember the differences between these groups.

Santa, we economists are having a hard time agreeing on what policies are best to reduce unemployment, increase incomes and grow the economy. Help us figure out the right path and convince Congress and the president. While you are at it, you might drop a lump of humility in our stockings.

Please bring Illinois a governor who can stay out of prison.

Santa, this is a tough time for lots of schoolteachers in Indiana. Of course, education reform was the great gift to Hoosier children this year, but it falls to the good teachers and principals to make the changes. Fill their stockings a bit fuller this year.

The Indiana Legislature meets soon. Santa, please don’t make so many of them visit Illinois again this year, even if they have good reason. Father Christmas, Congress is busy right now, but unless you wish to pay taxes on these toys and suffer regulatory oversight on your sleigh, don’t linger long.

In years past, you brought me great students. I have had to let some of them graduate. Please bring me some more this year.

Last year, you brought me coal; this year, could you fill my pickup truck with gasoline instead?

Mr. Claus, last year, you brought a bow and arrow set to the Hicks boys. They’ve become real good with them, so you might want to park the reindeer down the street.

Enjoy your trip, tell Mrs. Claus we said hello, and remember, as you pass over Indiana this year, no texting while driving your eight tiny reindeer.



Hicks is director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at cber@bsu.edu.

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