It’s been many years since I have written a letter to Santa, but with everything that’s going on in the world I decided it was worth a try. After all, if he can fly around the globe delivering presents to billions of kids in one night, maybe he can do some things, too. So here goes.
I know your main business is toys, but since a lot of other magical things happen at the North Pole I thought that you might delegate a few elves to deal with some pressing matters that the rest of us are trying to solve. If any have PhDs in economics, they would be ideal candidates.
Now I know you don’t worry about the price of oil, what with all that reindeer power, but in case you haven’t heard we’re in a real mess right now. The bottom has fallen out of the market because we suddenly have too much of the stuff. That’s made a lot of people happy, because gasoline prices have fallen to levels they haven’t seen in years. But it’s playing havoc with stock markets and government revenues. Some retired folks have seen their portfolios take a big hit as the prices of energy stocks have dropped by 60 per cent or more in some cases.
And you have to feel for Prime Minister Harper. He’s already spent most of the surplus he expected to have next year and now it looks like all that extra money is vanishing before his eyes as revenue from energy taxes dives and GDP projections shrink.
How about persuading all the major oil-producing countries — not just the OPEC oligarchs — to call an emergency meeting and hammer out some kind of supply/demand agreement. I’m not suggesting price fixing, just some semblance of stability. After all, Christmas is supposed to be a time of calm and serenity. The oil markets could certainly use some of that.
There’s another matter that your economic elves might look at: unemployment. Statistics Canada tells us that 34,000 people in Ontario lost their jobs last month and that 7 per cent of the labour force is looking for work. I’m sure you will agree those are dreadful numbers.
Imagine if someone fired you just before Christmas (I know you don’t have a boss, but try to picture what it would be like). There would be no one to deliver the presents and all those children would wake up to empty stockings on Christmas morning. Well, that’s what it’s like in thousands of homes across the province. No presents, no Christmas turkey, just another bleak winter day. It’s not right.
So see if you can pack some new jobs into your sleigh — preferably full-time, well-paying jobs in businesses that are going to be around for a while. We need to see our unemployment rate go down, not up.
I don’t want to ask for too much — I know you have no use for greedy folks. But maybe one final request. There are far too many people in the world that are suffering from disease, hunger, the ravages of war, homelessness, you name it. I know you can’t help all of them. But perhaps you can leave a message at the homes you visit, encouraging those lucky people to share their good fortune by giving to worthy charities. Remind them how happy it will make them feel to make someone’s life a little better with their gift, especially at this time of year.
That’s all I ask for, Santa. Please do your best and have a Merry Christmas.
Gordon Pape is editor and publisher of the Internet Wealth Builder newsletter. His website is www.BuildingWealth.ca