November 20, 2020 Reading Time: 3 minutes

As we near the end of the Trump presidency–or the midpoint of the Trump presidency, or the end of the first four years of the Trump dynasty, depending on how things go–it’s a good idea to pause and reflect on what we’ve learned during his administration. In 2016, he ran on the promise to Make America Great Again. It’s a promise he renewed in 2020. It’s also a promise I don’t think he was really serious about keeping, because for all his ranting and raving about walls and tariffs, he never did the one thing he could have done to really protect Americans from low-price, low-wage foreign competition. At his earliest opportunity, he should have instructed the Air Force to scramble fighters and blow Santa Claus out of the sky as soon as NORAD picked him up crossing into US airspace.

It’s a blindingly obvious solution when you think about it. The holiday season is when the lion’s share of consumer spending happens, and if low-price imports are threats to American prosperity, the case for taking out Santa is practically self-explanatory. Maybe you’re aghast at the very idea. Santa, after all, spreads joy and happiness to children around the world. He does so, however, at the expense of American workers–and, therefore, at the expense of American greatness.

It’s not like Santa is that hard to find. You can pick out the North Pole on any globe or world map, and NORAD tracks him every Christmas Eve. It certainly isn’t a matter of whether or not we have the ability to do it. It’s a question of whether or not we have the political will to do it. Making a country great requires a lot of difficult decisions. If America is going to be Great Again, then we reach an unavoidable conclusion: Santa has to die.

There might be a bit of short-term disruption as people wake up on Christmas morning to discover that the video game consoles and sporting goods they expected to find under the tree aren’t there, and I’m sure some children would be traumatized by what would almost certainly be round-the-clock coverage of the smoldering wreckage of what used to be Santa’s sleigh. There is no doubt, though, that taking Santa out of the picture would encourage the national labor at least at much as, say, blocking out the sun to support the candle industry.

Think for a second about everything that goes into Santa’s operation and how red-blooded, God-fearing American workers stand ready to take over once the jolly menace is dealt with. There’s manufacturing, obviously. The Trump administration did take a step toward making America Great Again with tariffs on washing machines and booze. Once Santa is out of the way, it’s simply a matter of raising tariffs on other potential foreign suppliers of Christmas presents. With just a bit of time for adjustment, it won’t be long before the things that used to pour out of Santa’s workshop and flood American holiday celebrations will be made where they should be made and how they should be made: in America by highly-paid American manufacturing workers.

Santa also needs some pretty sophisticated supply chain management and transportation technology to move all the stuff his exploited, low-wage elves make every year. Without Santa’s unfair competition, American trains, planes, and automobiles would move American-made goods and, of course, continue to encourage the national labor. There’s a multiplier effect, of course, as American truck drivers and pilots spend their higher earnings and create even more new jobs and other opportunities. You might balk at having to pay for the Xbox you had expected Santa to leave under the tree in exchange for nothing, but take heart: the money you now have to spend buying an Xbox and having it shipped to your house buys a truck driver a meal at Iron Skillet, which in turn raises the incomes of the cooks, your waitress, the shareholders, the farmers responsible for the food on the truck driver’s plate…everyone. Replacing the stuff Santa sends our way without expecting anything in return means more money circulating within the United States, and if we know anything about economics, it’s that faster spending growth means rising prosperity over the long run.

The holiday season seems like a good time for peace on Earth, goodwill toward men, and all that. It is, however, a Faustian bargain: by opening our borders to an annual tsunami of $0 goods and services made in a foreign land, we only impoverish ourselves. If Trump is serious about making America Great Again, he will, on his way out, do the right thing and make sure Santa Claus never threatens our airspace or our borders ever again.

Art Carden

Art Carden

Art Carden is a Senior Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also an Associate Professor of Economics at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.

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