Dear Santa:

Not that it’s ever been a surprise that the left treats the taxpayers as Santa Claus, but comes now that scourge of everything decent – the SEIU – with an ad urging that the taxpayers be clocked with yet another hugely expensive, special interest, "prevailing wage" bill. This one takes the form of a letter to Santa (AKA the taxpayers) from a child whose mother labors in a school cafeteria "asking" for gifts at huge taxpayer expense.

Consider how an already overburdened "Santa" might respond:

"Dear Alexander:

"Thanks for writing to me seeking a few "gifts" for Christmas. I thought I might write back and explain why we can’t manage it.

"First, someone apparently forgot to tell you that a "gift" is something voluntarily given, not forcibly taken. Unfortunately, you frame your "requests" in the form of demands, and that’s not truly in the Christmas spirit. Santa gets cranky when people making lists forget that no one is ever entitled to demand a gift.

"You're right; we're all on a budget this year. And every year. Remember, Santa can only give to you what I take away from other children. Do you really want other kids to have to go without things that their parents earned for them so that government, … er, Santa, can give them to you? Getting gifts from other folks, when they believe that they can afford to give them, is fine. Taking things away from other children at the point of a gun is really not very nice.

"I see from the picture that you have a good-looking brother and a hard-working mother, but I don't see your Dad. I really hope nothing bad happened to him. Because a little boy ought to be able to rely upon his Dad for help and support. Parents are responsible for their kids. Unfortunately, today, far too many parents turn to "santa" to provide the sorts of things for their kids that they ought to be providing themselves.

"But, you know, sometimes, even responsible parents need help. That's why it's important to have families, friends, churches, communities, and charities to help. I'm sure you help other people who need it; we all do what we can, give what we can afford to give. But I'm sure that your Mom told you that it's wrong to take things that don't belong to you. It's also wrong to take things that you don't earn. If you need help, ask, and Mrs. Claus and I will do what we can to help. But we get our backs up a little bit when people start demanding things from us rather than asking.

"Because, you see, Alexander, Mrs. Claus and I have kids, too. We work really hard to give our kids the kind of things that they want and need. We have to pay their college tuition, their dental bills, for their clothes, to heat our house, etc. Just like your Mom puts your needs first, Mrs. Claus and I put our kids' needs first, too. We're already just getting by; we can't afford for government to take away from our kids any more of what we work so hard to earn for them.

"Alexander, if this were a better world, in which money grew on trees, giving your Mom the things you wished for would be easy. But it's not. If I give your Mom those things, I have to take it away from my kids and other people's kids. And I'm sure you'll agree, that's not right.

"But I have a suggestion: write a letter to Governor Corzine. He's what we call ridiculously rich, so wealthy that he can afford to waste hundreds of millions of dollars trying to elect leftists, including himself, to political office. You might suggest to him, and to his rich, left-wing friends, that instead of spending so much money on politics, they should give it to charity. If Governor Corzine, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, and every other wealthy liberal in the country put their money where their bleeding hearts are, people like you and your mother could get the things you need without government wrecking the entire economy trying to provide them at taxpayer expense. If these folks, for instance, stopped inflating the cost of health insurance, through mandates like community rating and coverage requirements, your parents would be able to afford it. You might point out, for instance, that your Mom already has two beautiful children; why should she be forced to pay for infertility coverage she doesn’t want and doesn’t need, making a policy of health insurance too expensive for her to afford?

"Indeed, the union that used your picture in the ad just spent $60 million electing President Obama to office. They took the union dues of people like your Mom, and, instead of using it to get them insurance and provide benefits, they spent it on politics. They plan to spend $85 million more these next two years. Maybe you should write the President of the Union — his name is Mr. Stern — and tell him that it would be much better if he spent that money making life better for his Members, or helping out people like your Mom, rather than wasting it on advertising and lobbying. Just think how much good $145 million could do if they spent it helping poor people instead of making political consultants rich.

"I'll be honest with you, Alexander, as I always am. Mrs. Claus and I are pretty much tapped. One more tax increase and you're going to have to address your next letter to the North Pole in Pennsylvania. As much as we appreciate the work your Mom does, we simply can’t afford to pay her more.

"I know you don’t write to Santa for an economics primer, but a society which keeps taxes low, regulations few, and government small, while protecting property rights, enabling people to earn what they can and keep what they earn, is exactly the sort of free, prosperous society in which people like you and your Mom do best. That’s why poor people around the world want to come here: not for welfare or guarantees, but for freedom – the opportunity to prosper. The folks who used your picture in their ad may have their hearts in the right place – giving them the benefit of considerable doubt – but they simply don’t understand economics and don’t like freedom. The inevitable result of the policies they espouse is that everyone ends up in shared misery.

"Your fellow Americans are the most caring, most generous people in the world. If you need help, ask, and they’ll do what they can. We expect you do to the same for your friends and neighbors, because that’s how Americans act. We don’t need to be forced to help; we help, to the extent of our ability, because it’s the right thing to do. But no one has the right to make us "help" more than we think we can afford.

"The best Christmas gift Santa can give you, your brother, your Mom, and all working folks, is a free society, which affords everyone the boundless opportunity to succeed to the extent of their talents and efforts. In such a society, many fewer people would need to ask for help, and there would be much more help available for the few who need it.

"Merry Christmas, Alexander. Let me know when you hear back from those rich liberals."

Dear Santa: