North Pole relocation has some towns thinking incentives

Often at this season, I visit Elvin Elfenhausen, my inside guy at the North Pole. “How’s the Jolly Old Man?” I ask.

“Not very jolly,” he sighs. “Nor would you be jolly if everything around you was turning from reliable snow and ice to slush and water.”

“I forgot,” I say. “Global warming?

“Yes, but not just global warming,” Elvin says. “That supposedly slow disaster is happening with disturbing quickness. And it seems everything else is going to pot. Santa’s thinking of moving.”

“Santa moving his workshop from the North Pole?” I exclaim. Immediately, I wonder which of my friends in the economic development business I should call with this startling opportunity.

“Where’s he thinking of going?” I prod. “How many jobs? What incentives? Cash? Tax abatement? A frozen TIF district? Labor training support? Does he want a new building or would an existing structure, zoned manufacturing, suffice?

“I don’t know,” Elvin sobs. “He’s despondent about relocating after all these years. Think of uprooting all the elves. Rerouting all the mail.”

“Yes.” I try to be consoling, but I’m burning with questions. “So is he looking around?” I ask.

“Well,” Elvin says with reluctance, “Don’t tell anyone, but he’s visited Amnesia in your state.”

“Very wise,” I say. “Just off U.S. 35 where new jobs are being sought and many vacant buildings stand.”

“He likes the small-town feeling,” Elvin continues. “There probably won’t be the need for all that security in such a town. Santa visited Gary, Logansport and Kokomo impressed by the absence of armed guards in those city halls.

“Oh, there’s so much more,” Elvin confesses. “The NSA is after us.”

“You mean NASA, the space people are hassling you?” I ask.

“No, the National Security Agency,” Elvin replies. “They want to know the sources for his list of Naughty and Nice. They want assurances he is not taking pictures over restricted areas on his domestic delivery routes.”

“This is serious,” I say.

“Terribly,” Elvin says. “Local authorities demand he get landing permits for each rooftop. Some want to arrest him for unauthorized entry of private property.

“Public health advocates,” Elvin continues, “want folks to stop putting out cookies for him and substitute brie on celery sticks.”

“Atrocious,” I cry.

“Worst yet,” Elvin says, “Santa wants to bring in a group of talented Syrian elves to refresh our labor force. Yesterday he got a letter from your governor opposing the idea.”

Departing, I say, “It’s unclear why Santa imagines there’s peace in Amnesia.”

Morton Marcus is an economist, writer and speaker who may be reached at mortonjmarcus@yahoo.com.