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Bah, humbug! Old Scrooge a job creator & Cratchit a leech?

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POSTED December 24, 2013 1:46 a.m.

First they turn Santa into an out-of-control eater that’s doubled down as a couch potato gorging himself on cookies.

Now the revisionists are portraying Ebenezer Scrooge before his transformation as a hero and the fellow who gave Bob Cratchit a pay raise and Christmas Day off as a sentimental sap.

Scrooge, if he were walking Wall Street today, would be the guy accused of insider trading. He’s also embrace value in short returns instead of long steady economic progress. What are a few 1,000 people to throw out on the street if you can make a quick 30 percent profit flipping a company so that whoever buys it has to slash another 1,000 workers just to stay afloat? And you can bet your last schilling that Scrooge would have been in on the slicing and dicing of questionable mortgages and repackaging them as toxic investments pawned off as solid loans.

In short, Scrooge would have been part of the vilified “One Percenters.”

But that’s not how the revisionists see things. Scrooge before he got a social conscience was a job creator.

Cratchit in the eyes of revisionists was struggling financially due to poor work skills and a lack of drive. His pay was in line with his work since he wasn’t Charlie Hustle.

None of this squares with the man who wrote “A Christmas Carol” and a host of other works during the Victorian Era. Charles Dickens may have been an English writer but he was first and foremost a social critic. He was a crusader for children’s rights, universal education, and social reform.

Scrooge was no Henry Ford who used innovation to create jobs that paid better to make more profit. Scrooge was a miser.

To admire the Scrooge of Christmas Past as the revisionists do doesn’t illustrate the virtues of capitalism. It gives credence to its dark side.

Dickens sprinkled “A Christmas Carol” with examples of other upper class individuals who did right by their employees and conducted charitable drives for the less fortunate. The capitalism Dickens celebrated was about lifting the lot of individuals. Scrooge represented the dark side of capitalism, a side that revisionists embrace not because they have dark hearts but because they see virtue in things that have no human connection.

They embrace Scrooge’s pronouncement that Christmas is “a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in ‘em through a round dozen months presented dead against you.”

No wonder why the Scrooges of the world can utter, “Bah Humbug” with such disdain. They value money more than life.

The revisionists aren’t just making noise. They actually believe that we’d be better off if we maximized profits (money) and minimized expenses (workers).

It’s a great disconnect because ultimately you can’t generate money if no one is buying your products.

We may grouse about the Christmas shopping frenzy but one thing is clear: Consumerism and giving both spike upward this time of year.

The purchase of goods means someone has to be paid to make them, someone has to be paid to transport them, and someone has to be paid to sell them.

If we all held onto money as tightly as Scrooge of Christmas Past did there would be no rising tide.

Capitalism shouldn’t be viewed as a mere economic system. It is the complement of governing systems where individuals have values, rights, and the ability to a large degree to determine their own destiny.

Less freedom comes when goods are distributed evenly regardless of the effort anyone puts forth.

Work is a virtue. Scrooge had that nailed. But Scrooge neglected to grasp the fact that by encouraging others and helping raise their lot in life that he too benefits.

Comfortable workplaces where you don’t skimp on the coal can lead to more productive number crunching.

The ability to support family means less stress and distractions for his employees.

Fair pay for a fair day of work is what helps fuel capitalism and creates a healthy society.

Scrooge had faults. But one of them wasn’t the fact he opened his heart and wallet.

Effective capitalism requires the proverbial rising tide.

That was Dickens’ entire premise.



This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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