Dear Mr. Cratchit:
I regret to inform you that as of Dec. 25, reimbursement for medical expenses incurred on behalf of your son, Tiny Tim, no longer will be authorized by Medicaid.
The S.C. Budget and Control Board has refused to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to run a deficit, so unless the agency trims non-essential expenses, it will run out of money.
As believers in capitalism, we're confident that you understand the importance of government's living within its means. Once money runs out, the only alternative for funding services would be to increase taxes, and you know that higher taxes lead to socialism.
That means your application for a new crutch for Tiny Tim (what a quaint nickname!) is denied. We suggest you try to find a used crutch on Ebay.
Also, we don't want to discourage you, Mr. Cratchit, but it appears your request for unemployment compensation has been challenged. Your former employer, Scrooge & Marley, is opposing your claim on grounds you were discharged for cause.
To quote CEO Ebenezer Scrooge: "I fired that good-for-nothing clerk after I caught him filching an extra biscuit for his gruel."
He also said something about your insisting on working half a day last Christmas Eve and that ritual observance of the birth of Christ was "a poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every December 25."
(Perhaps if South Carolina weren't a "right-to-work" state, you could ask a clerks union to take up your case. Sorry.)
Furthermore, Mr. Scrooge denies that your position was eliminated as part of a move to outsource jobs to former British colonies. That the chap who took your place speaks with a Hindi accent is a coincidence, he assured us.
Mr. Cratchit, we empathize with you about your mother's situation. We know the dear woman has been under the care of hospice for several months. Unfortunately, that, too, will soon end. We have been notified that Medicaid funds no longer will provide end-of-life care for indigent patients in South Carolina.
Not to worry: We know that your mother will be better off spending her last days among loved ones. That giving up a bedroom for her will force your six children to move into your and Mrs. Cratchit's bedroom shouldn't be a problem. DSS has suffered so many cutbacks, it's unlikely social workers will be snooping about your neighborhood.
Also, the Department of Agriculture has announced a recall of that goose you were planning to serve for Christmas dinner. (You wouldn't want Tim to come down with salmonella, now would you?).
This is addition to previous recalls of various fruits and veggies, so you may want to take the family to McDonald's this year. (They could consider the Happy Meal toys their Christmas presents.).
Let's keep our fingers crossed. If the economy recovers, we may be able to resume inspection of food processing plants next year.
In the meantime, don't worry about reports that junk food is making children obese. All they need is a little exercise. Give them a tin cup and tell them to walk up and down the street, asking for handouts. You'd be surprised how much they could collect, especially if they sing Christmas carols. (Make sure Tiny Tim goes along; that crutch will get him a tuppence every time.)
Speaking of children, you may have noted that our lawmakers want to trim 10 days from the school calendar and to lower the number of credits required for a high school diploma. This will allow your state government to scrape by without raising taxes.
More important, by dumbing down public education, South Carolina finally will produce a work force suited to compete for low-paying jobs with the Third World countries that stole all our textile jobs.
In the meantime, we regret to say that Mr. Scrooge misspoke when he suggested workhouses were a suitable alternative for the jobless. The state closed those institutions last year.
Finally, we end on a cheerier note: When he departs to rattle chains with ex-partner Jacob Marley, Mr. Scrooge's estate won't be taxed!
Merry Christmas from the state of South Carolina.