Frosty the Snowman: A Deeper Look

During the holiday season I love to cozy up on the couch and watch all my favorite Christmas classics. Whether it’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or It’s a Wonderful Life, and Die Hard too, because yes, it is a Christmas film, the nostalgic joy is immeasurable. So imagine my surprise when I realized Frosty the Snowman is a metaphor for the American welfare debate. 

Simply put, Frosty the Snowman perfectly simplifies the debate on welfare and economic resources between the Republican and Democratic parties. 

It all comes down to the magical hat that creates Frosty from a pile of snow. While the hat itself is essential to the survival of Frosty, it was not Frosty’s to begin with. The hat belongs to magician & Professor Hinkle. This creates a moral gray area surrounding the ownership of the hat. Though Hinkle owns the hat, removal of it would end Frosty’s life, creating the conundrum of whether someone’s life matters more than the sacred principle of ownership in a capitalist society.

This debate mirrors the conflicting opinions of Democrats and Republicans. The Democratic party platform seeks to raise taxes to pay for community services and programs to benefit people living in poverty (this is a broad simplification). Taking away these community outreach programs would harm lower-income communities, but would give citizens liberty over their earnings. Substitute lower income citizens with a snowman, taxes with a hat, and taxpayers with a magician and bam! Instant Christmas classic.

When I brought this comparison up to my peers, their reaction said quite a lot about the political conversation. I started out with the simple Frosty conundrum and almost every time, people agreed that Frosty needed the hat more, and since his life depended on it, he should keep it. Their response changed when I introduced the comparison to the allocation of goods and services. All of the sudden, Frosty is a crook living off welfare checks. Suddenly, “But what is Frosty doing for the economy,” became a very relevant question. Some even called him a criminal (regardless of the fact that he did not steal Hinkle’s magic hat). All of the sudden they sympathized with Hinkle and the loss of his magic hat.

Could this mean that we, as a society, are so attached to the concept of personal capital that we’d rather let someone die than sacrifice some of our own for the greater good? Or is Frosty just an unemployed bum mooching off of Hinkle’s hard work? I don’t know, but one thing is for sure, politics always ruins the holidays.