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January 31, 2015 

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ACCOUNTING COST: The actual outlays or expenses incurred in production that shows up a firm's accounting statements or records. Accounting costs, while very important to accountants, company CEOs, shareholders, and the Internal Revenue Service, is only minimally important to economists. The reason is that economists are primarily interested in economic cost (also called opportunity cost). That fact is that accounting costs and economic costs aren't always the same. An opportunity or economic cost is the value of foregone production. Some economic costs, actually a lot of economic opportunity costs, never show up as accounting costs. Moreover, some accounting costs, while legal, bonified payments by a firm, are not associated with any sort of opportunity cost.

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PART-TIME WORKERS

People who are willing and able to work full-time (over 35 hours per week), but are forced to work less because employers do not need their productive efforts. While part-time workers officially have jobs, and are officially included in the "employed" category when the official unemployment rate is calculated, their labor resources are really only partially unemployed. A person working 20 hours a week, who is willing and able to work 40 hours a week, really should be considered as "half employed."

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Fact 4: Our Monopolized Markets

Our pedestrian's jaunt through the economy is not, unfortunately, an unrestrained shopping spree for confectioneries, spark plug tools, and Houston, Texas. We have other important errands to run. At the moment we need to hike over to Shady Valley's exclusive provider of cable television services, the Merciless Monolithic Media Masters Cable Television Company, Inc., to inquire about a mysterious fee that appeared last month's bill.

The good news is that the Merciless Monolithic Media Masters (the 4M people) Cable office is a mere 2 miles (3 kilometers for the metrically inclined) from the Shady Valley Central Town Sprawling Hills Shopping Mall. A hop, skip, and a moderately long jump later, our excursion through the economy takes us to the front door of the 4M Cable Television Company where I hope to discover why last month's cable bill included a $3,569 charge for something called "The Vacation Channel." I didn't even know I had a vacation channel. (But, I'm sure it's a great channel, and if I don't have it, then I will certainly subscribe. Please don't disconnect me.)

Of course, because this an afternoon workday, the doors of the 4M office are locked. I can almost make out, through the expensive stained glass windows, what appears to be several Merciless Monolithic Media Masters Cable Television employees, with champaign bottles in hand, dancing on expensive mahogany desks. Let's not disturb them. As they say in the cable business, an upset worker is a disconnected customer.
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APLS

State of the ECONOMY

Federal Discount Rate
January 20, 2015
0.75%
Steady

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GRAY SKITTERY
[What's This?]

Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time flipping through the yellow pages hoping to buy either a T-shirt commemorating last Friday (you know why) or a rotisserie oven that can also toast bread. Be on the lookout for broken fingernail clippers.
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In his older years, Andrew Carnegie seldom carried money because he was offended by its sight and touch.
"To understand a man, you must know his memories. The same is true of a nation."

-- Anthony Quayle, Actor

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Journal of Public Economics
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