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September 21, 2017 

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CARTEL: A formal agreement between businesses in the same industry, usually on an international scale, to get market control, raise the market price, and otherwise act like a monopoly. A cartel tends to be unstable because the artificially high prices it sets gives each member of the cartel an incentive to "cheat" with a slightly lower price. When only one member of the cartel lowers the price, it can make oodles of profit by taking customers away from the other members. If they all cheat, the cartel falls apart. While cartels damage efficiency, they're power is often short-lived because of this cheating. Like collusion and other techniques of market control, cartels are illegal in the United States.

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Fact 5: Our Necessary Evil

It's time to give up our attempts to enter the Merciless Monolithic Media Masters Cable Television Company, Inc. office and take care of other pressing business -- taxes. The next stop on our excursion through the economy is the Shady Valley City Hall, where we need to momentarily, and begrudgingly, pause so that I may pay my semi-annual property tax bill. This is the least enjoyable stop -- at least for me -- on our journey. Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

Of course I hate to pay taxes! But, then again, who doesn't? Taxes are one of those annoying and evil necessities of life that simply can't be avoided.

Or can they? Do we have to pay taxes? A quick visit to a bookstore will produce dozens of books telling you how to avoid taxes by investing here or buying this or doing that. Better yet, if we could rid ourselves of the inefficient, bloated, incompetent, do-nothing government, then you and I wouldn't have to pay taxes. Right? We could use our hard-earned income to buy stuff that we want, rather than letting the inefficient, bloated, incompetent, do-nothing government spend it on stuff that we don't want, don't know anything about, and will never need. Right?
Tell me more...

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time calling an endless list of 800 numbers hoping to buy either a three-hole paper punch or decorative picture frames. Be on the lookout for fairy dust that tastes like salt.
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More money is spent on gardening than on any other hobby.
"Man is born to live, not to prepare for life. "

-- Boris Pasternak, writer

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