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ARBITRAGE: Buying something in one market then immediately (or as soon as possible) selling it in another market for (hopefully) a higher price. Arbitrage is a common practice in financial markets. For example, an aspiring financial tycoon might buy a million dollars worth of Japanese yen in the Tokyo foreign exchange market then resell it immediately in the New York foreign exchange market for more than a million dollars. Arbitrage of this sort does two things. First, it often makes arbitragers wealthy. Second, it reduces or eliminates price differences that exist between two markets for the same good.

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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

U.S. National Debt
December 26, 2015
$18,801,429,443,887.45
$58,381.23 per person: U.S. Debt Clock

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BLACK DISMALAPOD
[What's This?]

Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time calling an endless list of 800 numbers trying to buy either a flower arrangement for that special day for your mother or a New York Yankees baseball cap. Be on the lookout for spoiled cheese hiding under your bed hatching conspiracies against humanity.
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The first U.S. fire insurance company was established by Benjamin Franklin in 1752 in Philadelphia.
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-- Maya Angelou, poet

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration
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