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September 29, 2020 

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TANSTAAFL: A rather cumbersome and usually hard to remember acronym for the expression "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. This is a favorite saving of many economists because it highlights, albeit in a grammatically questionable manner, the fundamental problem of scarcity. The phrase serves to emphasize that seemingly "free" lunches are not really free. While they might be free to the customer, someone must pay, that is, incur an opportunity cost of foregone production. The lunch eaten by one person cannot be eaten by another.

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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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BEIGE MUNDORTLE
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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at a going out of business sale looking to buy either a wall poster commemorating the 2000 Presidential election or a rechargeable flashlight. Be on the lookout for vindictive digital clocks with revenge on their minds.
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Rosemary, long associated with remembrance, was worn as wreaths by students in ancient Greece during exams.
"I believe that every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity, an obligation, every possession, a duty. "

-- John D. Rockefeller, industrialist

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