Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Good Tuesday, All.  Sunny and much warmer today.  We were in the high 30s yesterday at this time and in the high 50s today.  Sunny.  I plan to get some gardening done.  I still have five 5-gal buckets to clean out and refill along with a large pot I want to get ready for something--I don't know what yet.  I plan to make a trip to the garden stores to get some new soil and to look at some plants.  I could easily pick up some I want.  Some new and some replacements.

While we were out yesterday we were surprised because the gas prices were back up to $3.99/gal.  Over the last two weeks the prices have gone up to that near $4/gal, then down by 11 cents, then down to $3.77, then up again to where it is now.  We just wonder what the hell is going on with the market.  They last night one of the economic segments the news readers spouted on about the wonderful economic news and linked it to 'lower gas prices.'  We looked at each other and asked "Where?!!?"  We say that often when listening to the news.  The comments simply don't jibe with our experience.

The powers that be keep telling us that inflation is low but that also doesn't jibe with our experience.  Oh, yeah!  I forgot--the prices we experience each day aren't counted in the headline numbers.  Our favorite brand of canned fruits and jams just raised its price by double.  We will use what we have and then go for something cheaper.  Just to remind you that is the kind of behavior the chained-CPI is supposed to "take into consideration" to calculate the "real" inflation rate.  And the doubling of Mom's health insurance premiums aren't included either.

I have been reading a good bit about 'nudge theory' lately.  Why should I be interested in that, you ask? I will let Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism explain with specific reference to the ObamaCare implementation that is coming and the forms that we "citizens consumers" will be facing.  I remember the early days 'opt out' programs (i.e., "book clubs") when I was much younger and a good deal more foolish (read: stupid).  I got all too many books because, for any number of reasons, the opt out form did not get back to them in time.  Some times I simply forgot to fill out the form or lost it in the mess that was my desk.  Some times I never got it or it arrived late.  At others it got lost on the return trip or at the destination.  I notice that most of those clubs aren't in operation any more.  Why?  Because new laws forced them to go to an "opt in" arrangement.  It was far better for consumers but not that good for the companies' bottom lines.

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