Tag Archives: professor X

Price above rubies?

I promise that I will get back to the PPACA. Probably tonight, because I wanted to be done by June, and at this rate, that will be June of 2015. First, though, I wanted to address briefly the issue of the worth of women.

Now, this is a relevant issue right now in a lot of arenas. Without getting too political, there are those right now saying that women’s health care shouldn’t be paid for in the same way as a man’s would be. Additionally, there are only 11 states that ban the practice of charging women higher insurance rates than men (known as gender rating – which the PPACA would ban nationally – we’ll get to that in a later section). This pricing discrimination makes sense from a purely financial standpoint – in part because women physically have babies while men don’t. Women also tend to go to the doctor more when they are younger. And because our model of health care is based on insurance, this means that women are more expensive in their younger years, when they are getting insurance through private companies and not through government funded Medicare.

So what does this have to do with me? Well, I just graduated with my Master’s in Public Health. My graduation ceremony is in June. My older son lives out of state with his dad during the school year, so I would need to fly him up special to go. And I was having difficulties booking the flight. Because I didn’t feel as though this accomplishment was worth the money for the airfare. Even though the cost was a fraction of the total cost of the degree, and even though I would like nothing more than to have both of my sons there when I walk.

How can I expect other people to value me and other women equally when I don’t myself?


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Edamame Economics

So I’m starting to reap the fruits of my garden. Ok, mostly the vegetables of my garden, as I didn’t plant any fruits other than tomatoes, which can legally be classified as a vegetable. In any event, the harvest is here. I’m planting a few late season lettuces and carrots, but most everything is finished.

One of the arguments for starting a garden is quality produce at low cost. How does this actually play out?

I planted carrots, lettuce, edamame, leeks, green beans, green onions, tomatoes, and peppers. We had a ridiculously cold summer, and everything was in a raised bed. Not counting the beds, which were a capital investment, of course, I spent about $30 on the seeds and plants for the veggies. I haven’t properly accounted for the watering, but we used a soaker hose, and didn’t run it more than we would have normally.

The harvest thus far:

We got lettuce every week for about 2 months. So, given that we would have bought 1-2 heads a week, and since this is organic produce, we’ll say that was about $22 worth of lettuce we didn’t buy. We got one meals worth of peas, plus enough for about 4 jars of baby food. The eating peas were about $1.00 worth, and the baby food was about $3.50. The same with the green beans, although we got 2 meals worth of those, and twice as much baby food, so we’ll call that $10 for the green beans. The edamame I just harvested, and it was 20 oz, which would run me about $5 from Amazon Fresh. The peppers didn’t fruit, although the plants grew, and I’m not sure what happened to the leeks or the green onions — I don’t see them at all. The tomatoes were my favorite thus far, and yielded 6 jars of tomato sauce, at around $2.50 per jar, plus 2 tomato sandwiches that are otherwise priceless, since I can’t make them with the tomatoes in the store. So call that $20 worth for the tomatoes. The carrots I just pulled, but there looks to be about 3 pounds, so that’s 2 meals and about 20 jars of baby food. Call that $25 in carrots

So to this point, the $30 investment has yielded $86.50 in produce. Not a bad return, if I do say so myself. Next season I can start more from seed, and double the number of plants that I have in the best producers, and manage to harvest things before the dry up, since I won’t be busy having a baby at the same time. 🙂  I would point out that none of that accounts for my time, which is worth a bit, but that should be balanced out by the utility I get from both the actual gardening, plus knowing exactly where the first foods I feed my new baby are coming from. So, I say it’s a winner!

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Non-market production

So as part of the staying at home part of being a stay at home economist, I decided to start a vegetable garden. Gardening has been a part of my life since I was little girl — my grandfather had a 1/2 acre garden in the back of his house, and the summers that I stayed with them were filled with nights of shelling peas. I always thought I would garden, but living in Texas made it hard, as I’m not an especially early riser, and it’s usually 90 degrees by 10 a.m. in the summer, or worse.

So when I moved to Seattle, I decided to get serious about it. With the addition of Professor X to the family, I also wanted him to taste food as I remember it, delicious, juicy, and flavorful — not mealy and vaguely bland as most mass produced vegetables. So I planted a smattering of items that were deemed suitable for the climate. Since we had a cold summer, the lettuce did the best, while the tomatoes are just starting to ripen, and the peppers are nowhere to be found. And the yields would make a Monsanto CEO laugh. But at least the little one will be able to have a taste of the bounty when he starts to eat solid food, thanks to a chest freezer and the miracle of electricity.




So far the investment far outstrips the return, but that is only if you don’t include the utility I gained from eating a tomato that tasted like a tomato instead of juice laden cardboard. With that addition, it was well worth it.

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Come on a journey with me….

My days are currently spent being quite domestic. While my Pumpkin is away at school with his dad, Professor X and I are holding down the home fort. As of today, he is about 6.5 weeks old. Current activities include sleeping, watching the ceiling, spitting up on Mom, and learning to smile to make it all better. Since sleeping is one of his pasttimes, I again have the mental energy to tackle reading some of the driest text ever put to paper.

Over the next unspecified time (not willing to commit to a month, year, etc. You’ll get it when I have it) I will delve into those texts of economics that everyone always says “Oh, I’ve been meaning to read that” while in actuality they are watching the latest episode of American Idol. However, since division of labor is one of the hallmarks of an advanced economy, and I’m trying to limit TV for Professor X, I will throw myself on them. If you have any suggestions of topics or readings you want to see, feel free to leave them in comments.

We’ll start with “Essays on the Great Depression” by Ben Bernanke. A timely and important book, I hope. I’ll summarize and then do my best to apply to the current situation, as best as I can.   Hopefully it will be enjoyable to all.

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