Episode-1062- Listener Calls for 2-1-13 — 42 Comments

  1. Jack, RE: Two things about “Maintneance Medication” and having a 90 day supply of any meds.

    1) A lot of insurance companies who cover your prescriptions are very adamant about any med categorized as a “maintenance medication” must be a 90-day prescription. They prefer you to do a 90-day supply because it’s more cost-effective.

    2) My mom went blind 5 years ago so she could no longer read the med bottles or drive to the store to get new bottles. So I took over all of her medical needs, including the refilling of each prescription every month. She had over 20 different prescriptions, and in order to keep track of it all I needed a chart, a sample of which I posted on the TSP forums at this link here:

    My overall point here is that I needed to fill up a week’s worth of pills at a shot into her “pill minder”. (Here’s what a “pill minder” looks like. )

    And yet I frequently found that I could never fill up an entire week’s worth into the pill minder (I could never “fill” the pill minder to its fullest capacity) because at least one prescription was almost empty.

    And then I discovered a WONDERFUL reality about frequency of refills.

    The caller from today’s episode of TSP was WRONG. The prescriptions do NOT get prohibited from being filled until the full 30 days have gone by. The prescriptions can in fact be refilled when only 21 days have gone by. So I immediately began to refill every last prescription after just 21 days. Within 6 months I had accumulated well over one month’s supply of every last pill. I bought multiple pill minders and filled up all of them and had them all on stand by. It was very reassuring to know we had four entire pill minders packed up and ready to go.

    • Great contributions as always you rock. If my mind stays as clear as it is now over the weekend I will read that on air on Monday.

      • Thanks Jack. That means a lot.

        Meanwhile I am listening to today’s show in small pieces (play/pause/play) and I now have a new comment concerning the caller who asked about caring for the elderly.

        After I spent over 2 years caring for my mother, my brothers and I were able to get her into an assisted living facility. Sadly, she took ill barely 2 months after moving in, was hospitalized, languished for 3 months in and out of ICU, then the doctors finally discovered the cancer, and so she died 2 weeks later.

        A year after that I entered the medical field as a certified nursing assitant. I have 2 jobs: I am a visiting home health aide during the day, visiting the private homes of myriad elderly people, caring for them 2 to 8 hours per week, spreading out my time at 2-hour intervals each day for each client, assisting them with housekeeping and bathing and other details of personal body care which these old people can no longer do for themselves. And I also have an evening job working second shift in a nursing home.

        Here’s my observations about the state of elderly care today, and my fears about what could happen to our elderly in even a mid-level SHTF situation befalling this nation.

        First of all, elderly people begin losing mental faculties in tiny layers starting in their 40’s. This is usually just minor memory loss, but it progresses over the remaining decades of their lives, and one of the things they lose is the ability to adapt to new routines. The memory of daily routines is a category of memory that younger people take for granted and don’t usually understand when they see it in older people. Losing that degree of flexibility for forming nnew daily routines makes it very hard for an elderly person to move to an entirely new living situation where (for instance) they have to get out of the left side of the bed instead of the right, or reach for the toilet paper dispenser hanging on the right instead of on the left, or search every morning for a fresh coffee filter stored up above in an overhead kitchen cabinet instead of under the counter in a sliding drawer, etc. A wholesale move to a new living environment can be traumatizing for an elderly person who has been living in the same house with the same toilet and the same coffee filter storage spot for the past 20 years. In my night job –working in one of the finest and most expensive private-pay elder care facilities in all of Massachusetts, so we have some big-money clients come through here– I repeatedly see the dismay on the faces of the 40-ish-year-old children when they cannot undertsand why their 75-year-old mother HATES this place when it’s one of the most luxurious such places in all of New England. It’s not that their elderly mom can’t see that the palce is beautiful, it’s just that Mom was more comfortable back at home where she knew where everything was and had a greater sense of control over her daily life (aside from her constantly falling and shattering her hip, thus the need to place her permanently in an elder care facility). So …. my first bit of advice to anyone who wants to care for elderly family during SHTF is to have Mom and Dad come with you to your BOL to get somewhat familiar with how the place is laid out. In the event that Mom or Dad need to live with you for several months, it will be handy for them to have seen the routine.

        My next advice is to understand WHY anyone ever puts Mom or Dad into a nursing home. There are three areas of daily elder care which a lot of truly dedicated adults attempt to provide at home for Mom and Dad, but soon reality catches up to them and they sadly realize it ain’t gonna work. Nursing home, here we come. Those three deal-breaker areas are 1) An impossible toileting and bathing situation, 2) An impossible set of stairs, 3) Dimentia so severe that Mom or Dad might either set fire to the place or take the wrong medications and unintentionally poison/overdose themselves.

        First the toileting/bathing situation. Bathrooms on the second floor are no good for someone who can no longer climb stairs. And even if the bathroom is on the first floor, is it only a half bath? And is Mom’s bedroom on the first floor too? And even if mom’s bedroom and a full bathroom are all by some miracle conveniently located on the first floor (putting her ahead of the pack), is the bathroom door wide enough for her to get through? (Maybe she’s in a wheelchair now adays and can’t get the wheelchair through the bathroom door anymore. I DARE YOU RIGHT NOW to take a measuring tape and measure the width of the bathroom door in your house. No way can a wheelchair fit through there!) And can she get in and out of the bathtub or the shower? Not being able to pee anymore, or not being able to bathe anymore are all it takes to put your Mom into a nursing home. I have seen so many noble sons and daughters who valiently tried to have Mom or Dad move in with them. But the toileting situation was impossible. Mom kept peeing her pants. And she was reduced to taking sponge baths due to the inability to get into the shower anymore. It broke their hearts, but the nursing home was the only answer. So …. my advice to anyone who worries about Mom or Dad during SHTF is to try and retrofit your BOL so that there is a bedroom on the first floor, and also the bathroom needs to be on the first floor, and that bathroom situation needs to be such that a wheelchair can get in and out of that bathroom, and a shower can be had by someone in a wheelchair.

        Second, the impossible stairs. A log cabin in the woods might be a cool situation with a ladder leading up to a loft bedroom, but Mom can’t climb that ladder. Mom needs a first floor bedroom as well as a first floor bathroom. And the front porch needs to be either low enough for a wheelchair to roll right off, or you need to get a wheelchair ramp. So …. My advice for anyone worried about Mom or Dad at the BOL is to make sure there is no obstacle to their ability to navigate in and out of the first floor, nor their ability to navigate through the first floor to bedroom and bathrooom and back again.

        Third, severe dimentia. This is the absolute hardest of all. Alzheimer’s is a disease which robs you of the final 8 to 10 years of your life. It takes and takes and takes, robbing the entire family over that slow gruelling decade of the disease’s progression. I have seen it again and again. Here’s an excellent layman-friendly video of just 3 minutes explaining a very clear overview of this dread disease.

        Any form of dimentia (not just Alzheimer’s, but perhaps schizophrenia or any of the many forms of PTSD) means that dimentia-afflicted person in your BOL is essentially untrustworthy with the most basic of chores and often cannot be left alone. The person poses a severe burden too your BOL’s daily ability to function, is a drain of not just resources like food, but also a drain of space (they need a place to sleep also) and even a drain of manpower (they may require a 24-hour baby sitter), and worst of all may pose a threat to OpSec. But … she’s your mother!! Are you going to put your own mother outside to die?

        It has been said that the true measure of just how “civilized” any civilization is can be demonstrated by how mercifully they care for the weakest and most defenseless members of their society. An elderly mom with Alzheimer’s at your BOL would be the ultimate way to put your own self-perceptions of “civilized” to the test. So …. My advice to anyone who needs to bring a mid-stage Alzheimer’s (or worse, end-stage Alzheimer’s) family member to their BOL (or a PTSD family member or a schizophrenic family member) is that they should additionally bring along a full time nursinng assistant whose ONLY job is to care for Mom while you and the others in your group do all the other chores. It’d be cool if you have a cousin who is a nursing assistant to do this job. And be prepared for that nursing assitant to get totally burnt out after just 2 months of this round the clock care of this beloved family member with dimentia.

        Meanwhile, I also want to suggest that anyone who wants to pick up a new skill … go to your local Red Cross and sign up for the CNA course. It’s a 3-month course, and it will change your understanding of eldercare forever.

        • Sorry, let me clarify about my suggestion for trying to lessen the trauma of beinging Mom or Dad to the BOL. My suggestion is to bring them to the BOL for test runs from time to time. Test visits. They should be exposed to the BOL during fun times, and get a general sense of the place already in their consciousness. So if any SHTF goes down and they must suddenly be whisked off to that BOL in a crisis, the place won’t be totally foriegn to them.

    • We discovered the same thing in regards to my wife’s prescription enzyme she takes. I was worried about building up a reserve, now we order early and have a two month supply and will keep adding.

    • Oil Lady is dead on with respect to ordering at pharmacies. Using mail order for maintenance drugs (90 day supplies) can enhance what you can store as they usually let you reorder 4 weeks before you run out. I’ve been able to SLOWLY stockpile 12 months of my daughter’s medications using this exact method. Another thing I can add is related to keeping the stockpiled drugs as fresh as possible. As I’m ordering a 90 day supply, I have now gotten to the point that when a new SEALED bottle arrives in the mail, I can rotate the previously stockpiled medication with the newest bottle. This gives me the longest life expectancy on the stockpiled meds., and the ones rotated out of the stockpile are not so old as to lose any of their potency.

      Lastly, my company has switched health insurance carriers twice in two years. Given this situation I’ve been able to order meds late in the year before the old plan expires, then explain to my doctor that we have a new carrier and have new prescriptions sent to the pharmacy in January. If timed well, it can immediately provide an almost 90 day bump in what’s stored. The beauty is that it’s all covered under either the old plan or the new one and I don’t have to go out of pocket at full retail cost.

      Hope this helps…

    • Reply buttons seem to disappear or I’d post this further down.

      My mother took care of her mother-in-law with a house full of kids. I asked her how she handled it all, she said she could do it because I was there (middle child) cooking meals, shopping and helping with the younger ones. My grandmother needed help with the bathroom, baths, often needing her bed changed. She definitely had dementia. She was sure her husband was coming back with an ax to kill her, lots of crazy stories, no burning the house down. As she got worse, they realized she could not be left alone. My mom missed many a game, play or whatever activity we were in because someone had to stay with her. Eventually she ended up in a nursing home 2 blocks away.
      At the time we had never heard of elderly sitters or health care assistants to visit the home. How my mom would have loved that. She made each of us promise, that if she got in such bad shape, to put her in a nursing home. Hard to picture us doing such.
      Two of my neighbors got Alzheimer’s. One loved to garden. Disliked most of the neighborhood kids. One of my sons got along great with her. She wanted kids to respect her plants, enjoy living things. She’d watched him grow up and how he loved to work in the yard. She loved to talk, I’d give her rides to the vet or the store every couple of weeks in her car. Over time I could tell her health was getting worse, her daughter gave me her phone number one day, to call her if I knew she needed help right away. I didn’t know she had Alzheimer’s.
      She was worried that her kids or doctor would put her in a home. She didn’t want to go to doctor appointments. One day she told me she fell in the driveway, no way she was seeing a doctor. She never wanted to leave her home and her dogs. I got a call another day, come check my blood pressure, something is wrong, maybe that is the issue. She was in very bad shape, been using a walker recently. She was shaking so bad she couldn’t stand in the walker. Reminded me of a diabetic’s sugar dropping out. She didn’t want me to call anyone for help. Once she was sitting down, calmed down, less shaking, I left to find her daughter’s number. Her daughter arrived at that time.
      Turns out she was not taking her meds regularly. She couldn’t remember and those pill reminders weren’t enough. The food in her fridge was spoiled, good food thrown out. Huge mess on her bed. No longer capable of taking care of herself. She did not want to leave her home. She did not want a live in care person. She did not want to move in with her daughter. In the end the police had to help the daughter move her into a home. Now she was angry with her daughter. It was a nice assisted living home. They made sure she had meals, and took her meds correctly.
      I visited her, after 2 weeks she was walking up and down the halls without a walker. She was telling jokes to another lady, it was so weird. They’d repeat the same jokes, new to both of them each time. But she missed her dogs, her house and her plants. Still mad at her daughter.
      The other lady was the sweetest lady you’d ever meet. Was the kindergarten bus driver for that same son. He was excited when his bus driver moved into the neighborhood. I had to go meet her he said. We became friends, she retired. She loved to talk and walk around the block. When my oldest son was looking for a house to rent, they said don’t rent, we will sell them a rent house for the price they bought it for 40 years earlier. It was the older couple’s first home.
      Later her husband told me he was worried about her. I couldn’t help, suggested a dr. Next he was worried about her because she’d do things like sweep their carport 10 times a day, making sure every leaf stayed out. Please keep walking with her, talking to her, it helps. Not long after her hand was all bandaged up. Her car had a broken windshield. She was mad at one of her sons. Why did he come break her window, why did he come into the home and break her hand? Why were her kids taking steps to take her away from her husband? Very confused, very heart broken. Later her husband filled me in.
      Alzheimer’s. She broke the windshield and her hand. Why the kids were going to court as they felt it was too much for their dad to handle and they feared for her safety. Right or wrong, she was put in a home. Her husband sold their home so he could get an apartment next to the home and visit her all the time. I was surprised how quickly she had changed.
      My mom made sure the home they built had a bedroom and full bath on the main floor. You never know what will happen to your health. Good thing as she can longer comfortably do stairs.
      It doesn’t have to be the elderly, any family member could end up in a wheelchair, mental problems, etc.

  2. Nice tour of your new place.
    Have you made slow drip sand filters. They seem ideal to pretreat any water you might filter further SO AS to extend the filter life of ceramic filters. Can you back flush ceramic filters say with distilled to extend their lives. I’m seeing a rating of ab out 600 gallons.
    In fact I can see one sand filter draining into two sand filters and those intern going into 2 more. Apparently the slime on top helps to treat the water. the longer the bacteria can be in contact with the slime, I would think the cleaner water. I’ve seen youtubes on sand filters and even Berkey like filters. As soon as it warms up I’m going to try to make an airlift pump as a back up for my well. If I can use low powered 12 volt air pumps to get me drinking water that might be nice. In that reguard it would seem that you could bring water up to a boil and use heat exchangers to preheat the incoming as you cool the outgoing and kill all bacteria with minimal energy. I guess a pressure cooker would do that. be well.

  3. I think the reason they were talking about having a “government coin” is that people are going to be more familiar with it (the look) and are fairly confident that it is true silver. It’s not that it would be “backed” by the government. Love the show!

  4. In 1900 and throughout time a dime or denarii(roughly 1/10 oz of silver) was a day’s wage.
    When silver gets revalued, it might be hard to barter with the larger denominations.
    I’d make sure you have plenty of dimes or 1/10 oz rounds in your mix of silver.
    I like the mercury dimes because they are not very worn and a person can easily determine them from a Roosevelt dime, vs a pre-64 Roosevelt dime against a current dime.
    AOCS have the presses and will soon be producing the 1/10oz “denarii”. I think these will be a big winner.
    The smaller pre-64 coins and rounds from a small mint like AOCS should be less likely to be faked. Don’t think it doesn’t happen:
    I will not be buying silver Morgans even if I can tell they are real. How can I convince someone else when I try to sell them?
    I can’t always have a certified assayer around to prove authenticity.

  5. On the ‘limits’ of the 2A:

    IMO any weapon which can be discriminately used to defend one’s valuables (person, family, property) against theft or destruction by another party.

    As a SOCIAL control on this, if there is an individual/group in the possession of OVERWHELMING force, it has to be assumed they intend offensive action or manipulation via threat, and that there arms need to be reduced.

    I’m saying it this way because these sorts of arguments are always framed as US vs. THEM.. as in WE should be allowed to have.. THEY should be allowed to have.. (We=’citizens’, They=’government’).. completely ignoring present realities.. this is a government/country ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’.. so I see no difference between what a soldier (citizen), LEO (citizen) or civilian (citizen) should be ‘allowed’ to use for communal and self-defense.

    With the key word being ‘discriminately’. Any indiscriminate weapon is a danger to your fellow citizen (roadside bomb, pathogen, nuclear weapon..) and should not be possessed by any party.

    • Clarifying ‘social control’.. this could be:
      John owns three tanks, and none of his neighbors have any tanks, or any means of defense against tanks..

      If the neighbors know and trust John, no harm no foul.

      If John is unstable, or is threatening his neighbors.. we have a trial with a ‘jury of his peers’ (his neighbors) who deescalate his arms to a more ‘reasonable’ (for the neighborhood) level.

      Yes, I realize that the libertarians and anarchists are howling in outrage.. ;-p
      But in any case where there is a credible threat of force, that cannot be countered by the person being threatened.. its time for the community/society to step in for the good of all..

      again.. IMHO

  6. On the weapons issue and rocket propelled grenades you talk about the danger of them in the context if whether we should be allowed them. How us that different from some anti gunner talking about thr danger if “assualt” weapons? Either the constitution allows them or not. The danger of them is irrelevent to what the 2nd amendment says.

    Not meaning to come off as a jerk, but i dont get your view.

  7. On the deer in the garden problem don’t overlook battery powered motion sensor devices . Example, the billy bass . These make sound and movement then they detect motion around the garden and will scare deer away. Pick them up at yard sales for a few bucks each. Move them around every time you work in the garden.

  8. A tip for the chickens. Staw has a strong tendency to mat and the chickens don’t seem to want to scratch through it, making poo build up. The higher the carbon ratio and the greater the surface area of the material determines effectiveness of poo absorption (Joel Salatin). Have a local tree trimming company deliver a truckload for free, nice ground up wood chips. I just got a load this week for my local Ashlund guys. If you see them on the side of the road tell them where you live and they will happily bring you some Free. A six inch layer of this for your coop area will eliminate any smells and actually make it look attractive. Your chickens will scratch and mix this to make the best compost you never had to turn. Make sure to feed them greens if there is no access to grass and weeds. You can get organic feed from Country Side, they deliver to somewhere in Richmond. Hit me on the forum if you have any ??s
    Jack don’t forget to put get a bunch of free mulch on the list. Glad the move is going well!
    Cheers everyone.

    • I agree on the feed and not using straw. We were getting a feed from a chicken store in Portland where I work. Recently, we ran out and I had to run to the local farm store which only had Purina. I bought some and it went from putting your nose in the coup after a week and lightly smelling it, to smelling it from 10 feet away after a couple of days.

      I would caution one thing with wood, DO NOT add cedar as it can cause the birds to suffocate. We use pine savings in the coup with a chicken tractor run and coup. I end up changing the coup out about once a week for with the weather the birds spend a lot of time in there right now. I’m actually laying that waste mixture down as mulch around bushes, vines, and new areas that I’m sheet mulching. The mulch doesn’t smell. With our rain it washes all that out. The mulch soaks up a lot of water. I’m not sure how well this is going to work I’ve only been doing it for a few months now, but I’m thinking it should work great. Will know more in spring when I plant and if the plants take off.

  9. Jack, here’s my limit on the 2A:
    If the weapon can PASSIVELY harm someone, then it should be regulated.
    If the weapon needs human intervention to harm someone, then it should be available for any citizen to own.

    Nuclear, chemical, biological weapons – they can passively harm someone without human intervention. Nuclear weapons give off radiation. Chemical and biological weapons can become unstable and harm someone, if they fall over (say a big truck rides by and shakes the ground a bit or there’s a little earthquake tremor) they can poison someone with no human intervention.
    Even dynamite, over time, becomes unstable as it ages. If it becomes too hot it sweats and becomes unstable. The slightest shaking could set it off with no human intervention.
    All of those things should be regulated… and in the case of dynamite, it already is.

    APCs, tanks in your driveway…? Go for it. Matter of fact, if you’ve got one, let me know – I’ll bring my sons over so they can climb all over it and geek out.
    That tank is not going to start shelling the house across the street on its own. That APC isn’t going to fire up its gun and start ripping up the local Wawa on its own.
    These things, like rifles, require human intervention to cause harm.

    So, it’s really simple, in my mind. If it’s an “arm” that the military/gov’t has that does not harm someone on its own, then YES… citizens should have full access to it. If it can harm someone without human intervention, regulate it.

    • Seems like every time I get a small surplus of TP or paper towels my wife decides we don’t need any the next time she goes to the store.

  10. Hey jack,

    The new house sounds great, glad your back

    I’m a paramedic, and listening to the med ‘hoarding’ call sparked something I’d like to share.

    It isn’t uncommon for us to have national medical shortages about once a year on basic emergency drugs.

    I’d happily take a pic at our station suggesting we use other drugs on hand, but in many instances we can’t. Jack, I’m talking about being out of epi, lidocaine, dopamine, lasix, and mag sulfate.

    I’m not sure if there is a solution as a prepper, just wanted to warn folks that EMS may not be your savior…..especially in a crisis.

  11. Great show Jack. You noted some years ago about how you had your Arlington house spruced up to sell right away. Maybe you could do a show on ways to fix up a house to sell (mainly inexpensive ones that don’t involve remodeling). Having the clear plastic containers is a great tip. Did you do up spreadsheets to help prepare for the move?

    • I second this show option. We were going to move this past year but hubby decided we couldn’t swing it. While I am waiting for him to declare an end to my house hunting moratorium, I am trying to make our current townhouse as appealing as possible both for resale value & because I have to live there – for now.

      • Ill see what I can do, most likely I can do this in a segment tomorrow, it isn’t as complicated as it may seem, it is actually VERY simple.

  12. What to do with your garden if you can’t garden for a year.

    Two more suggestions:

    1. Fence it off securely and run chickens. They will need none of your time some days (other than a minute to collect the eggs), averaging out to around 15 minutes a day if you have a reliable water supply and a food hopper.

    2. Offer the use of the garden to someone who would like to use it. There are lots of younger people who are living in apartments who’d love to try out gardening, but have zero opportunity at home. There are websites for garden share in my area.

  13. Stocking up on meds.

    When my wife went overseas for four months, her doctor gave her a scrip to cover that period, no questions asked.

  14. Chickens: if you bed the coop with sawdust then you can use a kitty litter scooper to clear out the poop a couple times a week. No smell.

  15. I have a year or more of the one prescription that I need to keep up after a collapse (for thyroid). I ask for a hard copy of the prescription. I fax it to a pharmacy in Canada (Northwestern). Then I take the hard copy to my pharmacy here. I pay for the pills from Canada myself and put them in storage. I have some in my food storage room which is cool. I have some in my freezer. I’ve been doing this for over a year now.

    • After my endocrinologist adjusted my thyroid medication, I continued to fill my lower dose Rx to have an emergency supply on hand.
      Is it *exactly* the dose I need? No, but I’d rather have something close than nothing at all. Keep in mind, this might not work for your particular medications.
      Using the $10/90 day refill options that a lot of stores now have (even chain grocery stores) it was very cost effective to get it done.

  16. Jack,
    Looking back to my pre-teen years my uncles would be called preppers today, 1960-1970s.

    Years ago my uncle had bought a metal detector and he was hunting around an old farm dump. He found jars of honey that had been buried and had grass growing over the jars. The jars of honey had to be there at least 25 years.

    He put the jars in hot water exactly as you described and the honey re-liquified. The honey tasted good.

  17. My b-in-law was put on Lipator by his MD because his cholesterol was less than 210- 220. I told him I dropped my cholesterol from 260 down to 187 using diet change and exercise alone.

  18. On the student loans.
    There are private student loans that are not normally dischargeable through bankruptcy. They lobbied hard and got that passed through the government in 2005. Here’s a quote from so you don’t have to just take my statement alone.

    Q: I thought private student loans were treated differently in bankruptcy than federal student loans. Is this no longer true?

    This used to be true, but the law was changed in 2005. The new law is effective for bankruptcy cases filed on October 17, 2005 or afterwards.

    • While true it doesn’t sound like it applies to the caller. They owe the school directly you don’t borrow from the school you get a “payment plan” this should be treated like any other form of private debt. Many crappy schools work this way. Specifically many that students can’t actually get a loan to attend.

  19. Thanks as always Jack. Two points from Friday’s Show:

    1) – Crystallized Honey: Another way to remove the crystals from your honey is to take the trays out of your Excalibur Dehydrator. If you place it in the dehydrator at 115 degrees F for 24 hours the crystals will be gone and it will not get hot enough to degrade the quality of the honey.

    2) – Medications as Preps: I am a pharmacist, there was a question on how to have a 90 day supply of your medications, worrying about your insurance only wanting to pay for a 30 day supply. Your answer is exactly correct. What patients should do is have their Doctor write them a 90 day supply with no refills and request to pay for it at the pharmacy in cash. Then have the prescriber write them another prescription that they plan to use with their insurance. Some pharmacists may object, but I would imagine as long as they are not Controlled substances they would have no problem with it. If you are a patient with this problem talk to your pharmacist and doctor about it. It shouldn’t be a hard thing to get accomplished. My best advice is to stay off of medications as much as possible, but if you gotta have it….

  20. Hey Jack, you say around an hour and ten:

    “That’s where inflation comes from, because the value of the economy does not expand consistent with the volume of money; that’s inflation. More money than the value of the economy and the value of the bill goes down.”

    I’d say a better way to look at inflation is as an increase of the money supply without a corresponding increase in need for money (as funny as that sounds); but still even in your example if the “value” of the economy expands by 10% and the volume of money increases by 10% (without that corresponding *need* for money) I’d argue that inflation has still been suffered, because without that increase in the money supply prices would have dropped by roughly 10% and the value of money would have increased by that amount. What’s the best way to meet the demand for any good or service; money included? The free market.

    • See the problem there is I can show you many areas where money is sorely needed now and even during pretty rapid inflation. Money is not uniformly distributed. The economy is a living thing, it is dynamic and fluid. Need is a good word but easily misunderstood. Right now companies trying to expand need capital they can’t borrow, families who want to buy a home and CAN PAY can’t get mortgages, there is plenty of need and go to the store a few weeks in a row there is inflation.

      The key is the M3 can increase without inflation if the total economy grows at a similar level to the M3, problem is the Fed creates false growth, the NUMBERS go up but the productivity, total participation by the people, number of producers, etc doesn’t go up. What we have called growth in the last 20 years has actually be a DECLINE in actual productivity and in increase in costs. Flat population, jobs lost, manufacturing down, reliance on imports, reduced small businesses, etc.

      Your word NEED is accurate but it is the total need by the ECONOMY and that is hard for most people to grasp. So I just leave that out, it is pretty accurate to say the M3 expands faster then the economy and that creates inflation, you are right to as the expansion creates the “need” if that makes sense. But if you tell a guy busting his ass for 10 dollars an hour trying to feed a family that there is no need for more money do you think he will get it?

      • Yeah, I largely agree with you, especially regarding the semantics of the word “need” for the average person. At the risk of being pedantic I just feel like it’s important to delve into the devil and details occasionally for such an important topic. Like, if we define inflation simply as the money supply growing faster than the economy, it might lead us to the conclusion that we should try and make that our target. However, arguably the ideal situation is when the economy is growing and becoming more productive and prices are falling (ie the computer industry over the past 30 years, to take a slice of the economy), so it’s not necessarily the case that you want to have the money supply growing at the same rate as the economy and try and cancel out all the benefits of increased productivity and falling prices. The fallacy of the Fed’s silly “price stability” mandate. And I grant you computer prices have fallen immensely over the past decades, but who knows, perhaps they could have fallen further faster?

        So how do you balance such a complex, impossible equation and have “enough” money? Until we’re omniscient you ideally do it the same way we’ve found to be the most effective for any good or service: allow the free market to equalize. Which is why I’m enamored with the idea of some sort of free market resource-based money (be it precious metal or whatever). That way for instance, if there is a high “demand” for money (lets say gold) then the cost to extract your ounce of gold will go down until enough gold has been mined and minted for the relative value of gold decrease. Or if there’s “too much” gold and the value has declined relatively, the cost of extraction will go up and it won’t make business sense to mine and mint; people would in theory use what they have or turn it into jewelry, or paint domes with it, or whatever they place the highest value on.

        The other tricky part is in maintaining the distinction between wealth and money. Wealth can take many forms, real property like land for instance. It’s not necessary that you have a corresponding amount of gold (or whatever form money takes) to represent all the land, timber, resources, etc of the country; not necessarily and non-sensical.

        Oh well, it’s all somewhat academic I guess, but pretty interesting to ponder

    • Something I’ve found useful is to talk in terms of ‘barter tokens’ rather than ‘money’ or ‘dollars’.

      It keeps my brain, and the person I’m talking to, from getting mentally tripped up by all the emotions and ‘things we know’ about money.

      When talking about inflation, its good to nail down what kind you’re talking about, as they tend to get all thrown into the same basket.

      For example, inflation of the money supply is completely different than price inflation, and the two are not necessarily related (Price Inflation could be caused by a failed crop (supply reduction) or increased taxation (supplier passing on costs.. with no increase in the money supply).

    • With money supply inflation you also need to look at the amount in circulation, and its velocity.

      As you can have a situation where the total ‘barter token’ supply is increasing, but the amount in circulation is decreasing.

      Example: Banks ‘borrowing’ barter tokens from the Fed (newly minted) and parking them at the Fed, to earn interest. If the ‘interest’ is being paid via tokens already in circulation, then the effect is to reduce the amount in circulation, while increasing the overall quantity. This is equivalent to a person ‘stuffing money into a mattress’.. it still exists, and is part of the money supply, but it is not in circulation.. so there is a shortage of money for circulation.

  21. I am no expert on SRI antidepressents, but I would caution against anyone simply taking themselves off of them. The process of coming off of those medications can have serious affects, and I would assume that the person already had some emotional/mental issues if they got on these drugs in the first place. I would however suggest that anyone that is on an SRI, or thinking of getting on one, should also discuss St Johns Wort with your doctor. I recall that it is used commonly in Germany, and has far far fewer side effects.

    • Really? Gee isn’t that the same thing I said about not just stopping them to get a doc to help you wean off. Going on flat is dangerous and that is the entire argument about why they are so bad.