Brian’s Column: “Yikes! When did toothpaste get to five dollars a tube?!”

From the mundane to the sublime: an epiphany
Originally posted 9/7/2009

Busch's MarketSo here I am at Busch’s—a family independent grocery store that sprouted on the corner of Meadowbrook and 10 Mile Road in Novi, Michigan—used to be a Farmer Jack. Not having children, never much of a grocery shopper, my idea of going to stores for things, for nearly 40 years, has been, “That looks really good (or cool, or different); just throw it in the basket. $19.95 may be a little steep, but that’s why God invented MasterCard.”

And so it would go… for food, for clothes, for drinks, for car stuff, etc.

But then that other Bush ascended to the throne. The Neocons came home to roost, proceeding to spend/borrow our money like drunken sailors, making up wars and war crimes that most of us had never imagined, killing real jobs and real people, causing prices to climb and potholes to proliferate. [Rule of thumb is when a country spends money it doesn’t have, prices go up because of all the currency the government prints to pay the first guys in the welfare line: in Bush’s case, mostly military contractors, oil companies, and faith-based snake-oil salesmen.]

Still, despite the inflationary pressure of all the cookie jar raids by the high-level fat cats during the Bushovik years, I never noticed any unexpected pricing until perhaps The Decider’s fourth (well, eighth[1]) year. In early 2008, I remember an isolated incident also at Busch’s where the tag on a box of the store-brand powdered milk said, like, $9! Shut up! I had the store manager validate there wasn’t some mistake in the markup process, or a gear missing in their stamper gizmo. (Just a few weeks ago, at Kroger, the equivalent eight-quart box was not even half this price.)

So maybe the middle of 2008, I remember being over at my SO’s[2]: we’re getting eggs and bread at Meijer; she tells me it’s scary—sweetie is currently on a decidedly fixed income—how the staples seem to increase a dollar a day… what if you have kids?! It’s about that time I start actually looking at prices of things: “Wow, how did Nestle’s chocolate bars get so expensive? Guess we can live without those. And I’ll get the two-for-one cheap bourbon.” After that, I surprised myself for frugality. Heck, I could even go into the Dollar Store[3] and leave without buying anything!

Finally, around election season—through the so-called 2008 Credit Crisis, with its associated taxpayer bailout of needy billionaire bankers in New York, London, and Switzerland (and no doubt Bahrain, etc.)—and becoming decidedly worse in the past few weeks, prices seemed to get just strange. To the point the other day I’m shopping for my routine supply of apples, bananas, and peanut butter, when I remember I’ve run out of toothpaste: I’ll just buy the grocery store brand in Oral-Hygiene, Aisle 3; I notice the national brands, like Colgate, are going for $4.69!

“Yikes! When did toothpaste get to five dollars a tube?!”

Problem is Busch’s, which is associated with the Spartan product network, doesn’t carry a cheaper Spartan-brand toothpaste. And NFW[4] am I paying $5 for that medicine-cabinet luxury (word is that back in the day, people used baking soda; sure enough check out this column from the Frugal Law Student). So I finish up at Busch’s then head next door to the Rite-Aid. Not much better over there—to be nicer to the environment I used to like to buy Tom’s of Maine, but its 8 oz tubes are closing in on $6! But because of a marking error, I walk with a Colgate whitening variety for the retro price of $1.74! Who says I don’t know how to find value.

So where am I going with these Martha Stewart shopping tips? Well, if only toothpaste were going through the roof, I’d say, “Fine, there’s a shortage in Borneo of the tree goop that gazinta essential toothpaste chemistry, no big deal. They’ll make more goop, or come up with a substitute, and within a month or two, toothpaste will be reasonable again.” No worries. Then a couple of days later, I drive to Pete Hendrickson’s July 4 Declaration Day party[5], and need some sunscreen. Back to Rite-Aid. You know what they want for sunscreen?!! $6.35 for 4.5 ounces!! Yikes!

It’s a pattern. And when we all put our thinking caps on, it’s fairly obvious that general price levels are increasing rather dramatically where we live… on Main Street. Further, if we noodle it out a little more, we see that the reason general price levels are dramatically higher is that the ratio of Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs)[6] to goods and services has increased. And it isn’t simply, as indicated above, from the Bush cabal. The Obama cabal—and all the federal cabals in history with access to the Fed cookie jar—are huge borrowers, taxers, and spenders of other people’s money (OPM). At root it is simple counterfeiting on a massively centralized scale. Here is a figure, as a primer, from my Sacred Nonaggression Principle:

Figure Legend

Figure shows a subsistence economy where initially the provision of rice is tightly controlled by an overlord or prison-like system. This is for illustrative purpose only; rice bowls are the commodity standard of money value in this primitive world.

  1. The workers or prisoners produce rice, which is processed into rice bowls.
  2. A commissary or distribution center metes out the rice bowls, subsistence is two per person.
  3. Rice bowls are de facto money so an idea is formed to represent them with a scrip note.
  4. Initial value set: one scrip note per rice bowl.
  5. Stores now distributes scrip to the people which can be redeemed for rice bowls.
  6. For illustration purposes: wealth not growing.
  7. The deviance: a) Processor sets 1 rice bowl = 2 scrip, b) Personnel control process internally, c) Processor gives 3 scrip to person, which feels like an increase, d) Processor takes 1 scrip/person for fee.
  8. Progress occurs. Persons find that 3 scrip do not buy as much as 2 scrip in other goods/service.

Okay, a primitive picture, but…

How Prosperity Rests on Freedom

The $64 Gazillion Dollar question: Who are these “other people” in the OPM? Duh. I’ve purposefully put my ‘man in the street’ face on in this column in order, I hope, to demonstrate a heartfelt sensitivity to the very real problems probably 90% of us face… the better to suggest a solution path that can have some meaning. Fundamentally, what I—and the substantial universe of those I call the “freedom people”—propose is to END THE STEALING! We speak for the “other people” whose wealth is being ripped off by these government Demopublican gangs (and their bankster stakers), and we the people have had quite enough… moreover, we’re aiming to get our wealth back from those who stole it.[7]

Which fits in handsomely with my Independence Day message. That link remains a first cut in my effort to define a new spirit of independence that perhaps can accomplish something like the earlier American-Jeffersonian one. Should we seek a severance from the government criminal class or, as some have argued, simply enforce the law of the land on them? [A lot of government murderers’ and robbers’ heads may have to roll under a strict imposition by the people of our Bill of Rights.][8] I shall continue to develop my Declaration of Independence and set up a system where people can sign and testify to it for themselves.

…I’m leaning toward calling it the Declaration of Personal Sovereignty. [more to come]


[1] Can you believe that smarmy, murderous little alien snake lizard was in charge of the country for two full terms!? Sad thing is, Bush’s successor is continuing and embellishing every one of Bush’s policies… only with a smile instead of a smirk.

[2] significant other

[3] Ever wonder when the Dollar Store will insert a zero after the $1?

[4] no fundamental way

[5] Pete Hendrickson has simply written the book of the century—at least in the category of “information you can use to restore your personal financial freedom while ending federal tyranny”—namely, Cracking the Code: The fascinating truth about taxation in America.

[6] I would say dollars, but a Federal Reserve Note has about as much connection to a real US dollar—”The U.S. dollar was created and defined by the Coinage Act of 1792; it specified a “dollar” to be between 371 and 416 grains (27.0 g) of silver.”—as my golf swing has to Tiger Woods’.

[7] As I’ve mentioned to several in the Free State, what we really need in the movement is a “Wealth Recovery Industry,” a coordinated action of accountants and lawyers aiming to associate x amount of FRNs with y individuals who counterfeited them… or who profited by receiving the lower-valued money on the first or second tier of government spoils. Then a recovery arm that returns the value represented by these FRNs to the productive class from whom the value was secretively taken. The amount of money due back to the productive class is easily on the order of $200 trillion or—assuming the US has an adult population of 200 million—a $million per adult recipient.

[8] Generally, I do not favor a program that exacts capital punishment even for the high crimes of torture and aggressive war. Yes, for those who conceive and/or authorize torture, rendition, indefinite detention, brutal imprisonment, and so on—by the way, Barack Obama is among them—… it does seem just to subject them to the same treatment. But I’m hoping that when we humans take our world back from the Kleptocons, we simply keep these state criminals humanely confined in, like, a special zoo with windows for public viewing. “Mommy, isn’t that one in the orange jump suit the former president?”

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