As the holidays start to come upon us, I am getting prepared with my baking supplies. One of my favorite treats of the holidays is a good old fashioned pumpkin pie. While I like the spice, smell, and flavor of pumpkin pie, I absolutely love the memories and emotions unlocked by the experience of the holidays that have always had pumpkin pie. This year, the pie has a new element; economics. How do I go from holiday treats to economics??? You must not know me well.
Charlie made a Pumpkin Pie for Halloween. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As a self proclaimed “arm chair economist”, I am constantly engaged and drawn into the political debate of the day. ObamaCare and debt ceiling are the debate of the day, but I’m sure more will come. As every day passes, and more government spending reaches deeper into my wallet, the growing concern is that too many people don’t understand basic economics. By basic economics, I am referring to using a a pumpkin pie as our text book. Here is the basic lesson:
1. The pie is 10 inches in diameter
2. We have a knife and a package of plates
3. I baked the pie and cut a 3 inch piece for myself as this is my favorite pie and I did all the work.
4. The rest of the pie is cut into 2 inch pieces ( with a 1 inch piece to feed the baby).
5. By my math (a child of California public schools in the 1990s) that’s 5 pieces of varying size
The pie is finite. That means it is 10 inches now matter how we slice it. Right now I can happily feed 5 of us with pie. If we have an unexpected guest, the pieces get smaller. Maybe it’s unfair that I get such a larger piece. After all, I am privileged enough to have the ability to work to make the pie, maybe I shouldn’t flaunt that by eating a larger piece than everyone else. Maybe what would be more fair is to take my 3 inch piece and create another smaller 1 inch piece for one of the smaller children. The problem now is that this is starting to get complicated. I think what I would recommend at this point would be to bring in a “pie” expert from the local office of weights and measures. The “fee” (code word for tax) is 3 inches of pumpkin pie.
The government agent will come in to my home and deem what is fair. They always know what’s best and fair for my family.
He gets his 3 inch piece first, then will divvy the remaining 7 inches. In an effort to be impartial, he “asks” (government code for demand) that we utilize a special government approved pie pan which is actually 9 inches and trash the other 1 inch of pumpkin pie filling. Apparently 3 years ago a house burnt down because the extra inch caused too much heat. Now I have to buy a 9 inch pan for the government pumpkin pie. The cost of the pan is a little more because it’s government regulated and in high demand because of the recent regulatory changes. The fee for the new pan is 2 inches of pumpkin pie. So now that I’ve handled that, I have the government agent coming over to help assist the division of the 5 inches of remaining pie. At least we know this will be fair. I almost forgot to mention that the government union won’t let him work on holidays. He is pretty booked up on the days around the holidays. They are only allowed to hire a certain amount of agents at the office of weights and measures so they are pretty over worked. They have availability about 2 weeks before Christmas, so I can have the pie cut up and stored frozen for me. Of course, this costs 2 inches of pie as well…