When I picked up the babysitter, she asked me if I wanted to taste one of her peanut butter jelly beans.

"Peanut butter jelly beans? Where'd you get that?"

"Mazza Gallerie. They're $4 a pound, and they've got them in all these nifty flavors: watermelon, pineapple, peppermint, bubblegum." She sounded as if she'd just tasted some ancient elixir or engaged in some forbidden taboo.

"But $4 a pound, who can afford that?" I remembered that Ronald Reagan has a thing for jelly beans. I suppose he's started a nationwide fad, and some candy manufacturer has cashed in on it, producing exotic flavors.

What's wrong with the old jelly beans sold at Easter? A whole pound of them still costs less than a dollar--even in these inflationary times. The babysitter offered me another one of her precious jelly beans, but I declined, not wanting to take expensive candy from a kid.

Later, when I paid her $4 for three hours of babysitting, I suddenly understood supply- side economics. Jelly beans at $4 a pound, or three hours' labor. Get the kids with candy first, and then it'll be easy to take care of their parents.