The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
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Welcome to The Flinchum File

I am an Accredited Investment Fiduciary at Bay Capital Advisors, an investment firm headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA. After retiring from Truist Bank, I started this firm to work more closely with a smaller number of clients, and it has been great! Our client load is about 25% of the national average.

Writing is not for the shy or the meek. It exposes a person’s mind and character. I hope you enjoy the view.

Get Off My PE Ratio !!

How much would you pay to receive $1.00 a year from me?  Would you pay $2?  Would you pay $200? If you paid $2, you would be paying two times the annual revenue?  If you paid $200, you would be paying a hundred times revenue.  This is the same concept as the “price-earnings (PE) ratio.”  How much would you pay for a stock that earns…

Got Googled ?

Like a high-maintence ex-wife, it was almost pleasant when Google took down this blog last week.  At first, I enjoyed the freedom from maintaining it . . . but soon started missing it.  The late Charlottesville billionaire, John Kluge, once described his last ex-wife as being his favorite ex-wife.  I’ve written one award-winning book and am working on another.  I’ve written countless columns and even…

Google, Goldman, and God

I’m not sure which company I dislike the most.  One gleefully shreds our right to privacy, and the other bets against its own clients.  On the other hand, Google also makes a world of information available to average users, and Goldman Sachs has a truly great group of investment strategists. In their latest commentary, Goldman expects U.S. growth to be 2.2% this year, dropping to…

Happy Silver Anniversary

What were you doing 25 years ago today?  I was at a real estate loan closing in Texas.  That’s when the stock market crashed . . . losing 22% of its value in one day — still the all-time greatest one-day loss. Of course, it was terrifying, especially to those who didn’t believe it was only a temporary loss, which it was.  But, could it…

The Ultimate Paratrooper

No paratrooper has ever forgotten that feeling of jumping into nothing and then dropping rapidly.  It has been over 40 years since my first jump, and I can still remember every second of it. So, it is not surprising that I missed my tee time on Sunday afternoon, as I stood transfixed, watching the historic jump of Felix Baumgartner from over 128 thousand feet, from…

What’s the End Game?

Imagine what would happen in the United States if inflation rose from 21.5% last year to an officially estimated 25% next year but is really approaching 70%.  Imagine if our economy grew 2% last year (which it did) but was expected to drop by not less than 0.9% this year.  Imagine if the dollar lost a third of its value over the past month alone!…

My Bold Prediction

Do you have some time?  I’d like to tell you the many complaints I have with the Simpson-Bowles Plan to fix America’s fiscal problems.  In fact, you should put your feet up, as this may take all day . . . OK, never mind!  If you’ve been reading this blog very long, you already know how I think about the rapidly-rising cost of entitlements, and…

Progress In The Weeds

Like an aircraft carrier taking a long time to change directions, we are seeing some real progress by Europe to fix themselves.  In Portugal, workers will now contribute 18% of their salary to their “Social Security,” up from 11%. In Italy, companies are now allowed to do the unthinkable — actually layoff employees when the economy tanks.  (It is hard to imagine a company not…

Pet Peeve

Every year, Dr. James Koch of Old Dominion University delivers his “State of the Region” presentation on the local economy.  Yesterday, I attended that presentation, and, as usual, it was excellent! There was one table of data, however, that really bothered me.  From 2001 through 2010, the average non-government employee in the U.S. saw his or her wages increase 20.7%.  We were more fortunate in…

Happy Birthday to . . .

Today is the fifth birthday of the all-time high in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was 14,164.  That is only 4% above where we are now. Now, think about the economy five years ago.  It was much stronger.  Unemployment was low.  Home prices were rising.  Everything was good! So, does the stock market reflect the state of the economy?  The conventional wisdom is that…

A Generous Spirit . . . or not ?

A year or so ago, a good friend recommended a book entitled “Philanthrocapitalism” by Matthew Bishop and Michael Green.  At first blush, it chronicles the growth of very good things done by very rich people, but it is much more.  Very rich people have made very large donations to various charities for generations, but the latest stage in the evolution of charity is giving more…

Atlas Shrugged, Part II

I have been in love with Ayn Rand all my life, even though she has been dead for thirty years.  A novelist turned philosopher, she is the intellectual mother of notables from Alan Greenspan to Paul Ryan. Her last work and greatest seller was Atlas Shrugged.  It tells the story of successful people who keep disappearing mysteriously.  As it turns out, these successful people are…

Paging Joe McCarthy . . .

Nothing kills success like excess! Senator Joe McCarthy was the Republican senator from Wisconsin during the early 1950s, at the height of the “Cold War.”  He became a respected national leader, with his obsession that our government was full of closet Communists.  By simply asking if someone was a Communist, that person then had to prove the negative — that he was NOT a Communist.…

September Jobs & Conspiracies?

The September Jobs Report was released this morning.  While it was a good report, it was certainly not a great report. The rate of unemployment dropped to 7.8 percent, the lowest during the Obama Administration, but only 114 thousand jobs were created.  The level of both unemployed and under-employed remains at 14.7 percent, which is a huge waste of human capital. But, there are some…

The Big Tent

While the Democratic Party may offer a big tent for many ethnic groups, the Republican Party offers a big tent for many schools of economics. The Democratic Party is home to most Keynesian economists, with a smattering of Austrian economists.  The Republican Party is home to most Austrian economists, a few Keynesian economists, all Supply-side economists, all Monetarists, and most Libertarians.  It can be an…

Cheering The Other Team

Historians remind us that the United States has faced political gridlock in Washington before.  Political scientists remind us that gridlock is not always bad, if it keeps the government from doing something bad.  Clearly, all that is true, but we have never faced gridlock from such a weak, vulnerable position, which worries me. I’m not talking about the Fiscal Cliff, which is coming at us…

An Unscientific Survey

Existentialists have a “thing” about anything they consider absurd.  Calling something or somebody absurd is about the worst thing you can say. This was the weekend of the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach, and my Rotary Club operated the beer concession to raise money for our charitable foundation.  As we learned, the most important part of selling any alcoholic beverage is paying homage to whatever…