This week, I’m in San Diego attending an annual conference of financial advisors. There are classes and workshops on the economy, the markets, the ever-increasing crush of regulation, and whatever is new. The biggest surprise so far has been the many discussions about the increasing problem of wire transfer fraud, which is up 100% each … Continue reading Wire Transfer Fraud & Other Sins
The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
War is a terrible thing . . . in so many ways! Several economists have now estimated the combined cost of the Iraqi and Afghan wars as $3 TRILLION or more. That includes actual funded military expense plus an estimate of the life time healthcare costs for the sixty thousand wounded veterans. It does not … Continue reading Digital Bullets
I’ve been a member of the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) for many years. The joke is that we are more reality-based and less nerdy than academic economists. I don’t know about that, but the information is certainly more useful. Today, NABE released their survey of economists about the economy during the fourth quarter. … Continue reading Rules-of-Thumb . . . and other Truths
Everybody has some gold jewelry laying around the house. For most people, that is all the gold investing they do. However, when a person does decide to invest in gold, they usually buy it like they normally buy stock, i.e., in shares of a company that mines gold. That has not been a good investment … Continue reading Owning Gold or Digging Gold
Much has been written about the folly of trying to out-smart the market by market-timing, i.e., selling all stocks when the market is the highest and buying all stocks when the market is the lowest. Of course, while that is a quaint idea, nobody has ever been able to do that on a consistent basis. … Continue reading Big Enough Pasture ?
Last year, I often wrote the U.S. economy was stronger than most people realized but was weighted down by three “wet blankets.” They were (1) the Presidential election, (2) the Fiscal Cliff/Crisis, and (3) the European financial crisis. The first wet blanket created uncertainty, and the stock market hates uncertainty. Historically, the market rises in … Continue reading Drying Out . . .
It is the best $1.95 you’ll ever spend — buying America: The Pocket Guide published by Colonial Williamsburg. You’re forced to remember that “America” is as much an idea as a place. America-the-place is where America-the-idea happened. And that, it is meant to be a place of tensions and conflicts — such as, between Laws vs … Continue reading Big Reminders From Small Books
William Buckler is a brilliant libertarian from Australia. Like most libertarians, he embraces Austrian economics and a return to the gold standard. He is also required reading. Fortunately, a good friend of mine is always kind enough to share his copy . . . Thank you! The most recent issue discusses the heavy emphasis that … Continue reading $1,000,000,000,000 Coins ?
Scratch a banker and they will tell you they have money to lend and are just looking to make new loans. Without question, they are honest in that comment. Of course, if they are candid as well, they will add that credit has to be absolutely 100% perfect to qualify for a loan, which is … Continue reading Happy Bankers, Unhappy Regulators
Frequently, I am asked whether I worry about inflation. The answer is: Yes — all the time! There is no doubt in my mind about serious inflation coming at us. Theoretically, it doesn’t matter that the Fed has “printed” so much money, as they can simply withdraw the excess money supply when necessary. As a … Continue reading Looking Down the Pipleline
When I was nine years old, my father gave me my first gun. As a child, I spent countless hours shooting birds for target practice (which I’m not proud of today). As a result, it was no surprise when the Army qualified me as an Expert Marksman. As a civilian, I have had a Concealed … Continue reading The Hi-Jacking of Ayn Rand
My favorite cousin and lifelong buddy is a registered nurse who has a perspective on Medicare that is somewhat different from mine. She understandably sees it through the prism of medicine, while I see it through the prism of economics. I think she sees it as the delivery of necessary social benefit, while I see … Continue reading A Seven-Minute Perspective on Medicare
Readers know I also write a quarterly column for Inside Business on the economy and investing. I enjoy writing it, because it allows me to group subjects that I think are important. The latest was published yesterday and is on news stands today. It can also be found at: http://insidebiz.com/news/making-it-through-q4-and-around-cliff The columnist does not control what … Continue reading On the News Stands
With my interest in health care issues aroused recently, I noticed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) just issued their report on 2011 expenditures, reporting that the U.S. spent $2.7 trillion or about $8,680 per individual. That is a whopping 17.9% of the economy, as measured by GDP. The government’s share of expenses … Continue reading Good Intentions Are Not Enough
I think I took my first course in Principles of Investment in either 1970 or 1971. At the time, there were two dominant schools of thought. One was the “fundamental approach” founded by Benjamin Graham and popularized by Warren Buffett. It emphasized detailed analysis of the company financial statements, especially the footnotes. Critics allege it … Continue reading Tapping My Fingers . . . Impatiently
Readers know I am endlessly fascinated with the permutations of portfolio management and the impact of myriad economic data on different portfolios, along with the politics that thread them together. However, those subjects become less entertaining when laying awake at night with your throat burning and your lungs rattling. It has even been hard to … Continue reading Back On The Road . . . to recovery!
I like Lindsay Graham, the Republican Senator from South Carolina, and agree with him that President Obama has won a great political victory and should, of course, be congratulated on his victory. Enough said! My New Year’s Resolution should be to attend the next meeting of the Republican National Committee and to nominate Mr. Spock … Continue reading GOP’s New Year’s Resolution