The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Bad Good-News ?

03/30/2014

During the 1990s, corporate profits averaged 5.4% of GDP.  Today, it has doubled to 11.1%  How can you not be happy that corporations are doing so well?  CNBC great Larry Kudlow likes to say that “profits are the mother’s milk of stock prices.”  It is good for stock prices! From a historic standpoint, during the … Continue reading Bad Good-News ?

My Refrain ?

03/29/2014

I know I’ve said it too many times already, but doesn’t every good song have a refrain that is repeated over-and-over.  Here is mine:  we are over-regulated and under-punished!  There, I feel better now . . . Bernie Madoff was exposed in 2009 after his Ponzi scheme collapsed.  He could have been arrested years earlier … Continue reading My Refrain ?

A Peek Ahead from NABE

03/27/2014

I’ve been a member of the National Association of Business Economists for many years now.  They are mostly working economists, not academic economists.  And, I always look forward to their economic survey of members.  According to the latest: 1.  Due to weather primarily, GDP growth in the first quarter was only 1.9%, but it is … Continue reading A Peek Ahead from NABE

Economics, HIV, and Cupcakes

03/26/2014

It is for good reason that economics is not-so-lovingly referred to as “the dismal science,” because it is so focused on budgeting limited resources.  As a result, economists tend to see the world dismally or at least differently.  I appreciate those who can make the subject interesting, entertaining, and relevant.  Therefore, I highly recommend an … Continue reading Economics, HIV, and Cupcakes

The Cost of Economic Ignorance ?

03/25/2014

I’m trying to feel sorry, without much success, for Vladimir Putin.  After all, he grew up in the old Soviet Union, with no understanding of capitalism.  When communism fell, it was replaced with “cronyism” which created the oligarchs . . . but certainly not replaced with capitalism. Following his invasion of Crimea and imminent invasion … Continue reading The Cost of Economic Ignorance ?

Thoughtful Views From Wall Street

03/23/2014

Morgan Stanley is another highly respected investment firm on Wall Street and is NOT a huge vampire squid sucking on the face of mankind, as others are known.  Their monthly updates are less concise than that of Goldman Sachs but more thoughtful.  Here are some thoughts from their latest: At the end of 2013, analysts … Continue reading Thoughtful Views From Wall Street

From the Depths of Squiddom

03/21/2014

Here are some of the latest forecasts from one of the most feared, I mean, most respected investment houses on Wall Street: 1.  The lousy winter weather has probably taken a half percentage point off GDP growth in the first quarter, with the inventory correction taking off another half point.  Still, they expect a healthy … Continue reading From the Depths of Squiddom

Worry #2

03/15/2014

I am often asked what I primarily worry about, or what keeps me awake at night.  Certainly, I worry about the possibility of cascading defaults by counter-parties in the lightly-regulated, heavily-cloaked derivatives industry. After that, however, I have been worried about the economic consequences of a successful terrorist attack on our national electrical grid.  A … Continue reading Worry #2

Another Veil . . . Already ??

03/14/2014

With so much conflicting information to study each month, it is already tough enough trying to rationalize and reconcile the behavior of both the economy and the stock market.  Then, some geopolitical veil descends, making it even more difficult to foresee anything.  Remember the European financial crisis? With the renewal of the Cold War by … Continue reading Another Veil . . . Already ??

Good Deed, Crazy Consequence

03/13/2014

Sometimes, it takes awhile to find and identify the devil hiding in the details.  Back in December, demonstrators were in the streets of Kiev, pushing out the pro-Russian government.  To make themselves less unattractive, Russia then agreed to make a $3 billion loan to the Ukraine.  While it was odd that the loan was in … Continue reading Good Deed, Crazy Consequence

The Full Circle of Paranoia

03/09/2014

Back in the early 1970s, there was a series of four full-length motion pictures loosely centered on the character of Billy Jack, who was a half-Indian, ex-Green Beret, who was a closet or “teepee” existentialist.  Because death was his ever-present occupational companion, there was that easy familiarity, helping him to learn emotional detachment from everyday … Continue reading The Full Circle of Paranoia

Regulating The Next War

03/07/2014

There are worse things than losing a war.  One is to keep fighting a war that is already lost.  The war to re-regulate the financial system has been lost, and we need to quit fighting it. Following the global financial crisis of 2008/9, it was not surprising that Congress laboriously constructed a new set of … Continue reading Regulating The Next War

Thinking About Keystone

03/06/2014

Democrats argue we must mitigate the effects of climate change.  Republicans agree — but add we shouldn’t spend any money until at least 100% of climate scientists agree on the causes and solutions. As someone who lives on a beach and doesn’t know a single climate scientist or climatologist, all I do know is that … Continue reading Thinking About Keystone

Wobbling Weebles

03/03/2014

Everybody remembers the old Hasbro TV commercial that “weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.”  That’s how I felt when I watched stock markets around the world this morning.  Virtually every market in every nation is down and down sharply.  Of course, this is a reaction to the Russian invasion of Crimea over the weekend. … Continue reading Wobbling Weebles

Don Quixote Was Not a CFP

03/01/2014

There is a serious effort underway to get more financial advisors to run for public office.  It is a fairly safe assumption that the vast majority of financial advisors are at least vaguely familiar with sound financial practices, as well as investment vehicles.  In fact, the fee-only financial advisors are even intimately familiar with the … Continue reading Don Quixote Was Not a CFP

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