The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Golden Memories Are The Constants

11/30/2014

As individuals in the constantly changing world of relationships, we look for a constant – a relationship with someone which does not change over time.  That person usually becomes a spouse but often becomes our ex-spouse.  There really aren’t constants in relationships, because people change as they age, and either the relationship adjusts or it … Continue reading Golden Memories Are The Constants

Opaque OPEC

11/28/2014

Although OPEC is currently meeting in Vienna, little is expected, despite a flurry of activity behind the scenes.  Before the conference, the smaller producers were asking the “swing” producers like Saudi Arabia to reduce their own production levels to decrease the supply of available, which would drive up the price of oil and prop up … Continue reading Opaque OPEC

Thanksgiving Day, 2014

11/27/2014

I am thankful that unemployment has dropped from 10% to 5.8%. I am thankful that the more problematic U-6 level of unemployment, which includes people who want to work full-time but can only find part-time work, has dropped from 18% to “only” 10%. I am thankful for the average 4% GDP growth in the second … Continue reading Thanksgiving Day, 2014

Things That Matter

11/25/2014

Despite his impressive memory and command of details, Jim Cramer of TheStreet and star of CNBC is not my favorite analyst.  I find his style annoying and egocentric.  Nonetheless, my gut tells me he is still a good guy. For anybody who has ever lost a parent, I recommend Cramer’s fond eulogy to his father, … Continue reading Things That Matter

No Comment

11/25/2014

Long ago in Panama, along with a young black captain who had just returned from Vietnam, we caused a private club located on Canal Zone property to integrate and allow black members.  In the course of that, we had to face down seven men holding shotguns.  Later, we received many compliments, including those of the … Continue reading No Comment

Incoming Tide

11/24/2014

The bulls are running on Wall Street and running hard.  The stock market is up sharply.  But, doesn’t the stock market reflect the economy?  The economy is growing but not rapidly.  Shouldn’t the stock market be going up as slowly as the economy improves? Yes, there is a loose relationship between the economy and the … Continue reading Incoming Tide

Trouble Next Door?

11/22/2014

Just two years ago, optimism about Mexico was high and rising.  The new President, Pena Nieto, seemed truly committed to reforming the hidebound and corrupt country.  He opened the oil business to foreign investment, which has long been a sacred cow to the Mexican people, who vividly remember exploitation by foreign corporations.  With an improving … Continue reading Trouble Next Door?

For History Students Only

11/21/2014

When we look at stock market cycles, we know the current bull market is getting old — over five years old.  However, if you look only at bull markets that follow at 30% decline, it is a very different perspective.  The deeper the bear drop in the stock market, the longer and strong the bull … Continue reading For History Students Only

NOT Our Finest Hour

11/20/2014

In Infantry Officer Candidate School, we were taught that, whenever your men come under fire, it is critically important to give a command.  It doesn’t matter if you holler – hit the dirt or climb a tree or drop your pants – just give a command, even if it is wrong!  Just make a decision … Continue reading NOT Our Finest Hour

Keynesian Malpractice

11/19/2014

A few years ago, the flaccid Japanese government decided to take a Keynesian approach to end their “lost decade(s)” and applied a huge stimulus, using deficit spending.  Predictably, the economy strengthened and their stock market boomed. Now, a “true” Keynesian knows that deficit spending has to be temporary, followed by budget surplus, to keep the … Continue reading Keynesian Malpractice

Involuntary Mercenaries

11/18/2014

Vladimir Putin is the greatest danger to the United State, far more dangerous than ISIS or Ebola.  He is also a danger to the Russian people.  Yet, they still love him.  Vitaliy Katsnelson has written an excellent article on the Private Portfolio website, proving that — perspective is everything.  Yes, their access to information is … Continue reading Involuntary Mercenaries

On Glory-Hounds

11/17/2014

Much has been written recently about an unwritten code that exists among members of Special Forces, whether Army or Navy.  That code is based on a deep respect for and obligation to your fellow soldiers. Robert O’Neill is a former member of Seal Team Six, who has gone public and taken the glory for killing … Continue reading On Glory-Hounds

Quittin’ Time

11/15/2014

With the executive and legislative branches of our government being utterly useless, if not worse, the role of chief economic caretaker has defaulted to the head of the Federal Reserve System, who is Janet Yellin.  She has two prime directives:  (1) control inflation, and (2) control unemployment. The “trick” is that those two directives can … Continue reading Quittin’ Time

Another Veil To Pierce

11/13/2014

Some of the best advice my father ever gave me was to NEVER talk about religion or politics.  I have rarely strayed into discussing subjects that had political tones and then only when I could do so from a bipartisan, economic perspective.  I have taken his advice on religion and avoid any discussion of it. … Continue reading Another Veil To Pierce

Room To Run

11/12/2014

Five or ten years ago, there were frequent commercials on business TV networks to use “trend-channel investing.”  I always chuckled, as it was just a minor variation of traditional technical investing, which relies solely on chart patterns to determine a stock’s value.  Nonetheless, while I think technical investing is more akin to voodoo investing, I … Continue reading Room To Run

Changing Face of Veterans

11/11/2014

Decades ago, my father observed that some families have veterans and some do not.  Because I could quickly think of a couple of exceptions to this, I dismissed it.  But, over the years, I have found that it is indeed more often correct than incorrect, and I don’t know why. I suppose that parents in … Continue reading Changing Face of Veterans

The Cornered Rat

11/09/2014

Most psychologists believe that a healthy male ego is good for a man.  It makes them more confident, competitive, and committed to doing a good job.  Most women believe a little may be good but too much is awful.  At some point, a healthy male ego can morph into egotism, which is characterized by an … Continue reading The Cornered Rat

Denim Dependency

11/08/2014

Among my many blessings is that I don’t suffer from Denim Dependency.  This dreadful disease is very painful to victims, who experience great pain when their legs are not wrapped in denim.  Apparently, it is quite painful to pull up any pants that are not made of denim. Worse, the disease is spreading wildly.  Victims … Continue reading Denim Dependency

5.8%

11/07/2014

That is the headline — 5.8% unemployment rate last month!  While that’s certainly good, it is not enough of the story.  It is a good story! Total jobs produced last month were 214 thousand, of which 209 thousand were in the private sector, leaving only 5 thousand government jobs being produced.  Certainly, no “make-work” job … Continue reading 5.8%

Improving Cure-All

11/06/2014

All schools of economics believe the magic cure-all for almost everything is productivity growth.  If the rate of inflation is too high, increasing productivity will tame it.  If the national debt-to-GDP ratio is too high, productivity growth will tame it.  It could probably cure the common cold as well? It is one of the most … Continue reading Improving Cure-All

Lowering The Bar

11/06/2014

One of the more perplexing things about our wonderful country is that any fat, undisciplined, under-educated, morally-immune thug has the right to vote, to buy a gun, to own a dog, to become a parent, and to make a living.  If they have the gift of gab, that thug can be promoted to media thug. … Continue reading Lowering The Bar

Getting What We Wish For

11/05/2014

Students of the Weimar Republic invariably remind us that the seeds of the next war are planted in the ashes of the last war.  A fair paraphrasing of that would be:  The seeds of the next defeat are planted in the ashes of the last victory. Now that the Republican Party has full control of … Continue reading Getting What We Wish For

Timing Is Everything

11/05/2014

The more I think about it, the more impressed I become with the Fed’s timing to end quantitative easing (QE).  When they ended QE1, the stock market dropped scarily, and the Fed quickly resumed quantitative easing with QE2.  The stock market soared.  When they ended QE2, the stock market took another ugly spill, and the … Continue reading Timing Is Everything

Jumping the Shark

11/03/2014

In 1977, there was a scene in the popular television show Happy Days where the always-cool “Fonzie” was water-sking in his trademark leather jacket and literally jumped over a shark.  Afterwards, the television show went into decline and soon disappeared into TV history.  But, the phrase has come to mean a “tipping point” in cultural acceptance. … Continue reading Jumping the Shark

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