The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Long Live 2015


As we are ruled, collectively and individually, by time, it is appropriate to mark the end of each year.  Since 1422 when French king Charles VI died and was replaced by Charles VII, the expression of “the king is dead, long live the king” has been used to assure us that the throne is never … Continue reading Long Live 2015

Advice For Your Grandchildren


I have been reading The Kiplinger Letter most of my career and appreciate its optimistic, plain-talk outlook.  They have just published a letter of advice to their grandchildren, and it is excellent.  I recommend giving it to your grandchildren.  You can find it at: 

Paying The Piper


The current president of Turkey is Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  He once said the “democracy is like a streetcar.  When you get to your stop, you get off.”  I’ve wondered about this for a long time. That quote came to mind when reading about the snap election just called in Greece.  The Greeks were arguably the … Continue reading Paying The Piper

Lessons Not Learned From TV


Other than business shows and news shows, there is little I watch on television.  However, in 2007, I became fascinated by a show on CNBC called American Greed.  It described true stories about how innocent people got cheated, usually by a financial advisor running a Ponzi scheme.  At first, I was amazed that investors didn’t … Continue reading Lessons Not Learned From TV

HO HO HO . . . NOT


Congressmen should never be allowed to decorate a Christmas tree, as they would hang or hide the most ugly and most dangerous ornaments both on and under the poor tree! As a minor example, the latest budget bill repealed limits on the number of hours a commercial trucker could work.  As someone who spends way … Continue reading HO HO HO . . . NOT

With Open Arms


Merry  Christmas           and/orHappy  Hanukkah          and/orHappy  Kwanzaa          and/orWarm  WinterFest

Your Homework Assignment


Some have described the U.S. economy as the only clean shirt in the dirty clothes hamper, meaning the rest of the world is in worse shape than we are.   True!  While I wish nothing bad on the people of Russia, their current economic woes do give me some unseemly degree of satisfaction.  And,while I … Continue reading Your Homework Assignment

Human Capital


In survey after survey, we see that the concentration of wealth in fewer people continues to increase.  The latest Pew Research study shows the net worth of the top 20% of Americans doubled from $318,000 in 1983 to $639,400 last year, while it actually dropped for the bottom 20% of Americans from $11,400 in 1983 … Continue reading Human Capital

Waiting At The Altar


Free Enterprise is the happy marriage between the economic system of capitalism and the political system of democracy.  They are a cute couple and look like they belong together, but apparently not everybody agrees. For those of us who worship at the altar of Free Enterprise, we were excited with the introduction of capitalism into … Continue reading Waiting At The Altar

Santa Cheats


Gifted and/or cursed with the “early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” and/or sleepy metabolism, I get to watch the European stock markets open most every morning.  It is like watching the sun come up, where one witnesses renewal of the physical universe, only that I witness renewal of … Continue reading Santa Cheats

Replace or Repair


Conservative pundit Michael Gerson has written an excellent column about the need for compromise in Congress.  Please read: 

Crashes Are Transitory?


Back in 1980, I was doing graduate study in international finance at the University of Dallas when I took a course in the economics of energy (which is not surprising in Texas, I guess).  I learned that oil is the most competitive commodity in the world, as well as the most regulated.  Most of all, … Continue reading Crashes Are Transitory?

The Squid’s 2015 Outlook


Self-esteemed investment bank Goldman Sachs has released their outlook for next year.  In no particular order, they expect: 1.  The S&P will rise to 2,100 over the next three months and stay there for the rest of the year.2.  The European stock markets will rise 12.3% by 2015 year-end.3.  Interest rates will start moving up … Continue reading The Squid’s 2015 Outlook

“Considerable Period”


The friendly wagering on Wall Street last week was whether the phrase “considerable period” would be removed from the language describing the remaining time the Fed will keep interest rates at historic lows.  It is an important distinction. The Street is expecting it to be removed, at the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) this week. … Continue reading “Considerable Period”

An Individual Duty


Senator John McCain is right.  We should renounce all forms of torture and should abide by the Geneva Convention . . . as a nation.  If we are to ever become the “shiny city on the hill” that President Reagan wanted us to be, we must renounce torture and once again embrace.the Geneva Convention . … Continue reading An Individual Duty

Short-Term Pain


You are really, really old if you can remember the TV show entitled The Millionaire.  It ran from 1955 to 1960 and illustrated possible effects on normal, unsuspecting people when they were suddenly given a million dollars, which was an unimaginably huge amount of money at the time.  Some people quit their jobs and therefore … Continue reading Short-Term Pain

What’s Wrong With This?


Quoting from the front page of the December 5th issue of The Kiplinger Tax Letter: The final bill (new tax law) will contain a significant new break for disabled individuals.  Tax-free ABLE saving accounts, similar to 529 college savings plans.  Starting in 2015, states can set up ABLE programs so families can set aside funds … Continue reading What’s Wrong With This?

Austrian Pantsuit


My late mother always told me that name-calling is bad.  She was right, of course, but she was looking at it from an etiquette standpoint.  I think she was also right from an economics standpoint.  If you are going to invest precious resources, like time and effort, into another person, relationship, or situation, then name-calling … Continue reading Austrian Pantsuit

Sunday Thoughts


Construction is a pro-cyclical industry.  That means it makes the business cycle more pronounced.  It makes good times better and bad times worse.  Right now, commercial construction is doing well.  Residential construction is limping along.  But, one area of construction is a drag on the economy. Construction of churches has fallen to the lowest level … Continue reading Sunday Thoughts

Too Good ?


The December “Jobs Report” was better than expected, with 321 thousand jobs being created.  That brings the three-month average up to 278 thousand, which is certainly respectable.  This will likely be the most jobs produced in any one year since 1999.  (Average weekly earnings, reflecting slight higher earnings per hour and a few more hours, … Continue reading Too Good ?

Bulls And Bears Are Different


Every time we have a bull market, there is another study that confirms what a similar study during the last bull market showed, i.e., index-investing out-performs active-investing.  A new study by Lipper shows that 85% of large-cap mutual funds failed to beat the S&P.  A confirming fact is that 2014 saw a record number of … Continue reading Bulls And Bears Are Different



One normally thinks of Europe as a hotbed of left-leaning governments, more concerned with over-work than their budgets.  So, it seems odd to thank them for protecting an old-fashioned American value. For generations, privacy was expected in the U.S.  We had the right to control most information about ourselves and our families.  Then, Google came … Continue reading Ameri-pean?

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