The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Required Viewing


Nobody ever sat at some polished conference table in a gleaming skyscraper in New York City and said “it sure would be fun to collapse the world economy.”  Nobody ever said “I want to see eight million Americans lose their jobs.”  Nobody ever said “the world would be a better place if six million families … Continue reading Required Viewing

Measuring Value


Economics is about the allocation of our limited supply of resources among the unlimited demands for those resources.  Idle resources are viewed as unacceptable, if not downright sinful.  Idle resources are no different than wasted resources. That makes Christmas and other holidays difficult for economists to understand.  Look at all those man-hours of labor that … Continue reading Measuring Value

A Boring Christmas Wish


My Republican friends in Virginia suspect I am a closet Democrat.  My Democratic friends in Maryland suspect I am a closet Republican.  They’re both correct.  The cause of this confusion is my profound belief that gerrymandering is just wrong — no matter who does it.  It is the bane of democracies everywhere. Gerrymandering is the … Continue reading A Boring Christmas Wish

Thank You, Art!


I have never heard an unkind word about Art Cashin, who has worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for well over 50 years — yes, well over fifty years!  Now the director of floor operations for UBS, he knows the old traditions and the new technologies better than anybody I follow. … Continue reading Thank You, Art!

2016 Peek


The real, honest-to-God, know-it-all’s at Goldman Sachs work in their research department, and I value their thoughts.  Here are some of their latest: 1.  GDP growth in the U.S. will slow slightly from 2.4% this year to 2.3% in 2016.  Japan will increase from 0.6% to 1.0%, while Europe will increase from 1.5% to 1.7%, which … Continue reading 2016 Peek

The End Is . . . NOT . . . Near


It was certainly an interesting week on Wall Street.  It began with a stampede of bulls running up stock prices and ended with bears clawing those prices back down . . . violently. To add to Friday’s dramatic sell-off, don’t forget it was an expiration Friday, when most options and futures expire or rollover.  That … Continue reading The End Is . . . NOT . . . Near

Drowning Santa


Finally, the Fed raised interest rates a small amount.  The stock market rallied a few days, as it always does when some uncertainty is reduced.  Now, it has suddenly remembered “oh, yeah, we have that major uncertainty about the energy business.” That uncertainty is not going away anytime soon!  And, without a recovery in energy … Continue reading Drowning Santa

The Official Version


Recently, I wrote about a moving memorial service for a unsung fallen hero buried in Quantico and have received numerous kind comments from readers.  Since then, the CIA has posted their own description, and you can find it here: 

Go, Fed, Go . . . please!


Wall Street is just atwitter over the Fed raising interest rates tomorrow — for the first time in nine years.  (Back then, millions of current investors could not even find Wall Street on a New York City map.)  Five years ago, three years, and even last year, Wall Street was terrified of a rate increase, … Continue reading Go, Fed, Go . . . please!

Springtime At Christmas ?


It is probably too early to find long-lost hope, but there is something good going on in Washington.  With all the drama of the stock market and the pressure of the holiday season, you may not have noticed that two significant pieces of legislation have passed and been signed by the President, plus the predicted … Continue reading Springtime At Christmas ?

No More Good News, Please


Who doesn’t like low gas prices at the pump?  Economists get positively giddy at the increased discretionary income for consumers, when they pay less at the pump.  But, enough already!  At some point, the long term damage exceeds the short term pleasure.  Take a look at this chart: There has been a decisive breakout to … Continue reading No More Good News, Please

In A Time of Dudes


Yesterday, about thirty people gathered around a grave site in a remote section of Quantico National Cemetery, south of Washington, D.C.  Each drank one can of Bud Light beer and then scattered back to their individual lives.  It was a wry, fond tribute to an unknown American hero, Gregory Wright.  I suspect he would have … Continue reading In A Time of Dudes

Whistling Past The Crime Scene


If it is hard to walk and chew gum at the same time, how difficult must it be to walk, chew gum, and whistle at the same time? After the latest mass killing, the predictable Democratic response has been to put some control over gun availability.  That, of course, is correct.  The predictable Republican response … Continue reading Whistling Past The Crime Scene

Welcome Back, Mr. Spock


The popular Executive Officer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise in the classic Star Trek was Mr. Spock.  He was known for his faithful worship of logic – the more pure, the better.  I expect he sold all his stock holdings long ago and got out of the market.  It became too illogical for him in 2008. … Continue reading Welcome Back, Mr. Spock

Burying Seeds


For most people, the 2008/9 Global Financial Crisis was a bad dream.  For those in the investment business, it was a nightmare.  So many things went wrong.  Modern Portfolio Theory failed.  It was useless, and we were dangerously close to a systemic failure of the financial system, like 1929. The Fed rose to the occasion … Continue reading Burying Seeds

Yawning At The Yuan


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has decided to include the Chinese currency (known as the Yuan) as the world’s newest reserve currency.  In the short run, this should have a mild bullish effect on their currency and mild bearish effect on the euro.  In the long run, it has little economic significance.  However, it does … Continue reading Yawning At The Yuan

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