Pound for pound, Janet Yellen is arguably one of the most powerful leaders in the world. Twenty-five months ago, this diminutive economist became Chairman of the Federal Reserve, succeeding Ben Bernanke. One of his priorities was increased transparency for the Fed, by encouraging Board members to give speeches and to stimulate intellectual discussion. Of course, … Continue reading From Small Packages
The Flinchum FileThoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
As a teenager, one of my role models was “Mr. Spock” of the TV series Star Trek. He tried to lead an emotion-free life. As silly as it sounds, I thought of him often when serving in the Army. The facts are facts, and emotions are emotions, and never the twain shall meet — works … Continue reading A Too-Quick Two Years
As a longtime member of the National Association of Business Economics (NABE), I closely follow their “Outlook Survey,” which surveys 48 professional forecasters. The latest one is reassuring. While the media always frets that a recession is imminent, NABE’s forecasters do not. Most don’t expect one before 2018 – another two years. (15% don’t expect … Continue reading Steady As She Goes
My 93-year-old father has voted in twenty-three straight Presidential elections. As a young soldier in France, he voted for the first time in 1944, for Franklin Roosevelt. Recently, he wrote me that “I have never seen a Presidential election as cruel and ugly as this one.” That was before the wife-smearing. Some historians recite ugly … Continue reading Perspective Is Everything
It is easy to love my country . . . warts and all. It always remains a land of great beauty, great opportunity, and mostly great people. It is NOT easy to love the stock market. A perennial heart-breaker, it is wildly unpredictable. But, sometimes I do love it anyway . . . I think. … Continue reading Confusing Love and Pride
A geriatric psychiatrist, Dr Marc Agronin, wrote an interesting article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal about the current generation of senior citizens. Because they are “healthier, heartier, and richer” than previous generations, numerous surveys have shown Americans are happier when they get old, with thanks largely to the current entitlements and the previously-common pensions. My take … Continue reading Wrong Bucket List?
As someone who has long held more than a passing interest, I applaud President Obama for opening relations with Cuba.As someone who remembers President Nixon opening relations with China in 1972, a truly historic foreign policy achievement, I deplore the media for its breathless coverage of the Cuba opening.Of course, breathless does sell advertising . … Continue reading Making the Sale
Traditionally, Saudi Arabia has been the “swing producer” of oil. If the price of oil was so high that it was hurting its customers, Saudi Arabia could increase production enough to lower market prices. If the price of oil was so low it was hurting the oil producers, as it is now, then Saudi Arabia … Continue reading A Step Forward
During this short year, the stock market has already completed a scary drop into correction territory (down 10%) and has now almost fully recovered. This was not the first rodeo for any of us. In fact, it is almost second-nature by now for me to calm my clients and to keep their eyes on the … Continue reading When Wrong Is Right
Last December, the Fed raised interest rates a quarter-point and predicted they would raise rates four more times in 2016. I predicted they would not. Yesterday, the Fed had their first opportunity to raise rates this year and did not. In addition, they predicted they would raise rates only two times this year, not four. … Continue reading Fed-Effects
When thinking about my 2016 forecast last December, I was aware of the inverse relationship between uncertainty and the stock market, i.e., as uncertainty increases, the stock market goes down. In addition, history tells us that the market is quite choppy the first half in years having a Presidential election but usually ends the year … Continue reading June 23rd
When President Bush appointed his aide, Kevin Warsh, to the Board of Governors of the Fed, I was less than impressed. Despite being educated at Stanford and Harvard, he was a lawyer, not an economist. (Who needs more lawyers?) Press coverage at the time suggested his wife’s wealthy family were substantial contributors to securing this … Continue reading A Needed Hypothetical Discussion
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