It is not news that governments give out very generous pension plans. Such generosity was originally considered a trade-off for relatively low wages compared to non-government workers. That may have been a nice gesture then, but there are consequences now. To pay the pensions, governments put aside a certain amount of money each year to … Continue reading Thinking The Unthinkable
The Flinchum FileThoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
I like guns and have lots of them. Except when I travel by air, I am never without one. Nonetheless, I believe this Second Amendment cult is stupid. A country like Switzerland was safer, because veterans were encouraged to keep their rifles when they were discharged from military service. A country like the United States … Continue reading A Gun-Free Death ?
Readers will remember my concern in January that a major player in the derivatives market (Glencore) was floundering, which was increasing the possibility of systemic risk — a “Jim Fixx” event of sudden collapse. Fortunately, the commodities giant was able to quickly sell enough assets to reduce their derivatives exposure, and their stock has doubled … Continue reading Twice-In-One-Year?
I never met the man but always knew it would be an honor to simply shake his hand. Long before anybody named Tiger ever picked up a golf club, Arnold Palmer had already popularized the sport of golf. But, he will not be remembered primarily for his golf ability. He will be remembered for his … Continue reading R.I.P. Arnie
There is a lot of conversation these days about negative interest rates, something that Europe and Japan are experimenting with. So, should the Fed take our interest rates down, like Europe and Japan, rather than up? NO! This reminds me of a situation where you are digging a hole deeper and deeper, while your partner … Continue reading Shoveling Truce
As you listen to the presidential debates on Monday, recall the website www.usdebtclock.org — go look at it now! Remember that our national debt is rapidly approaching $20 TRILLION. Remember that our debt-to-GDP ratio is 105% – a traditional “point-of-no-return.” Remember that there are about 4 million fewer workers now, compared to 2000, without assuming … Continue reading Viewer’s Guide
I have told this story before but, with less than 50 days until the election, it is worth telling again. One of the most important things my father taught me was at age 13 when I was a paperboy. I had just finished delivering all the newspapers and was pedaling my bike back home, when … Continue reading One More Time . . .
If your stockbroker seems more worried and harassed than usual, show some kindness to him/her. They are stewing in a witch’s brew of increased regulation and decreased understanding of their job. One of the changes in the Dodd-Frank bill was that the SEC was charged with task of developing rules so that stockbrokers could be … Continue reading Stockbrokers Need Love Too
Jimmy Buffett – Growing Older But Not Up Lyrics I rounded first never thought of the worstAs I studied the shortstop’s positionThen crack went my leg like the shell of an eggSomeone call a decent physicianI’m no Pete Rose, I can’t pretendWhile my mind is quite flexibleThese brittle bones don’t bendI’m growing older but not upMy … Continue reading Mere Lyrics . . . or something more?
I attended a lecture by a Republican lobbyist yesterday, who said, regardless of who wins the White House . . . America loses. (She did not say how she would vote.) But, she did provide an interesting historical perspective. She started showing graphs of the polarization of Congress, between extreme Republicans and extreme Democrats. Then, … Continue reading A Republican Lobbyist Speaks . . .
Normally, during my all-too-frequent hunting trips for continuing-education-credits, I search out lectures on economics and investing – you know, things I actually care about. However, in the last few years, others have become more interested in the “softer” side of investing, called behavioral finance. It is well known that investors damage their investment performance by … Continue reading The Softer Side of . . .
When I taught the junior-level Economics of Money and Banking at the University of Texas in Arlington during the last century, I taught that the economic function of banks was to allocate credit across the economy effectively and efficiently. Credit is like any other resource and cannot be wasted. When someone takes bankruptcy and doesn’t pay … Continue reading The Decline of Banking
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