The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

The Best Bad Option

04/29/2017

This week, I sat quietly and listened to several discussions among intelligent people about the Gordian Knot that is North Korea.  Such discussions usually recite a laundry list of things we cannot do, because it would involve the loss of human life.  It seems to me that the loss of human life is inevitable in … Continue reading The Best Bad Option

Wages Up, Healthcare Costs Down?

04/28/2017

As the economy has fairly-steadily improved since the global financial crisis in 2009 and as the stock market has risen nicely since then, worker-pay has remained stubbornly unchanged.  However, the latest data is much more optimistic. The Employment Cost Index has just posted its best quarterly performance since 2007!  Undoubtedly, this reflects the tight labor … Continue reading Wages Up, Healthcare Costs Down?

Changing Dance Partners

04/23/2017

In this country, we tend to see people as members of the Republican Religion or the Democratic Religion.  In other countries, we tend to see people merely as members of the conservatives or the liberals/progressives.  That has been a convenient way to pigeon-hole or label individuals for a long time. But, maybe that is changing? … Continue reading Changing Dance Partners

Faith Restored

04/22/2017

In the 1963 movie of Bye Bye Birdie, there was this wonderful song that begged the question of “what’s the matter with kids today?”  It quickly became a standard refrain asked by grown-ups who are confused by non-grown-ups.  I have heard that particular question asked all my life. I know, kids watch too much television … Continue reading Faith Restored

Does Time Matter?

04/20/2017

It is difficult to complain about something you love and adore, but capitalism has failed us in the pharmaceuticals market.  Republicans reflexively allege this failure is due to too much government influence, while Democrats focus on who should pay for this failure. I am one of the lucky ones.  The Veterans Administration provides my medications … Continue reading Does Time Matter?

Chicken or Egg?

04/19/2017

Along the lines of which of “the chicken or the egg,” does partisan identity precede or follow economic identity?  Are all Keynesian economists Democrats?  Are all Democrats also Keynesians?  Are all Austrian-school economists establishment Republicans?  Are all establishment Republicans Austrian.  Are all Supply-side economists closet Tea Party members? Of course, the key word is “all.” … Continue reading Chicken or Egg?

Briar Patch

04/18/2017

There are thorny problems, and then there is the problem of North Korea, which has enough thorns to be an entire briar patch. The basics are that a young, irrational leader of an small nation who has been tutored to think he can be important to the world only by threatening the U.S. with nuclear … Continue reading Briar Patch

A Fulfiled Prophecy

04/17/2017

In 1949, Robert Merton wrote a book entitled Social Theory and Social Structure.  In it, he coined the expression of “self-fulling prophecy”, which is a prophecy, even a false one, that is made true by the actions of people. For example, the value of a stock reflects supply and demand for that stock.  If Warren … Continue reading A Fulfiled Prophecy

First Quarter Column

04/15/2017

My quarterly column for Inside Business can be found here: http://pilotonline.com/inside-business/news/columns/first-quarter-news-on-economy-stocks-and-impeachment-expert-column/article_901175b6-8dc1-5e88-8b91-88b207fca6e4.html 

Today’s #1 Worry ?

04/12/2017

Stocks are drifting downward.  Gold is drifting upward.  Bond yields are trending lower, as investors seeks to reduce risk.  Why?  Is it just a general sense of unease?  Is it fear of another Syria-type military action?  Is it President Trump? If you look at the price of credit insurance on debt of Korea, you will … Continue reading Today’s #1 Worry ?

Gerrymandering 101

04/11/2017

I have written many times that gerrymandering is a cancer on our body politic.  Originally developed by Democrats, Republicans have now become addicted to it.  It is good for nobody, least of all the voters. An excellent tongue-in-check explanation of it can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-4dIImaodQ  If you are offended by profanity and off-color humor, … Continue reading Gerrymandering 101

Reducing the Fed’s Balance Sheet

04/10/2017

While Wall Street is focused on geopolitical affairs, the Fed is debating something else that deserves more attention — whether or not to decrease the Fed’s balance sheet.  The Libertarian wing of the Republican Party has been highly critical of the Fed for this and insistent that the Fed “deleverage” or sell bonds off its … Continue reading Reducing the Fed’s Balance Sheet

Impeachment Lessons?

04/05/2017

The conventional wisdom about the impact of impeachment on the stock market is that it will be temporary.  After all, the stock market rose 226% during the presidency of Bill Clinton.  My experience tells me the market will sink . . . until it is clear that the President will not be removed from office, … Continue reading Impeachment Lessons?

The Joy of Landing

04/04/2017

I actually enjoy flying on airplanes but hate being in airports, where passengers are stripped of their individuality, forced to draw-between-the-lines, and to follow precise instructions exactly — or else.  Unfortunately there is now another innovation to make air travel even more miserable. John McCain once said the worst part of being in a POW … Continue reading The Joy of Landing

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