The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Still NOT Different This Time

06/29/2017

A respected Wall Street analyst just predicted the Dow would end the year at 27,000.  This would require 25% growth in six months.  I cannot quite get my head around that. For the nerds out there, the formula most commonly used to forecast the stock market is to multiply  earnings-per-share (EPS) times the price-earnings (PE) … Continue reading Still NOT Different This Time

Repealing A Foundation

06/26/2017

What would happen if they repealed laws under cover of darkness and didn’t tell anybody? When I learned economics, one “law” was that  there was a relationship between unemployment and inflation.  It was a trade-off.  If you wanted less unemployment, you had to accept more inflation and vice versa — if you wanted less inflation, … Continue reading Repealing A Foundation

One Kudo, Mr. President.

06/25/2017

My parents worked for the Federal government.  One was a good, conscientious worker, who received multiple promotions.  The other felt that any minimal effort was “good enough for government work.”  I am intimately familiar with both perspectives. The Veterans Administration has about 350 thousand employees.  I don’t think of 50% of VA employees are useless … Continue reading One Kudo, Mr. President.

Mind Maintenance

06/24/2017

Philosophies can be described as overly-intellectualized coping strategies or ways to deal with the world and other people.  Maybe.  My intellectual drug-of-choice has long been existentialism, which sees the world through the prism of absurdity.  I have read many books on the philosophy, some were good and some were awful.  Still, it colors my views.Recently, … Continue reading Mind Maintenance

A Spade

06/19/2017

According to Wikipedia:  “Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.”I would only add one word . . . Airlines … Continue reading A Spade

Little Lessons

06/17/2017

I was a teenager when I read Leon Uris’ classic Exodus, about the Holocaust survivors making their way to Israel and building their own nation.  Though it was fiction, I enjoyed the story and learned a great deal of history. As a young veteran when the Yom Kippur war between Israel and Egypt broke out … Continue reading Little Lessons

Cause vs. Symptom

06/15/2017

While I wish a full and speedy recovery, both physically and psychologically, for those victims of yesterday’s horrific attack on Republican politicians as well as their families, I also hope this tragedy will jump-start a discussion on our worsening inability to disagree. Some see the attack as another example of our gun problem.  One sarcastic … Continue reading Cause vs. Symptom

Interest Rates 101

06/14/2017

A reader asked why Wall Street obsesses constantly about interest rates?  Whenever the Fed changes interest rates, they only do it by a quarter point, so what’s the big deal? Simple question?  Yes.  Simple answer?  No!  Entire text books have been written on interest rates, but here are a few factoids. Interest rates determine the … Continue reading Interest Rates 101

A Foreign Perspective

06/13/2017

When the President withdrew the United States from the Paris Accord on Global Warming, he understandably argued that the U.S. had tougher goals than China, which is the world’s greatest polluter.  Why shouldn’t they have the tougher goals?  It is a good argument. From the Chinese perspective, the U.S. has historically been the world’s greatest … Continue reading A Foreign Perspective

Mental Health Advice

06/10/2017

For some years, I have advocated a “news-free” day.  Most of us keep close tabs on the news provided by our favored news source.  Of course, it is essential to gather news from those news sources that both agree AND disagree with your point of view.  However, it is also important to maintain perspective.  To … Continue reading Mental Health Advice

Soothsaying 101

06/07/2017

I have been a member of the National Association of Business Economists for many years and always read their quarterly survey of members.  Here are some of their latest forecasts: 1.  There has been a minor slowing of economic activity.  Despite a weak Q1, they expect Q2 to bounce back with a 3.1% growth rate. … Continue reading Soothsaying 101

Crossing My Fingers

06/06/2017

Dr. Jeremy Siegel of Wharton has long been one of my favorite thought-leaders.  His comments on the latest Jobs Report are that it was a disappointment, as the number of jobs created was less than expected.  Plus, there were downward revisions to two previous months.  (Still, unemployment at 4.3% is at a 16-year low,).  He … Continue reading Crossing My Fingers

The Dollar Matters

06/05/2017

Following the December increase in interest rates, the dollar has increased in value, which makes dollars more expensive to buy for foreigners and makes the goods of foreigners cheaper for Americans for buy. The data on the April trade data has just been released, and the stronger dollar shows up clearly, as Americans bought more … Continue reading The Dollar Matters

20 Years Wasted

06/02/2017

Since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, diplomats have been negotiating a treaty to limit carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  I’m proud to say that those long, tedious negotiations were led by the United States, which produced a treaty acceptable to 195 nations.  Yesterday, we abdicated that leadership role, in favor of China and Russia. Ronald … Continue reading 20 Years Wasted

Let Us Pray . . .

06/01/2017

Well, I’m not a scientist — the argument always begins that way — but I don’t need to be a scientist to stick my nose close to the exhaust pipe on my car and know I don’t like the air coming out of it.  It would be hard for me to ever believe such nasty … Continue reading Let Us Pray . . .

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