The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Another Slant on a Tired Subject

07/30/2017

I have long believed that the dysfunction in Washington is a reflection of gerrymandering.  It doesn’t matter whether it favors Republicans or Democrats.  What does matter is that it favors extremists over moderates.  A “safe” Republican district is more likely to elect a purist than a competitive Republican district, with the same being true for … Continue reading Another Slant on a Tired Subject

The Zombie Graph

07/29/2017

Dr. William Phillips was a New Zealand-born economist who died in 1975.  However, his name lives on with the famous Phllips Curve, which looks like this: Basically, it says there is an inverse relationship between unemployment and inflation.  If you want to decrease unemployment, all you have to do is increase inflation.  If you want … Continue reading The Zombie Graph

As the Band Played On . . .

07/26/2017

Bob Doll is the Chief Equity Strategist for Nuveen, and I try to study his thinking whenever possible.  His latest weekly commentary remains bullish.  As long as corporate earnings remain positive and consumers remain financial healthy, he sees the bull market continuing. I have mused that, if the “Trump Bump” really existed due to the … Continue reading As the Band Played On . . .

The Peace of Small Sounds

07/23/2017

As I watched my father adjust to his hearing aids, I focused on his embarrassment, the inconvenience, and the cost.  Yesterday, I took a two-hour walk in Seashore State Park and wondered why I did not also focus on the deprivation — he was slowly being deprived of life’s little pleasures.  There are more bird … Continue reading The Peace of Small Sounds

Pence Agenda

07/22/2017

Since the days before air-conditioning, when Wall Street moved en mass to the Hamptons to escape the heat, pundits have been saying “sell in May and move away” until the Fall.  Summer swoons are not unusual.  Given how “hot” the market is now, I have been expecting it to cool off during this Summer.  At the … Continue reading Pence Agenda

More Than A Mere Politician

07/20/2017

There may only be one person in Washington that I truly respect — John McCain — and I am profoundly sad to learn he has an aggressive brain tumor.  Although I’ve never met him, it would be an honor to salute him. There is nothing I can write that is half as poignant as this … Continue reading More Than A Mere Politician

Enigma Solved

07/19/2017

I have been expecting a traditional “summer swoon” in the stock market, especially since the “Trump Bump” no longer exists, if it ever did.  While second quarter earnings have been somewhat stronger than expected, those earnings were not enough greater to justify new market highs, especially during the summer doldrums. When things seem illogical, look … Continue reading Enigma Solved

Land-Lines and Dinosaurs

07/16/2017

Classical economic theory suggests that, as demand for a product decreases, then the price of that product will also decrease.  Why then is the price of land-line telephone services going up? There was a time, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, that early-adaptor American households had a rotary telephone.  As they began putting telephones into … Continue reading Land-Lines and Dinosaurs

Boomers’ Youthful Impression

07/15/2017

Generalizing, the “greatest generation” makes the assumption the economy is weak and weakening, which reflects their youthful impressions during the Great Depression.  Baby-boomers make the assumption that inflation is wracking the economy, which reflects their youthful impressions during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  Millennials/Gen X’ers make the assumption that the economy can never be … Continue reading Boomers’ Youthful Impression

On Cleaning Out

07/14/2017

Dust-bunnies multiply even faster as eyes age.Trash cans are harder to “hit” — or even find.Finding the right file becomes a hunt in the dark.It becomes further to bend over to pick up any droppings. Maybe, dust-bunnies become pets?When does clutter become comforting?One can never have too much paper laying around.Does one ever get over … Continue reading On Cleaning Out

Hiding Behind Statistics

07/06/2017

Long ago, Mark Twain realized that the truth is often hidden by “lies, damn lies, and statistics.”  Of course, he was right then and still is. Jack Bogle is the crusty, venerated founder of investment giant Vanguard Funds.  He has long argued that investment returns are badly hurt by high fees.  Of course, he was … Continue reading Hiding Behind Statistics

Wisdom of Jay Leno

07/04/2017

In 1998, Tom Brokaw permanently branded the generation that fought in World War II as “the greatest generation.”  Given the enormous historical sweep of the war, it is not surprising.  They returned home to parades and hugs. The generation that fought the Korean War went almost un-noticed, dwarfed by the sheer number of World War … Continue reading Wisdom of Jay Leno

07/03/2017

As we approach the 242nd birthday of the Great American Experiment, there is a new study by the Pew Research Group, suggesting that partisan intolerance now exceeds racial intolerance.  One-third of all Democrats would be upset if their child married a Republican, and fully one-half of all Republicans would be upset if their child married … Continue reading

Warren Buffett Is Right

07/02/2017

Bitcoin is a solution in search of a problem.  Warren Buffett called  bitcoin a mirage, urging investors to “stay away.” Railing against the cost, slowness, and open transparency in the international movement of money, bitcoin was one of the original crypto-currencies, which are stateless currencies backed by nothing, not even by bankrupt governments.  They are … Continue reading Warren Buffett Is Right

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