The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

A Bloodless War


I was talking with some fellow students of economics.  We started discussing the 0.2% drop in estimates of Q1 GDP growth, but that quickly morphed into a discussion on politics.  With a bunch of economic nerds and with a rich assortment of economic datapoints, why were we talking about politics? As we talked through that, … Continue reading A Bloodless War

President Zuckerberg


Zuckerberg is founder and CEO of tech giant, Facebook.  To my knowledge, nobody ever accused him of being a nice guy.  Still, he was man enough to recognize the intrusion and interference of Russia into both our 2016 election and 2018 election. In May, he convened a meeting in Menlo Park of executives from all … Continue reading President Zuckerberg

Paging Pandora


The opening salvo in this trade war was the immediate rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which I wrote then was a mistake.  The Administration looked only at the raw commercial aspect of the TPP, ignoring its wider significance, especially the economic containment of China.  It was a clear rejection of geo-politics as part of … Continue reading Paging Pandora

Sociological Wisdom ??


James Davison Hunter is a brilliant sociologist at the University of Virginia.  As he is an excellent but prolific writer, I have barely begun reading everything he has produced.  But, my thinking has already started to evolve. There are military wars, and there are culture wars.  Military wars are usually caused by tribal conflicts or … Continue reading Sociological Wisdom ??

“Crucify Your Mind”


Was it a huntsman or a playerThat made you pay the costThat now assumes relaxed positionsAnd prostitutes your loss?Were you tortured by your own thirstIn those pleasures that you seekThat made you Tom the curiousThat makes you James the weak? And you claim you got something goingSomething you call uniqueBut I’ve seen your self-pity showingAs … Continue reading “Crucify Your Mind”

> 100 %


When was the last time you went to:   Go, go look at it now.  There are lots of numbers, all rising rapidly.  Today, focus on two of them in particular.  First, in the upper left, find the national debt, which is now over $21 TRILLION.  Second, near the center, find the Gross Domestic Product, … Continue reading > 100 %

Our Growth “Governor”


I hate to sound like a broken record, but . . . the Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) was up again last month.  This traditionally means there is no recession on the 12-18 month time horizon.  Our economy being propelled by new manufacturing orders, consumer expectations, stock prices, and capital goods. But, there is … Continue reading Our Growth “Governor”

Spread Too Thin ?


Long ago, when I was living in Texas, I read a short book, whose name is now long lost inside my memory.  It speculated on how America would be different if Hitler had won World War II.  Not surprisingly, it described a dystopian America as merely a state of the Ayran Nation.  There would be … Continue reading Spread Too Thin ?

Invisible and Vulnerable


While it is painful to watch the vulnerable children along our southern border, it is at least visible.  Less visible is mistreatment of another vulnerable population, i..e., the elderly.  It doesn’t happen to large groups but to one lonely invisible individual after another. But, did you know that you can be fined between $500 and … Continue reading Invisible and Vulnerable

At Any Cost


It was in Billings, Montana on May 26th, 2016, when the President promised:“We’re going to win. We’re going to win so much. We’re going to win at trade, we’re going to win at the border. We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning, you’re going to come … Continue reading At Any Cost



As 2018 dawned, it looked like we were enjoying synchronized global growth.  The U.S. had led the world out of the recession and now looked forward to the increasing growth in Europe and Asia.  But that didn’t happen.  Instead, the U.S. has gotten stronger, while the others fell further behind. For example, the Chinese central … Continue reading Disappointment

Suicide Mission ?


Republicans abuse Supply-side economics, which argues that a tax cut increases the budget deficit in the short run but decreases the deficit in the long run.  They are hostage to the baseless belief that all tax cuts are beneficial at all times.  Republicans are not aware that a tax cut will not cure the common … Continue reading Suicide Mission ?

Mixed Blessing


Those old enough to remember the U.S. economy during 1970’s will remember the panicky headlines about runaway inflation.  Do you remember the stories about elderly women eating dog food?  Do you remember Gerald Ford’s WIN Campaign, which meant Whip Inflation Now?  Nobody wishes for a return of that level of inflation again! But, a little … Continue reading Mixed Blessing

Braking While Accelerating


Traditionally, increases in interest rates in one country draw money from other countries, seeking the higher rate, which causes the currency of the first country to appreciate and the currency of the second country to depreciate.  For example, to move funds from Japan to the U.S., you have to sell your Yen to buy dollars, … Continue reading Braking While Accelerating

R.I.P. The Right Thing


For far too long, investors have been confused about investment advisors and stockbrokers.  Investment Advisors are just that — stockbrokers are just salesmen.  Stockbrokers have loyalty to their companies.  Investment Advisors have loyalty to their clients.  Also, stockbrokers can charge hidden fees.  Investment Advisors can NOT!  For example, stockbrokers can invest your money into mutual … Continue reading R.I.P. The Right Thing

The 13th Step


I know, I know . . . America is going to pot, and the young Millennials will only make it worse!  They’re lazy know-it-alls.  They eat healthy but don’t attend church?  They even have premarital sex!  I know, I know!  However, they do see one thing clearly — the vileness from the Republican Party and … Continue reading The 13th Step

Friend or Foe


Most people realize their knowledge is limited when discussing stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.  But, everybody thinks they’re an expert on cash, probably because they use it everyday. Our currency says “In God We Trust.”  It does NOT say “In Cash We Trust!”  There is nothing sacred about cash.  It is just another … Continue reading Friend or Foe

Just Say No


I was visiting with one of my Democratic friends, and she said “Scratch any Republican and they will automatically complain about the lamestream media.” The irony of this is that, she said, since the viewership of Fox News exceeds the viewership of CNN and MSNBC – combined – that Fox is now the lamestream media. … Continue reading Just Say No

YTD Snapshots


From time to time, it is useful to look for underlying trends in the market.  Looking at the YTD data through May 31st, it would be hard to miss the impact of two trends, i.e., a possible trade war and the increase in interest rates. The large multinational companies would be more impacted by a … Continue reading YTD Snapshots

More Good News


Today’s “Jobs Report” was simply great.  Headline numbers are: 1.  New jobs created in May was 223 thousand, substantially more than the 188 thousand estimated.2.  The previous two months were revised higher by another 15 thousand jobs.3.  The unemployment rate is only 3.8% – the lowest since the global financial crisis4.  Under-employment (U-6) dropped from … Continue reading More Good News

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