The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Made Food Great Again


Sara Grillo is one of my favorite financial writers. In her most recent, she discusses how convenient it is for commission-paid salesmen of life insurance, annuities and long-term care insurance to emphasize how much longer people can live. These salesmen prey upon the “worst-case” fear of not dying. She goes on to point out that … Continue reading Made Food Great Again

Nervous Supply Siders


One important measure of how you are doing financially is the size of your pay check. That’s no different than economists looking at changes in the Gross Domestic Production or GDP. For the second quarter of this year, GDP grew at a 4.1% rate, which is good — real good, in fact. It was the … Continue reading Nervous Supply Siders

No Offense Intended


Let’s say I want to control my group or tribe or nation.  I could use charisma, or I could use force, or I could use religion.  I may not have the needed charisma, which is a fickle thing anyway.  I could use force, but killing is just wasting those economic assets known as humans.  But, … Continue reading No Offense Intended

Park Thoughts


During long walks in First Landing State Park, I enjoy listening to the podcasts of Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner.  He uses economic reasoning to focus on mundane subjects and always interviews experts on the subject.  Today, it was the question of “choking” or failing to perform when under pressure. It was not surprising that intelligent people … Continue reading Park Thoughts

Coming Home To Roost


If you need another reason to be disappointed at our form of government, remember this: Back in the early 1990’s, Congress was considering the proposed North America Free Trade Association (NAFTA).  A steady stream of economists testified in many different hearings before Congress on the benefit of globalization in general and the principle of comparative … Continue reading Coming Home To Roost

Kudos to Trump


Initial Jobless Claims have not been this low since 1969.  There are actually more job openings than job seekers.  The problem is obviously that the job seekers don’t have the skills that employers need. Quietly, behind the scenes, Ivanka Trump has corralled fifteen large employers to pledge in writing to increase skill training, by expanding apprenticeships, … Continue reading Kudos to Trump

Favorite Market Strategist


One of my long-time favorite market strategists is Dr. Jeremy Siegel from Wharton.  His latest commentary shows his belief that the stock market would jump 10% – if the trade wars would suddenly end. That is consistent with my belief that the market has moved sideways all year, even though corporate earnings continue to rise … Continue reading Favorite Market Strategist

Flatter Yield Curve — Who Cares?


Wall Street Wags are fretting about the “flat yield curve” but fail to mention that such a yield curve has accurately predicted 14 of the last 7 recessions. First, the yield curve is the difference between interest rates on 2-year Treasury bonds and 10-year Treasury bonds.  Longer term rates are higher than short term rates … Continue reading Flatter Yield Curve — Who Cares?



Many pundits are going crazy, trying to figure out the relationship between Trump and Putin.  One even remarked that their relationship is the greatest mystery of this century.  Actually, I think the answer can be found with Trump’s shock when he learned that Vice President Pence had never earned more than $200 thousand a year … Continue reading Wealth-Worship

Sugar Man


Sugar man, won’t you hurry‘Cos I’m tired of these scenesFor a blue coin won’t you bring backAll those colors to my dreams Silver magic ships you carryJumpers, coke, sweet Mary Jane Sugar man met a false friendOn a lonely dusty roadLost my heart when I found itIt had turned into a dead black coal Silver … Continue reading Sugar Man

Fear Not Inflation


Let’s assume you get a 100% VA mortgage for a new house.  Let’s further assume that, ten years later, your mortgage is down to $80 thousand, and your home is now worth $125 thousand.  Originally, the loan-to-value of your mortgage was 100%.  But, that dropped to a much safer 64% ten years later (80/125).  My … Continue reading Fear Not Inflation

A Lesson From Tragedy


Since my father told me about his experience in World War II, seeing a freshly liberated Nazi concentration camp, I have been very interested in the Holocaust.  Recently, I had the opportunity to tour the Richmond Holocaust Museum, which I highly recommend.  While I am steeped in the horrible atrocities committed against the Jews, I’ve … Continue reading A Lesson From Tragedy

T – I – G – H – T


In your lifetime, how many times have there been more job openings than people looking for jobs? Today, there are 6.6 million unfilled job openings and only 6.0 million people looking for work.  More precisely, there are 6.6 million openings for skilled workers and 6.0 million unskilled job applicants.  The “skills gap” has never been … Continue reading T – I – G – H – T

Two Special Places In Hell


Few of us maintain our mental sharpness until the end.  Mental fuzziness should be a final luxury at the end of life, not open season to be preyed upon.  Unfortunately, I just read about yet another Ponzi scheme, stealing $102 million from about 600 seniors in Florida, and I hope there is a special place … Continue reading Two Special Places In Hell

Prayers To Thailand


Although I seldom do it anymore, I have been a scuba diver for most of my life.  In 1975, I had the opportunity to dive a cave off the Suwannee River in the Florida Panhandle.  That was enough to convince me that cave diving is vastly more difficult and dangerous than regular open water diving.  … Continue reading Prayers To Thailand



Q.  Do I believe the Russians tried to influence our 2016 elections?A.  Yes Q.  Do I believe it was authorized by President Putin?A.  Yes Q.  Do I believe Putin wanted to help candidate Trump?A.  It was far more important to Putin that Clinton lost.. Q.  Why did Putin hate Clinton so much?A.  He believes she … Continue reading Parsing

Q2 Column


To read my latest column for Inside Business, go to: 

Oversold ?


According to Goldman Sachs, the smartest people on Wall Street work at Goldman Sachs.  Indeed, their research department actually deserves that accolade.  Their latest analysis suggests commodities will benefit strongly from the stronger dollar.  More significantly, they believe there is too much angst over the current trade war, calling such fears “oversold.”  I hope they … Continue reading Oversold ?

The Courage To Be Free


There are economic systems, and there are political systems.Examples of economic systems include capitalism and socialism.Examples of political systems include democracy and dictatorship.Of course, there are degrees of each. The combination of capitalism and democracy is called free enterprise.The combination of socialism and dictatorship is called communism.You can have the combination of capitalism and dictatorship, … Continue reading The Courage To Be Free

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