The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Snowing in Hades

08/30/2018

To those poor souls burning in Hell – Rejoice – Snow is coming. Long time readers know my strong feelings about Google (AKA Alphabet).  I have long thought they should be ashamed.  They did NOT say to Americans, in any understandable fashion:  “In return for giving you vast amounts of information on the internet, we … Continue reading Snowing in Hades

More Sunshine Ahead

08/29/2018

Some economic data points tell us how things are today, while others suggest how things will be in the future.  Consumer Confidence is the latter – it hints at the future.  The latest report is the best in seventeen years.  Because two-thirds of GDP is consumer spending, the latest Consumer Confidence report suggests consumer spending … Continue reading More Sunshine Ahead

Wine Talk

08/27/2018

I had an interesting conversation with a fellow retired banker.  He is quite the intellectual, as well as a devout Christian.  The conversation drifted into the difference between long-term and short-term thinking. He explained that his greatest long-term fear is going to Hell, and his short-term tactic to avoid this is to follow the teaching … Continue reading Wine Talk

The Best American

08/26/2018

While I did not always agree with the late Senator John McCain, I always respected him — more than any other elected official.  I knew that nobody in Washington loved this country more than John McCain loved it.  America is a better place because John McCain was here, and that was all he ever wanted! … Continue reading The Best American

Decency Matters

08/26/2018

It was July of 2015 that Donald Trump trashed John McCain the first time.  I was deeply offended at the time that Trump trashed a war hero, a national hero, as well as a personal hero to me.  That was the line in the sand for me — it was then crystal clear to me … Continue reading Decency Matters

NING Trusts

08/25/2018

Tax lawyers must never sleep! In January, the President unfolded his new tax code.  One of the provisions was that deductions for state and local taxes (SALT) became limited to a max of $10 thousand.  This shifted some of the tax burden from Red states to Blue states, as Blue states normally have higher SALT. … Continue reading NING Trusts

Consistent

08/24/2018

If it was wrong then, it is wrong now! I agreed with my Democratic friends that President Clinton didn’t deserve to be impeached for covering up a sexual dalliance between consenting adults. I agree with my Republican friends that President Trump doesn’t deserve to be impeached for covering up sexual dalliances between consenting adults. Yes, … Continue reading Consistent

Not Surprising ?

08/23/2018

The President said the stock market would crash if he was impeached. The stock market hates surprises.  If he was suddenly impeached, the stock market would drop suddenly and scarily, maybe even crash.  But, it is inconceivable the Democrats take the House, form committees and take votes in the dark without anybody knowing.  His impeachment … Continue reading Not Surprising ?

Meaningless Milestone

08/23/2018

The economy cannot read a calendar and does not own a watch.  Neither does the stock market! There is much gnashing of teeth now that the current bull market has become the longest or oldest one since World War II.  Does that mean a crash is imminent?  No!  The current bull market does not know … Continue reading Meaningless Milestone

Definitions Matter

08/21/2018

Webster’s Dictionary has four definitions for the word – truth.  Apparently, there should be a fifth definition — that truth is the opposite of fake truth . . . huh? Rudy Giuliani tells us that “truth isn’t truth” if based on different facts.  Just like there is fake news and non-fake news, there must be … Continue reading Definitions Matter

A “Fair and Balanced” Diet

08/19/2018

Decades ago, television news began as a 30-minute segment in the early evening that simply recited the news of the day unemotionally.  As these programs were so profitable, more news programs appeared over time.  Then, channels developed with 100% news.  To gain viewers, and therefore advertisers, their coverage became increasingly breathless – creating a need … Continue reading A “Fair and Balanced” Diet

Kudos, Mr. President

08/18/2018

President Trump has made a serious proposal that deserves serious discussion.  Currently, companies traded on stock exchanges are required to report their financial condition and certain other changes every quarter or four times annually.  He has proposed that should be changed to every six months or semi-annually. The debate makes for strange bedfellows.  Agreeing with … Continue reading Kudos, Mr. President

Baht –> Ruble –> Lira –> Nope

08/17/2018

Everybody remembers where they were, when Kennedy was murdered or when OJ led the famous white Bronco chase.  Investment strategists and economists have similar memories of the Thai baht and Russian ruble collapse of 1997-1998.  (Remember Long Term Capital Management?)  Their currency problems morphed into a worrisome systemic risk for the entire financial world.  The … Continue reading Baht –> Ruble –> Lira –> Nope

Hard-of-Hearing

08/15/2018

My favorite professor at Wharton was the affable but brilliant Dr. Jeremy Siegel.  His latest commentary said he “does not see this (the Turkey currency crisis) morphing into a world-wide currency crisis.”  I agree! The real significance of this crisis in Turkey is not economic.  It is only 1% of world economy.  There is some … Continue reading Hard-of-Hearing

One More Time

08/15/2018

Another Ponzi scheme was just been disclosed.  This time, it was in my home town of Virginia Beach.  While it was relatively small, less than $5 million, it is a very big problem for the poor investors. Many investors feel they have no way to protect themselves from a Ponzi scheme, but they do!  Find … Continue reading One More Time

Good News and Bad News

08/14/2018

If you are only 0.2% of a sector in the economy but contribute a whopping 40% of the lobbying dollars spent by that sector, does that make your voice a little louder?  Sugar is only 0.2% of the agricultural sector of the economy but produces 40% of the lobbying dollars.  That is obviously the reason … Continue reading Good News and Bad News

Inflation = Economic Bogeyman

08/12/2018

The word “inflation” causes people, who can remember the early 1980’s, to furrow their brow, look down and shake their head.  Those were the years of double-digit inflation.  Our government took several unsuccessful steps to curb inflation.  (Remember the WIN buttons for “Whip Inflation Now”?)  Inflation was high and scary – so scary that one … Continue reading Inflation = Economic Bogeyman

A Collapsing Turkey

08/11/2018

On Friday, the stock market dropped close to 1%.  Was that because corporate earnings had decreased by 1% – of course not.  It was due to a political shock.  Here is the short version:  Turkey has 80 million people but very few natural resources, except for its powerful geography as a bridge to Europe from … Continue reading A Collapsing Turkey

Good Enough for Warren

08/10/2018

On February 27th of this year, one of my heroes, Warren Buffet, said he thought stock prices were “cheap.”   However, back in 2001, he said this (updated) chart was the “probably the best single measure of where valuations stand at any given moment.”  It shows that GDP is now 129.6% of all stocks, compared to the … Continue reading Good Enough for Warren

63%

08/03/2018

Republicans cause deficits by decreasing revenues.  Democrats cause deficits by increasing spending.  President Trump does both. Yesterday, the Treasury Department announced their plans to borrow 63% more in last half of this year, compared to last year. Nobody should be allowed to vote without seeing www.usdebtclock.org  

When Worlds Collide

08/02/2018

When I was doing graduate work at the University of Dallas in international trade, we had to also study cultural distinctions and how such distinctions impact business. For example, never prop your feet up in the presence of Arabs, as showing the sole of your feet is considered dis-respectable. Another example is the importance of … Continue reading When Worlds Collide

Bill, Newt, and The Donald

08/02/2018

Blaming Bill and Newt I believe Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich deserve a good portion of the blame for our poisonous political environment. They accepted the economic advice, from both Republican economists and from Democratic economists, that multi-lateral trade agreements improved the economy of all trading partners. Bill and Newt then ushered NAFTA into existence. … Continue reading Bill, Newt, and The Donald

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