The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

2019 Wish

12/29/2018

I firmly believe there are just as many nice people in the Republican party as the Democratic party.  Conversely, I firmly believe there are just as many jerks in the Democratic party as the Republican party.  But, they live and work in parallel universes.  So do their families. My 2019 wish is for the partisan … Continue reading 2019 Wish

Take That, Chicken Little !

12/28/2018

We barely hit a bear market, which means the market is down 20% from its high.  It is widely assumed that a bear market signals a recession.  Maybe or maybe not! Of the last thirteen bear markets, there was a recession only 7 times.  There was no recession almost half of the time. From the … Continue reading Take That, Chicken Little !

Tech-Dump

12/27/2018

Wall Street pundits have called the current market correction “a collapse without a cause.”  I agree this December collapse has been illogical but no more illogical than the record 1,086 jump in the Dow during one day.  As I type this, Dow futures are down 344 points.  The individual opinions of economists and analysts did … Continue reading Tech-Dump

When ?

12/26/2018

The most common question I’m hearing is — “When will the market stop falling?” What they mean is — “When will the pain stop?” Once investors stop asking when the market will bounce back and start asking when the pain will stop, that is a bullish signal. The answer is — “Not this week!”  Mutual … Continue reading When ?

Wayward Bull ?

12/25/2018

Unfortunately, many parents have had the experience of raising a wayward child.  You spend decades teaching and coaching to the best of your ability.  You are proud of them!  Then, disturbing little signs start to worry you.  Suddenly, she is gone, and you are worried sick.  One day, you see her in the distance, returning home.  … Continue reading Wayward Bull ?

Wayward Bull

12/25/2018

Unfortunately, many parents have had the experience of raising a wayward child.  You spend decades teaching and coaching to the best of your ability.  You are proud of them!  Then, disturbing little signs start to worry you.  Suddenly, she is gone, and you are worried sick.  One day, you see her in the distance, returning home.  … Continue reading Wayward Bull

Who To Believe ?

12/24/2018

Both Fox News and The Wall Street Journal are controlled by the same person, Rupert Murdoch.  Watching Fox News, one gets the clear impression that Americans are resoundingly in favor of the President and his goal of building The Wall along the Mexican border.  However, the newspaper reported that, three years ago, 49% of Americans believed … Continue reading Who To Believe ?

A Pleasant Memory

12/24/2018

As my hair gets whiter and my wrinkles deeper, I find the holiday season less and less interesting. Except for one silly American custom. On Christmas Eve each year, NORAD pretends to track the journey of Santa Claus. They discuss it with great seriousness on television — tongue securely in cheek. NORAD was already doing … Continue reading A Pleasant Memory

Best Loser of 2018

12/23/2018

My favorite stock in 2018 was Facebook (FB) — not because it did well, but because it did poorly,  losing 30% of its value! Early on, I recognized their business model was to sell the privacy of others, albeit with their “consent.”  The need to connect with others was more important than privacy.  The need … Continue reading Best Loser of 2018

Interest Rates — Part Two

12/22/2018

In Part One, we discussed how the supply and demand for bonds impacts interest rates.  In particular, we discussed how Quantitative Tightening (QT) was putting upward pressure on interest rates.  In this part, we’ll discuss how changes in interest rates cause changes in the market value of bonds. Let’s say you bought a new bond … Continue reading Interest Rates — Part Two

Only Human . . .

12/21/2018

If I was under six different investigations and . . . If I worried my kids might go to jail and . . . If people didn’t want to work for me . . . If American banks wouldn’t do business with me and . . . If my allies decided I was unpredictable and … Continue reading Only Human . . .

Interest Rates – Part One

12/20/2018

There are many definitions of interest rates.  One is that interest rates are the price or cost of liquidity.  As liquidity increases, the cost goes down.  (The supply of liquidity is greater than the demand for it.)  As liquidity decreases, the cost goes up.  (The demand for liquidity is greater than the supply of it.) … Continue reading Interest Rates – Part One

mano-a-mano

12/20/2018

Fighting is easy.  Walking away from a fight is difficult. The Federal Reserve is a creature of Congress and can be terminated whenever Congress chooses.  Fortunately, Congress recognizes that independent economic guidance cannot come from either the Executive or Legislative branches of government.  After all, somebody has to guide the economy who cares more about … Continue reading mano-a-mano

The Wall

12/19/2018

I am confident that, if my family depended on it, I would find a way over or under or around or thru any fence.  (Of course, I still remember how to use C-4 plastic explosives, as well as “bangalore torpedos.”)  Assuming that is mere bravado or over-confidence on my part, then a wall on the … Continue reading The Wall

The Wall

12/19/2018

I am confident that, if my family depended on it, I would find a way over or under or around or thru any fence.  (Of course, I still remember how to use C-4 plastic explosive, as well as “bangalore torpedos.”)  Assuming that is mere bravado or over-confidence on my part, then a wall on Mexican … Continue reading The Wall

One More Time ?

12/18/2018

During the global financial crisis of 2007/8, the assessed value of my home starting dropping.  Two years later, it had dropped 29%.  Did I cry?  Did I sell my home?  Did I curse my realtor?  Of course not!  I just waited for it to recover. The S&P 500 has now dropped 11% and is still … Continue reading One More Time ?

Dark Pools

12/14/2018

Let’s say you’re a large pension fund that wants to buy 100,000 shares of Apple.  If you enter such a large BUY order into the market, it would drive the price up.  Of course, you don’t want to pay any more than necessary.  So, what do you do? You enter a “dark pool.”  Large financial … Continue reading Dark Pools

Maintaining Focus

12/13/2018

I parted company from my Republican friends, when they impeached Clinton for lying about sex with a woman. I will part company from my Democratic friends, if they impeach Trump for lying about sex with two women. Sure, there are nuances of differences, but they are only nuances. HOWEVER, if Trump — or any other … Continue reading Maintaining Focus

Dirty Word

12/11/2018

Like most people, economists like to argue.  However, one idea that almost all economists agree with is:  “If you want less of something, tax it.  If you want more of something, subsidize it.” Otto von Bismarck said:  “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best” The president of … Continue reading Dirty Word

Dirty Words

12/10/2018

Like most people, economists like to argue.  However, one idea that almost all economists agree with is:  “If you want less of something, tax it.  If you want more of something, subsidize it.” Otto von Bismarck said:  “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best” The president of … Continue reading Dirty Words

Fox Failed Trump

12/09/2018

When I go to sleep at night, I reluctantly relinquish control of the TV remote.  By then, that poor piece of plastic is exhausted, breathing heavy, and sweating profusely.  That’s because it has been worked so hard — after all, every commercial break requires a channel change. In the never ending search for a balanced … Continue reading Fox Failed Trump

Layers of an Onion

12/08/2018

Many years ago, the mentor of Warren Buffet was Benjamin Graham.  He taught:  “In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.” Colleges teach us that the stock market reflects both current economic conditions and future expectations.  It weighs economic data.  Today, the economic data … Continue reading Layers of an Onion

Importing Trouble

12/06/2018

Inside our country, the stock market has been fretting over the possibility of slowing growth in corporate earnings and GDP, as well as rising interest rates, an ominous yield curve, the trade war, and the perpetual political circus.  As if all that was not enough burden on U.S. investors, we just imported two more – … Continue reading Importing Trouble

Importing Trouble

12/06/2018

Inside our country, the stock market has been fretting over the possibility of slowing growth in corporate earnings and GDP, as well as rising interest rates, an ominous yield curve, the trade war, and the perpetual political circus.  As if all that was not enough burden on U.S. investors, we just imported two more – … Continue reading Importing Trouble

Yield Curve Over-Reaction

12/05/2018

Think of buying a bond like loaning money to a friend.  If he must repay the money tomorrow, there is not much that can go wrong before then.  However, if he must repay you in twenty years, there are many things that could go wrong, and you might not get repaid.  An example would be … Continue reading Yield Curve Over-Reaction

Wrong + Wrong = Right ??

12/04/2018

Democrats did a bad thing!  Back in the 1930’s, they introduced the concept of gerrymandering in Virginia.  Instead of voters picking their legislators, the legislators picked their voters.  Hiding behind the valid concept of redistricting, which is required every ten years following the census, the Democrats packed Republican voters into as few districts as possible.  … Continue reading Wrong + Wrong = Right ??

R.I.P. 41

12/01/2018

There are good Republicans and there are bad Republicans. George H. W. Bush was a great Republican. More importantly, he was a good and decent American, who will be missed. Rest in a well-deserved peace . . .

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