The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Surveillance Capitalism


When cigarette companies report record profits, do you celebrate that they are selling so many cigarettes and that more people are getting lung cancer?  Of course not! Yet, that is the way I see the record profits reported yesterday by Facebook and other tech giants.  Does anybody say it’s really great that more privacy is … Continue reading Surveillance Capitalism

Waning Confidence ?


Did you ever wonder about the relationship between the economy and the elected children in Washington?  Of course, you did! Normally, consumer confidence increases as the job market improves.  However, even with a continuing good job market. consumer confidence has fallen for three straight months.  This is unusual.  Three months ago, consumer confidence was approaching … Continue reading Waning Confidence ?

Co-Equal Evil


I respect and appreciate whatever religion, spiritual faith, or philosophy that helps a person to find meaning or serenity in life.  Recently, I took an elderly person to their church, as they were too feeble to attend by themselves.  While I would never jump up to interrupt a service in anybody’s church, it was difficult … Continue reading Co-Equal Evil

Misplaced Passion ?


Feelings are intense about building the Trump Wall, and will remain that way.  But, keep the money in focus! Our national debt is approaching $22 TRILLION.  If interest rates increase a mere one-quarter of one percent on that debt, it will cost us another $55 billion each year. If we would shut down the government … Continue reading Misplaced Passion ?

Chugging Along Nicely


Generally speaking, increasing money supply causes prices to rise.  “Too many dollars chasing too few goods” is widely accepted as inflationary.  So, after the enormous injections of money by the Fed since The Great Recession, why is there still so little inflation?  A year ago, I wrote there are signs that inflation is breaking out.  … Continue reading Chugging Along Nicely

Half-Empty ?


Despite repeatedly failing the physical exam, I have often been called with a girl’s name of Pollyanna, due to my natural optimism.  Glasses are always half-full, not half empty.  Probably, that optimism derives from my undying love of country, my naive love of democracy, my enormous respect for capitalism or my well-studied belief in globalization.  … Continue reading Half-Empty ?

R.I.P. Jack Bogle


The three greatest names in investment history are Benjamin Graham, Harvey Markowitz, and Jack Bogle. Benjamin Graham literally wrote the original ground-breaking book on Security Analysis in 1934.  He advocated the accounting or fundamental approach to investing.  You must know all the details of the company’s financial statements.  You must interview management, as well as the … Continue reading R.I.P. Jack Bogle

Strange Bedfellows


I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Jeremy Siegel of the Wharton School, but I have zero respect for Goldman Sachs.  Yet, they agree that there will be a significant economic slowdown in 2019 — but NO recession.  They also agree that 2019 faces unusually great political and geopolitical risks, which could easily … Continue reading Strange Bedfellows

On The Other Hand . . .


One of my favorite thought-leaders is Bob Doll of Nuveen.  He has written six reasons for optimism in 2019 and six reasons for pessimism in 2019.  The six reasons he is optimistic are as follows, with my thoughts in parenthesis: 1.  The economy may be slowing but doesn’t appear headed for recession (Agreed) 2.  Likewise, … Continue reading On The Other Hand . . .

Code of Ethics


The CFP Board regulates Certified Financial Planners (r) professionals like myself.  They provide the Code of Ethics, which we are required to follow.  The latest version says:   1.  Act with honesty, integrity, competence, and diligence. 2.  Act in the client’s best interest. 3.  Exercise due care. 4.  Avoid or disclose and manage conflicts of … Continue reading Code of Ethics

Rare Agreement?


It is not everyday that both Republicans and Democrats will agree with Maxine Waters, the new fiery Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services.  Among other agencies, her committee is responsible for the Securities & Exchange Commission, which has furloughed a whooping 94% of its employees.  There are now less than 300 employees responsible … Continue reading Rare Agreement?

Flip A Coin ?


Do you remember the “great dress controversy” in 2015 when a dress appeared to be two different colors.  My wife and I sat next to each other and looked at the dress on TV.  We saw the same dress but each of us saw it in a different color.  I thought it was blue & … Continue reading Flip A Coin ?

Brother & Sister


Everybody knows there is a difference between the economy and the stock market, but they are so closely related – think brother & sister – closely related but still different.  Wearing my economist hat, I see good data points follow good data points.  Yes, the most recent ISM reports slipped slightly but are still very … Continue reading Brother & Sister

Paging Apollo . . . nope!


In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the daughter of the King of Troy.  Legend says she had dark brown curly hair and coal brown eyes.  By all accounts, she was extremely beautiful.  In fact, the god Apollo fell in love with her beauty and wanted her as a lover.  They agreed he would give her the … Continue reading Paging Apollo . . . nope!

Wisdom of Vikings


The stereotype of an existentialist is that of a nerdy, 98-pound weakling who contemplates his navel or broods endlessly about death.  However, existentialists see ourselves as intellectual free spirits, untethered to many burdensome conventions.  The death cult characterization is unfair and stems from our casual attitude toward death.  After all, how can death be important … Continue reading Wisdom of Vikings

Big BAD Data


If there was even a remote prospect that you could do something to help a sick child, how could you NOT do it?  That’s one of the promises of Big Data – the more data that is analysed, the more we can learn about science and medicine, the more we can help future people.  Seems … Continue reading Big BAD Data

tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .


A surprisingly small percentage of people serve in the military, and an even smaller percentage actually experience the horror of war face-to-face.  For others, war can be clean, antiseptic, and even academic. Yesterday, Apple announced that their revenues were suffering due to the trade war.  Suddenly, a trade war is no longer clean, nor antiseptic, … Continue reading tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .

Good Job, Mr. President


I agree with the President’s new Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, who famously said “Trump is a terrible human being.”  However, the devil does deserve his due. For decades, China has abused trading relationships with everybody, not just the U.S.  Being reasonable men, Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama  assumed that China … Continue reading Good Job, Mr. President

Wanted: Another Pentagon


Along with sixty thousand of my closest friends, I had the pleasure of watching the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants in the Meadowlands.  However, whenever there was a change of possession, I noticed there was a lot of just standing around by the players on the field.  To my economist eyeball, that represented … Continue reading Wanted: Another Pentagon

2019 Interest Rates


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