The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

The Wharton Wizard


Dr. Jeremy Siegel of Wharton has long been one of Wall Street’s most respected investment strategists.  His track record is most impressive indeed.  His recent commentary reconciles a rising stock market with weakening profits.  He believes the suddenly dovish Fed is propping up the stock market in the face of those weakening profits.  Plus, he … Continue reading The Wharton Wizard

A French Connection


A longtime reader from France concurred with my recent blog on the ethical issues surrounding Facebook and added these interesting comments. > Since college days, I have believed that at the turn of last century, the American social contract had been broken, meaning that the “robber barons” and “captains of industry” had stolen the American … Continue reading A French Connection

Control, Please?


As an existentialist, I know how important privacy is. Long after I concluded that Facebook is the most UnAmerican company, new details have emerged.  We have just learned that Facebook pays App developers to include an analytic tool called “App Events”, which notifies Facebook of details in a person’s life.  For example, if you use … Continue reading Control, Please?

Small Cracks


Some cracks are appearing in our economy.  Orders for durable goods, especially of core capital goods, have slowed more than expected.  Industrial production has slowed for two straight months.  The Philly Fed Index has dropped into correction territory.  While there is no cause for alarm, there is some cause for concern. Three years ago, in … Continue reading Small Cracks

DUMB News !


Yesterday, Venezuela was circling the drain.  Britain was tiptoeing to the precipice of Brexit.  Putin threatened the U.S. if we put missiles in Europe.  Trump continued to push China on Trade.  Italy moved closer to bankruptcy.  Genocide continued  in Myanmar.  And, so on . . . So, why did the media focus on some TV … Continue reading DUMB News !

Don’t Do It !


During the last Presidential Administration, Republicans definitely suffered from “Obama Derangement Syndrome.”  Showing stupidity knows no labels, Democrats are now suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”  Just as two wrongs don’t make a right, two stupid attitudes don’t make any sense. Based on an ambiguous 1973 memo, it has been assumed that a sitting President could … Continue reading Don’t Do It !

In Praise of Cigarette Companies


Which American company do I trust the least:  Cigarette companies which merely peddle death or Big Tech, like Facebook or Google, which merely shred privacy.  Cigarette companies have labels admitting their product may cause death and misery.  Facebook and Google don’t admit there are any bad effects from selling personal information about you to strangers.  … Continue reading In Praise of Cigarette Companies



Recognizing the stock market and the economy are two different things, I am more worried about the stock market this year than the economy, and here’s why: First, automated trading by algorithms is already well over 70% of all trades on the NYSE.  Some estimates are as high as 90%.  There is nothing inherently dangerous … Continue reading 2019

Brother & Sister


It’s easy to confuse the stock market with the economy.  They are clearly related but still different.  I have compared them to a brother and sister — related but different. Another comparison is to an aircraft carrier and a fighter jet.  The economy is big and lumbering, like an aircraft carrier.  It does not change … Continue reading Brother & Sister

Longevity Paradox


I attended a lecture on this recently and keep thinking about it.  The paradox is that we are living longer but clueless what to do with the extra time.  I know one person whose driving ambition in life was to NOT work.  He is now 95 years old and would be happy to NOT work … Continue reading Longevity Paradox

Hotels and Humans


I’ve had the good fortune to stay in four & five star hotels in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.  Of course, there are always favorite hotels  One of mine has been the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood. FL.  Fifteen years ago, I described it as one of the best hotels in the … Continue reading Hotels and Humans

Mass Personalization


In 1893, the closed-end fund (CEF) was invented, and financial advisors said “this is better than sliced bread.” In 1924, the mutual fund was invented, and financial advisors said,”this is better than sliced bread.” In 1984, the exchange traded fund was invented, and financial advisors said “this is better than sliced bread.” Recently, “mass personalization” was invented, … Continue reading Mass Personalization

“Mass Personalization” ?


In 1893, the closed-end fund (CEF) was invented, and financial advisors said “this is better than sliced bread.” In 1924, the mutual fund was invented, and financial advisors said,”this is better than sliced bread.” In 1984, the exchange traded fund was invented, and financial advisors said “this is better than sliced bread.” Recently, “mass personalization” … Continue reading “Mass Personalization” ?

“The Useless Class” ?


Ask an economist what determines growth in GDP, he/she will tell you it depends on productivity growth and growth in the labor force.  That’s the reason so many economists support increased immigration. While I had not yet read “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari, I have already ordered it from Amazon and … Continue reading “The Useless Class” ?

Less Confident?


Normally, we look at changes to the stock market that result from changes in the economy.  However, the economy can be changed by what happens on stock market. In the fourth quarter, the Small Business Confidence Index reached an all-time high.  As long as confidence is high, business is more likely to hire additional workers, … Continue reading Less Confident?

Real Courage


According to the Vikings, there are many types of courage.  There is courage on the battlefield.  There is the courage to be ethical in the real world.  There is the courage to be painfully honest with friends.  There is the courage to stand up for your religious belief, as well as non-religious beliefs.  But, the … Continue reading Real Courage

Good For The Gander ??


In the third grade, I was picked for the role of Uncle Remus in the school play, due to my heavy southern accent.  I appeared in blackface. In the eighth grade, I was a member of the Key Club, which performed the Can-Can for the entire school.  I appeared in a dress. Why do my … Continue reading Good For The Gander ??

Air Pocket Ahead


There are numerous pithy sayings about history, e.g., “Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it” — or, “history may not repeat itself, but at least it rhymes.” There are also pithy sayings about market timing on Wall Street, e.g., “So goes January, so goes the year” — or, “the safest year of a … Continue reading Air Pocket Ahead

100 Straight . . .


For a record-breaking 100 straight months, which is long before President Trump took office, the American economy has been producing jobs – lots of them!  Last month, we produced a whopping 304 thousand jobs and have averaged 234 thousand a month for the past twelve months.  Also, individual earnings are up, and more workers are … Continue reading 100 Straight . . .

R.I.P. Ralph


For the next day or so, Ralph Northam is still the governor of Virginia.  While we are not friends and he does not know my name, we have met several times and kidded each other about marrying girls from Texas.  I know him only as a nice guy and a veteran who cared enough to … Continue reading R.I.P. Ralph



After one of the worst December’s in history, it was followed by one of the best January’s in history. The S&P was up 8.01% in one month.  (Of course, it is still down 2.31% over the last twelve months, attributable almost entirely to the disastrous December.)  MidCap stocks were up 10.46% and SmallCaps were up … Continue reading Head-Spinning

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