Congress created the annual labor day holiday in 1894 to honor the nobility of work. It was also meant to remind the indolent rich of a nobility they will never have. An important part of my financial planning practice is retirement planning — that is, developing a plan to retain your dignity and nobility after … Continue reading The Joy of Labor
The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
I like steaks – big, medium-rare, slabs of beef, along with a bottle of delicate Merlot. But, I don’t like climate change. Most everyone admits the climate is changing but argue whether mankind is responsible for that change. My thought is that mankind is partially responsible for some portion of climate change, and I’m willing … Continue reading What, me worry??
Sometimes, a recession can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If everyone believes a recession is imminent and stops spending, a recession becomes certain. Of course, public opinion can get ahead of economic data, and that may be happening now. The mass media blankets consumers with worry, which helps the media and annuity salesmen. (I cannot call … Continue reading Thoughts on Recessions
One so-called market indicator of a recession in six to twelve months, is called interest rate inversions, and it means nothing. The economic data does not indicate a high-probability of recession, although it does suggest a minor slowdown, which is called a “growth-recession.” A regular recession produces a decrease in GDP. In a growth-recession, GDP … Continue reading Semi-Rational
When the Fed raised interest rates last December, the weight of economic data justified it, although I wrote then that the increased quantitative tightening (QT) was unnecessary. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! While I was right about QT, raising the interest rate was clearly a mistake. Last month, the Fed admitted their error and reversed … Continue reading The Designated Fall-guy
I believe the National Rifle Association has caused more harm to our country than the American Communist Party AND the American Nazi Party, combined!
Traditionally, American politicians jump on a soap box, rip their shirt off, and pound their chest about a “strong dollar.” It is a “flag, motherhood, and apple pie” kind of thing. Every President has wanted a strong dollar, until President Trump. That is one reason he has been so critical of the Fed. He has … Continue reading Unintended Consequence
The American Institute of Economic Research has never been confused with the Institute of Comedy Research. However, their current issue contains an amusing article by its Editorial Director Jeffrey Tucker. He states two “gangs” are ruining the world, by ignoring “real” economics. The Gang of the Right says the road to redemption is lined with … Continue reading Return of the Honey Badger
During my education years, I learned to use the “scientific method” in reasoning. During my marriage years, I developed a grudging respect for “feminine intuition.” On a recent car trip, we were passing thru some no-name place and pulled off the Interstate for gas. When I got back into the car, my wife asked “Did … Continue reading Hiding In Plain Sight
I applaud President Trump for — finally — dealing with the trading abuses of China. However, as I’ve written many times, I wish we did not negotiate three different trade problems at one time. Contrary to popular belief, NAFTA II is still not complete, as Mr. Trump has not negotiated with the House to pass … Continue reading One-Handed Clap
Today, the Dow dropped over 800 points because interest rates inverted. What does it mean? Very little! It was discussed in this blog on August 9th. Take another look here: False Alarm
The nation of Argentina has been circling the drain since 1946, when Juan Peron became president. Since then, I’ve lost track of how many crisis the nation has endured, such as depressions, devaluations, and defaults. Their stock market dropped 38% on Monday, which is not surprising since interest rates have jumped to 74.8% from 63.7%, … Continue reading Still Dismal ??
How often have you heard someone say “I can’t wait until I turn 65 and retire.” That’s crazy talk! First, age 65 as a retirement age was set long before we enjoyed greater life expectancy. Second, with unemployment at 3.6%, the sun is shining, and it’s time to bank more money. Third, you can no … Continue reading Crazy Talk
President Trump made improvement in manufacturing a campaign priority in 2016. For two years, that sector did improve but has started to falter. It would easy to say this is entirely due to the Trump’s trade war, but that doesn’t tell a fair story. Worldwide, manufacturing is slipping, for reasons unrelated to the trade war, … Continue reading Quick Manufacturing Update
Farmers have long been respected as tough and scrappy, working hard and facing constant hardship — true American heroes. Today, farming is just another industry, albeit an important one. I just read an analysis of the agricultural industry that is too dense to summarize. However, here are some of the factoids I found interesting: The … Continue reading Agriculture Update
If you loan me money and want repayment in one year, there are few things that can go wrong over that year, which would make me unable to pay. If you loan it to me for thirty years, there are many more things that can go wrong, making me unable to pay, especially inflation over … Continue reading False Alarm
Sociologists have marveled about the increasing divorce rate for the over-60 age group. One consequence of our increased life span is that we’re out-living our marriages. As a financial planner, people come to me for hard numbers and are disappointed when I remind them there is more to retirement planning than finding “the magic number.” … Continue reading A Soft Number
Not too many years ago, I listened to a native of Fort Worth, Texas, discussing food with a person from Liverpool, England. It was a good-natured discussion of who had the best food. Actually, it was hilarious, because they couldn’t understand each other. They were both speaking English, that is the English they are used … Continue reading Walk and Chew Gum
I couldn’t bear watching more than 15 minutes of the Democratic debates. It was painful. While I’m sure they are all very nice people, this process morphs them into dancing monkeys, answering questions designed to entrap and defending proposals that will never be heard again. It is little different than the equally stupid process used … Continue reading Dancing Monkeys
Yesterday, the Federal Reserve System of the United States of America did two things. First, they decreased interest rates by a quarter point (25 bps). The stock market however wanted a half point (50 bps), and the Dow promptly dropped 333 points. The market also wanted the Fed to promise that this was only the … Continue reading World’s Fed