The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Negative Partisanship

10/30/2019

I love reading anything by George Will.  He neither thinks nor writes in cliches.  He has long been a serious conservative thinker and was a frequent contributor on Fox News, back when it was a reliably conservative news network. His most recent column is “What if hate is stronger than party affiliation?”  He discusses the … Continue reading Negative Partisanship

2 + 2 = 3

10/29/2019

Something doesn’t add up?  Generally speaking, when people put more money into the stock market, it goes up.  When people take money out of the stock market, it goes down.  According to Bank of America, investors are now the most bearish they’ve been since 2008.  In fact, they’re withdrawn $322 billion from the market in … Continue reading 2 + 2 = 3

A Real Hero

10/28/2019

Because I have such great respect for General Jim Mattis, a good friend bought me a copy of Mattis’ latest book, Call Sign Chaos.  He was the first Secretary of Defense under President Trump, lasting almost two years before resigning in protest.  The title of this book comes from the humorous acronym given to him … Continue reading A Real Hero

Boorish Behavior

10/27/2019

I found myself having dinner with five other men one night last week.  Five of us had gray or white hair.  One had long, oily blonde hair that curled over his collar.  His expensive but too-large clothes reeked of cigarette smoke.  He offered up a bottle of Napa red by VGS that was indeed very … Continue reading Boorish Behavior

Taxing Wealth ?

10/25/2019

Classical economists teach “If you want more of something, subsidize it.  If you want less of something, tax it.”  Theoretically, if you subsidize something, the price will drop and customers will buy more.  If you tax something, it costs more and customers will buy less.  Does that mean, if you tax wealth, you’ll have less … Continue reading Taxing Wealth ?

An Eighteen Year Long Tunnel

10/24/2019

Coming from a religiously conservative family, my Army experience helped me to see other perspectives.   Eventually embracing existentialism, the world started to make sense again.  Not surprisingly, existentialism has flourished following World War II, with a brief resurgence after both Korea and Vietnam. As a refresher, existentialists believe that society obsesses over death, which is … Continue reading An Eighteen Year Long Tunnel

Stock Buybacks

10/23/2019

What should corporations do with their profit?  They can use it to increase cash on their balance sheet, which increases the book value per share.  Or, they can use the cash to reduce debt, which also increases the book value of their stock.  Or, they can use it to pay bonuses to executives and employees.  … Continue reading Stock Buybacks

More Precise Questions

10/20/2019

The most common question asked of economists is . . . “are we going into a recession?”  The answer is yes, of course — because there is always a recession somewhere in our future.  The question they’re really asking is . . . “when will we feel the pain of a recession.” Economists have very technical … Continue reading More Precise Questions

Bad Choice

10/19/2019

I have often agreed with the actions of President Trump. Often with joy, if never delirious with joy. Then, he betrayed the Kurds. My stomach is sick, and my heart hurts. Imagine the Special Forces betraying the Monteyards of Vietnam. I don’t know whether to vomit or to cry . . .

Hospice Misconceptions

10/15/2019

I served on the regional board for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) with Holly Donaldson and have great respect for her.  Below, I have copied her excellent latest article in LinkedIn on a very difficult subject. The Hospice Decision: Sooner, or Later? 4 Misconceptions Published on October 14, 2019 Holly Donaldson, CFP®, … Continue reading Hospice Misconceptions

I Was Wrong

10/14/2019

It was March 21, 2017 that I predicted Donald Trump would not serve a full 4-year term.  I didn’t expect him to leave by impeachment, but by resignation, like Richard Nixon.  That opinion reflected the thinness of his skin, but I was wrong.  Constant attack normally encourages resignation.  However, the chaos around him only seems … Continue reading I Was Wrong

I Was Wrong

10/14/2019

It was March 21, 2017 that I predicted Donald Trump would not serve a full 4-year term.  I didn’t expect him to leave by impeachment, but by resignation, like Richard Nixon.  That opinion reflected the thinness of his skin, but I was wrong.  Constant attack normally encourages resignation.  However, the chaos around him only seems … Continue reading I Was Wrong

Inside Baseball

10/12/2019

I like Exchange-Traded-Funds (ETFs).  (In fact, I’ve attended the “Inside ETFs” conference in Florida many times.)  Unlike mutual funds, which only trade at closing, you can trade ETFs anytime the market is open.  There are no tax bombs, like in some mutual funds.  With ETFs, you can make more targeted bets.  For example, I believe … Continue reading Inside Baseball

Situational Morality

10/10/2019

Long before the British and the French designed the national borders in the Middle East following World War I, it was well known that the Kurds of Kurdistan were tough and tenacious fighters.  Not wanting to leave behind a strong, united Kurdistan, it is decided that the nation would be divided between Iraq, Syria, and … Continue reading Situational Morality

Pursy

10/09/2019

There is a convenient myth that rich people are not happy.  It is convenient to the non-rich, as it justifies being non-rich.  After all, who wants to be unhappy? During my decades of exposure to both groups, I have found no difference in the happiness level of either group.  An exception might be those rich … Continue reading Pursy

Thinking About Recessions

10/07/2019

Most people think of an economic recession as a big, bad Boogie-Man.  Economists have conjured up precise definitions of a recession, but the only one that matters to the stock market is the conventional “two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.”  Right now, we have precisely zero quarters of a shrinking GDP, and this quarter … Continue reading Thinking About Recessions

Skinning A Cat

10/04/2019

Most online brokers, like Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and E-Trade, just reduced their trading commissions to zero, down from the $3-$6 per trade and way down from “the good old days” when trading commissions averaged $30-$50.  The stocks of these online brokers immediately dropped about 25% Don’t feel too sorry for them! The brokerage business is … Continue reading Skinning A Cat

What, Me Worry?

10/03/2019

I worry about my 96-year-old father. I worry about my family and friends. I worry about our combat soldiers. I worry about our elected leaders. I worry that some people still smoke. I worry about ebola and other contagious diseases. I worry about high drug prices, especially for the poor. I worry about sea level … Continue reading What, Me Worry?

Inside the Fed Box

10/02/2019

For those who want to read my latest quarterly column for Inside Business, please click here: https://www.pilotonline.com/inside-business/vp-ib-expert-flinchum-1007-20190930-xai2gq3vavewlc2bc2lnh7pqia-story.html

Art of the “Hollow” Deal

10/02/2019

Yesterday was a bad day in the stock market, with the Dow falling over 340 points.  It was also a bad day for the President’s re-election probability.  The latest ISM Manufacturing report was released, showing a continuing drop in manufacturing.  In fact, it is firmly in contraction territory at 47.8, which was worse than economists … Continue reading Art of the “Hollow” Deal

Yes

10/01/2019

Yes, we are headed into a recession.  Of course, there is ALWAYS a recession coming, but I think the next one will become visible early next year. Yes, the stock market will suffer.  History suggests the market will drop 25% over a 13-month period, before rebounding. Yes, you should sell all your stocks at the … Continue reading Yes

Yes

10/01/2019

Yes, we are headed into a recession.  Of course, there is ALWAYS a recession coming, but I think the next one will become visible next year. Yes, the stock market will suffer.  History suggests the market will drop 25% over a 13-month period, before rebounding. Yes, you should sell all your stocks at the market … Continue reading Yes

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