The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Giving Thanks

11/28/2019

If humility was a muscle, it would be withered away and shriveled-up for most of us.  Thanksgiving is the annual workout for that weak muscle.  It is a day to be humble, a day to remember how other people have helped us.  Nobody does it alone, without the help of others.  So, go exercise your … Continue reading Giving Thanks

Schwabing the Deck?

11/26/2019

In 2004, I had a good job with a bank, which was acquired by another bank, which was then acquired by yet another bank.  It is disconcerting and confusing for the staff, of course.  Employees of an acquired company invariably expect a “housecleaning.” Yesterday, Schwab announced it was acquiring TD Ameritrade (TD), subject to various … Continue reading Schwabing the Deck?

Leading the Way

11/25/2019

Over the Summer and Fall, our economic data slowly got weaker and weaker.  For the last few months, the data has been looking a little brighter .  But the Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) is still flashing bright red.  It has dropped for three straight months, primarily due to the recession in manufacturing.  The … Continue reading Leading the Way

Paging A Mystic . . . Stat!

11/22/2019

The best book on financial planning to hit bookstores in 2007 was undoubtedly The Number by Lee Eisenberg.  For those willing to study the possibilities, it was a great resource.  While I would always encourage a person to read this excellent book, I suspect the mere title of the book has created an interesting, continuing problem. … Continue reading Paging A Mystic . . . Stat!

The Tyranny of Dreams

11/20/2019

Dreams are born in experience and can consume the mind. My late mother’s father died young, and she was raised by her mother in a tiny white clapboard house.  It was slightly below grade and close to a relatively busy road, as busy as roads get in the boondocks.  She was sensitive to her standard … Continue reading The Tyranny of Dreams

Old Story

11/19/2019

I was a thirteen-year-old paperboy, riding my heavy-duty bicycle with a huge basket on my front handlebars, where I carried the newspapers.  One cool morning, I had delivered all the papers and was returning home, when an pickup truck slowly passed me.  The back of the truck was full of walnuts and four young blacks, … Continue reading Old Story

A Crack In The Dam ?

11/18/2019

Normal or “retail” investors are not permitted to invest in some of the most profitable/risky opportunities.  Those opportunities are normally referred to as private placements and were limited to investors with a net worth (excluding home value) of $1 million or annual income above $200 thousand ($300K for couples).  These investors are called Accredited Investors.  … Continue reading A Crack In The Dam ?

Gold Advice

11/17/2019

Goldman Sachs has been a legendary investment firm since 1869. There is no firm on Wall Street that I respect more and trust less. The quality of their research definitely deserves respect! Last week, they announced that market conditions were too similar to 2007 and recommended investors rotate out of stocks.  In other words, dump … Continue reading Gold Advice

Penalizing Charity

11/16/2019

The current economy is doing great, and the stock market keeps setting new record highs.  So, why are charitable contribution by individuals down by 3.8%? The Trump Tax Cut doubled the standard deduction to $24,400 for married couples.  Unless regular itemized deductions plus charitable deductions exceed that amount, a taxpayer is better off taking the … Continue reading Penalizing Charity

A Crack in the Dam?

11/15/2019

Normal or “retail” investors are not permitted to invest in some of the most profitable/risky opportunities.  Those opportunities are normally referred to as private placements and were limited to investors with a net worth (excluding home value) of $1 million or annual income above $200 thousand ($300K for couples).  These investors are called Accredited Investors.  … Continue reading A Crack in the Dam?

Advertising Death

11/12/2019

How does an economist entertain himself, when his wife is travelling?  They study weird stuff, of course. I noticed the Obituary section of our local newspaper was larger than normal and deserved a little analysis.  There were 44 deaths to report.  Of those, only 31 reported their age or year of birth.  Their average age … Continue reading Advertising Death

Fake Argument

11/10/2019

The President has been arguing that China needs a trade deal more than the U.S. needs a deal.  He correctly pointed that that China’s external debt has increased dramatically from $1.3 trillion to $2.0 trillion in only three years.  That is not a “fake fact” but can be misinterpreted.  However, because most financial crises begin … Continue reading Fake Argument

Dear Santa,

11/08/2019

All I want for Christmas . . . is an end to all this impeachment coverage on the news.  Of course, it is important, but it is not the only important news.  Whatever happened to the Kurds?  Why did the French president call NATO “brain-dead”?  Why has the Russian economy NOT collapsed?  Is there life … Continue reading Dear Santa,

109 Straight Months

11/04/2019

Like a hot shower at the end of a long day, Friday’s monthly report on the labor market was simply refreshing.  Following the slow drain of a lingering trade war, declining GDP growth, a badly weakened manufacturing sector, a major strike at GM, falling consumer confidence, and slowing job creation, our country still produced 128 … Continue reading 109 Straight Months

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