The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

What A Week !

02/28/2020

We’ve never had a President that paid such close attention to the stock market.  With the coronavirus pandemic causing the Dow to lose over 1,600 points on Monday and Tuesday, he wisely hurried back from a state visit to India, for a hastily called press conference on Wednesday.  The market was relatively calm that day, … Continue reading What A Week !

Here We Go Again . . .

02/27/2020

We’ve been here before!!  It was just 15 months ago that the market fell 19% in the fourth quarter of 2018.  That was a result of the Fed raising interest rates and reducing its balance sheet.  There was the possibility that a financial recession was brewing, and I was worried. Now, we are facing another … Continue reading Here We Go Again . . .

An Ugly One-Two Punch

02/26/2020

If Bernie Sanders leads us into socialism, could the next “Trump” lead us into communism? Socialism and communism are not the same thing.  While all communists are socialists, not all socialists are communists. The traditional definition of socialism is state ownership of the major means of transportation, communication and production capabilities.  Note that it is … Continue reading An Ugly One-Two Punch

The 11th Commandment

02/24/2020

Thou shalt not panic! Thou shalt not panic! Thou shalt not panic! Thou shalt not panic! Thou shalt not panic! Thou shalt not panic!

Mad Men . . . or Just Unfair?

02/22/2020

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a highly influential French/Swiss philosopher, who also wrote “The Social Contract” in 1762.  It opens with the famous sentence that “Man is born free, and everywhere is in chains.”  Among the notions in this important work is that individuals are the result of their upbringing or social environment.  It helped me to … Continue reading Mad Men . . . or Just Unfair?

Waving at the Future

02/20/2020

In the early mists of time, high priests could predict the future by reading the entrails of a chicken, lamb, or goat.  From a mess of goat guts, they could see the future. “Technical” analysts look at price movements of stocks to rationalize the buy-and-sell decisions of investors.  Sometimes called “chartists”, they don’t even need … Continue reading Waving at the Future

Title Troubles

02/19/2020

Probate has earned a bad reputation.  When a person dies with assets that become part of their “estate”, the probate court steps in, making sure the assets are distributed to the right person.  It is a necessary public service but an annoying public service.  It is slow, paper-intensive, and costly.  The good news is that … Continue reading Title Troubles

The Greatest President’s Day?

02/17/2020

In March of 2017, I predicted Donald Trump would not serve a full term.  Long before he could be impeached and removed, I expected this most thin-skinned of men would tire of the inevitable criticism and just walk away.  Declaring victory and resigning would allow him to retain some minimal dignity after office.  However, I … Continue reading The Greatest President’s Day?

China Fog

02/16/2020

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, estimates of China’s GDP growth are dropping fast.  Starting the year at a relatively modest 6%, most forecasts are now in the 0 – 1% range.  This is a huge drop in short time. While I have great sympathy for the thousands of sick and dead, I feel a certain … Continue reading China Fog

The Next Black Swan?

02/14/2020

The most common question over the last few weeks is how is the coronavirius going to impact the stock market?  The obvious answer is nobody knows, of course.  But, the history of this great country is that major problems develop, get resolved, and then we keep growing.  That history is why advisors recommend clients stay … Continue reading The Next Black Swan?

Ho-Hum

02/10/2020

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their monthly “jobs report.”  It showed the labor market is strong and getting stronger.  The three-month rolling average was 211 thousand jobs, compared to a 2019 average of 175 thousand jobs created each month.  The market yawned. Can you remember that from October of 2008 to March … Continue reading Ho-Hum

Judgemental Economics

02/09/2020

Walter E. Williams is a long-time economics professor at the conservative George Mason University.  His most recent article is interesting.  It is entitled “How to tell good economists from the bad,” explaining a good economist can see the obvious – obvious to his eyes, anyway.  He gives two examples.  First, who pays tariffs?  He goes … Continue reading Judgemental Economics

Innocence Lost

02/06/2020

Early on, I recognized that Google’s motto of “Do No Evil” was a joke.  They sold personal information on their customers to anybody who can pay for it.  Then, Facebook came along and made the sale of personal information into a major industry.  Now, nobody is certain how many companies are selling your personal information. … Continue reading Innocence Lost

Thank You, Mr President

02/02/2020

While I have great respect for The Office of the President, I have rather less for the current occupant.  Therefore, when he does earn some respect, he deserves credit for it! At the prodding of his daughter, the President signed an Executive Order last week establishing an office to combat human trafficking, which is a … Continue reading Thank You, Mr President

True or False ?

02/01/2020

The four greatest innovations in the history of mankind are: FIRE — used to provide heat, to provide light, and to cook food THE WHEEL — used to transport people and goods more efficiently THE INTERNET — used to bring the world’s body of knowledge to every person BLOCKCHAIN — a worldwide “read-only” spreadsheet using … Continue reading True or False ?

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