The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Worst in History

07/31/2020

Everybody knew that our GDP would drop badly in the second quarter, following a 7% annualized drop in the first quarter.  Estimates were that our GDP would drop 30-35%, and it dropped 32.9% – the biggest drop in history, by a factor of three times.  The lockdown from mid-March to Mid-May was costly indeed.  Estimates … Continue reading Worst in History

A Good Guy and/or Great Investor

07/29/2020

From my first investment course many years ago, I’ve known Warren Buffett as a legendary investor.  I learned he was clearly one of the best investors of all time, if not the best. However, from 2009 through last month, he has under-performed the S&P by 4.4% each year.  More recently, that under-performance was even worse … Continue reading A Good Guy and/or Great Investor

Economic Narcotic

07/27/2020

Even before 2002, when former Vice President Cheney famously said “deficits don’t matter”, economists have begged the question of whether deficits actually do matter.  Out of that discussion, a new isolationist school of thought has emerged, i.e., Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).  It has also been widely popularized by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.  … Continue reading Economic Narcotic

Saluting A Racist ??

07/25/2020

Given my love of the outdoors, nobody was surprised when I volunteered for the infantry in the Army.  Backpacking with a buddy in the Appalachian mountains as a boy eventually led me to the majestic Muir Woods north of San Francisco as a man, where I developed great respect for John Muir, the iconic founder … Continue reading Saluting A Racist ??

The Virus & Social Security

07/24/2020

One would not immediately think that the coronavirus would impact Social Security, but it will. Here’s the good news:  From near bankruptcy in 1980, the Social Security Trust Fund now has $2.9 TRILLION.  (Yea, Congress!) Here’s the bad news:  This is the year – 2020 – that cash flow turns negative.  From now until 2035, … Continue reading The Virus & Social Security

Important . . . theoretically

07/23/2020

I live in a perfect world, don’t you?  Whenever you look out the window, don’t you see rainbows and lovely unicorns?  In fact, at ground-level, little girls throw pretty flowers from their little baskets and sing pleasant little songs.  It is a perfect world, indeed! One characteristic of this perfect little world is that shareholders … Continue reading Important . . . theoretically

“Just Wear A Damn Mask”

07/17/2020

There is an anti-mask rally in Dallas today.  People, who feel they have a right to spew water droplets on other people, will mass and swarm into various retail stores, overwhelming the store policy about wearing a mask.  This is sick! Having been raised in an area with many Revolutionary War memorials . . . … Continue reading “Just Wear A Damn Mask”

As An Example . . .

07/16/2020

I love capitalism!  Government can never be as resilient as business.  As an example, with fewer people going to malls, there are many large parking lots being ignored.  Brookfield Properties is turning those unused assets into pop-up drive-in movies with great success.  (Can you believe that many people are too young to remember drive-in movies?)  … Continue reading As An Example . . .

Watching A Hero Die

07/15/2020

My hero is dying.  Over the last forty years, I have admired him and prayed for him, which makes it so painful to watch him now, crippled with arthritis and writhing in pain.  Before he graduated, his professors adored him, especially his mathematical ability.  Sadly, at his graduation, on January 1, 1994, he was shot … Continue reading Watching A Hero Die

Make No Mistake

07/13/2020

YOU – yes, YOU – need a Certified Financial Planner!  Nobody else can coordinate and synthesize the myriad advice thrown at people.  I should know – after all, I was a CFP over 30 years. When I voluntarily relinquished that certification earlier this year, some friends thought I was retiring, which is not true.  Some … Continue reading Make No Mistake

Forecasting . . . What Else?

07/13/2020

Traditional conservatives (as opposed to Trump Republicans) tend to support the Austrian school of budgeting, largely based on the economic teachings of F.A. Hayek.  He often pointed to the problem of economists and other scientists in predicting the future, particularly with quantitative models that presume human behavior.  He called it “an ambition to imitate science … Continue reading Forecasting . . . What Else?

Quarterly Column

07/12/2020

For many years, I have enjoyed writing a quarterly column for Inside Business, the business journal of southeastern Virginia.  My latest column can be found here: https://www.pilotonline.com/inside-business/vp-ib-expert-flinchum-0713-20200710-y7nfhs2dzjczbbtweon2lfou7q-story.html

The S&P 6–

07/01/2020

Despite being crushed by the pandemic, the stock market just enjoyed one of the best quarters in 22 years, with the S&P 500 rising a whopping 20.54%.  Before popping champagne corks, let’s look a little deeper. One of the most useful ways to look at stocks is the distinction between value stocks and growth stocks.  … Continue reading The S&P 6–

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