The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
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Welcome to The Flinchum File

I am an Accredited Investment Fiduciary at Bay Capital Advisors, an investment firm headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA. After retiring from Truist Bank, I started this firm to work more closely with a smaller number of clients, and it has been great! Our client load is about 25% of the national average.

Writing is not for the shy or the meek. It exposes a person’s mind and character. I hope you enjoy the view.

It Starts Like This . . . ?

I have long argued there is an important distinction between a recession and a financial crisis.  Recessions come-and-go, usually fixing themselves, before scaling new heights afterwards.  On the other hand, a financial crisis can happen quickly, do more damage, and need government assistance.  A financial crisis is much worse than a recession and requires eternal vigilance. For the past week, Wall Street has been rattled…

The Sixth Commandment ?

The sixth of the Ten Commandments is “You shall not murder.”  However, ancient Hebrew texts clearly make a distinction between murder and killing.  Murder involves “bloodguilt,” because it is unlawful.  Killing is not murder, when done legally, such as combat or home invasion.  My native state of Virginia has just adopted the Sixth Commandment, which eliminates the death penalty.  In effect, both murder and killing…

That Boring Canary

When I was teaching economics in Texas, I was required to teach from a state-approved textbook.  Like most economics textbooks, international economics was explained only in the last chapter.  It is always short, with barely a mention of currency exchange rates.  Invariably, time for currency exchange rates was rushed.  Besides, that important subject would glaze the eyes of most people, especially students. But such rates…

Majority Rule, Minority Rights

During my Political Science 101 course in the last century, the professor repeatedly reminded us that majority rule was easy, but protecting minority rights was hard.  This was after the Kennedy years, when there was apparently some concern about the rights of Catholics being protected by a Protestant majority.  While all that seems quite unlikely today, it was an issue to my professor. But I…

Economist or Epidemiologist ?

My favorite right-wing website on economics is the American Institute of Economic Research (www.aier.org ).  Right-wing media usually focuses on any potential loss of personal freedom, AIER focuses on any potential loss of economic freedom.  If you have a steady diet of MSNBC or even CNN, I recommend a weekly visit to AIER’s website. While I have great respect for its adherence to classical economics,…

Don’t Fight the Fed

In a time when the mundane face mask is a fealty test to Trump, the experience of the Federal Reserve has been interesting.  Like all real estate developers, Trump argued for lower interest rates (think:  construction costs) and lambasted Jerry Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve.  Fighting to maintain some tiny piece of the Fed’s traditional independence, Powell raised rates late in 2018, creating a…

Competitive Victimhood

Why is necessary to be a victim, in order to be respected or to be fashionable? I had a conversation with a person demographically like myself, who honestly feels victimized in our culture. I don’t understand? I am a man.  Therefore, I am a victim? I am white.  Therefore, I am a victim? I am an American.  Therefore, I am a victim? I am a…

The Lesson of Rafting ?

For three straight years, during her Spring Break, I took my daughter rafting down the Rio Grande River and often witnessed Mexicans crossing the river into our nation.  Once, in Santa Elena Canyon, they even fired at us, as we floated by them.  At night, we often slept on the Mexican side of the river, if that bank was higher and dryer than the U.S…

Crying for Argentina

It has been decades since I was last in Argentina, but I remember it as a beautiful country, as well as the breadbasket of South America, supplying grain and livestock.  However, it has been plagued with severe boom-bust cycles.  Here are a few current factoids: GDP dropped 10% last year. Their stock market has dropped 90% over the last 3 years. Companies may not layoff…

Rhetorical Question

I’m glad Congress has approved the President’s recovery plan, even though we’re borrowing the $1.9 trillion from our children.  A big deficit to pull us out of last year’s “flash-depression” is justified, but the normal annual deficits are not.  Republicans believe tax cuts are guaranteed to jumpstart the economy.  Democrats believe increased spending is guaranteed to jumpstart the economy.  They’re both wrong . . .…

Over-Reacting . . . as usual

Wall Street is over-reacting to the recent spike in long-term interest rates, but I’m not. In introductory economics, students are taught that the Fed controls short-term rates but not long-term rates, and that was true . . . until quantitative easing (QE), which followed the Great Recession or Global Financial Crisis, as I prefer to call it.  Normally, long-term rates should be higher than short-term…

The Cost of Scarring

When your skin gets scarred, it becomes thicker and less elastic.  That is physical scarring.  Everyone knows there is also emotional scarring, such as from divorce, especially among the children.  In additon, there is economic scarring from divorce, when living expenses double and lawyers must be paid, among the many other costs. Every time a restaurant closes, there is economic scarring — to the owner,…

Pandemic Blessings ??

Surely, some good things will come out of this terrible pandemic. For myself, with fewer people around, I have come to know those fewer people better. For example, I discovered how interesting our cleaning lady is — who knew? I learned that 24/7 news (as well as documentaries) are worse for your mental health than expected. For example, I learned that romantic comedies aren’t as…