Felix Salmon

Chart of the Day: Common capital vs TCE

May 9, 2009


This chart comes from today’s WSJ, and shows the big difference between tier-1 common capital, which is the criterion that Treasury ended up using in its stress tests, and tangible common equity, which is the criterion everybody thought Treasury was going to use in its stress tests. And you can see why Wells Fargo, in particular, was livid about the switcheroo:

When online publications erase writers’ careers

May 9, 2009

Back in March, I wondered why the NYT was breaking the web, yet was hopeful that it was some temporary snafu, and that it would be fixed sharpish. But no — it’s still insanely broken, and Thomas Crampton is only one of hundreds of journalists who have seen their careers thoughtlessly erased by an idiotic marketing stunt.

Friday links don’t work like they’re meant to

May 8, 2009

Financial Crisis Containment: An important paper from Anna Gelpern. In a crisis, governments panic — this is called “crisis containment”, if you’re being polite. It’s inevitable. And surprisingly predictable, too.

Housing bailout datapoint of the day

May 8, 2009

Maurna Desmond reports:

Senior federal housing officials say that of 51 loans made under the [Hope for Homeowners] program, 50 were made by Melville, N.Y.-based Lend America, and those 50 loans are being held up pending ongoing federal investigations.

When private equity funds try to get around bank-ownership rules

May 8, 2009

The NYT sent Eric Lipton all the way to Cainsville, in the middle of absolutely nowhere, to visit what used to be called the First National Bank of Cainesville and is now called Flowers Bank, after its brand-new owner, Chris Flowers. Lipton has filed a great story of attempted regulatory arbitrage, where Flowers is personally buying this bank just so that he can get its national banking charter — his private equity shop being considered by the Fed to be not boring enough to own a bank.

Cash-for-clunkers gallons-per-mile calculations

May 8, 2009

Ryan Avent and the MPG illusion both examine the “cash-for-clunkers” bill from the perspective of how much in the way of carbon emissions will actually be saved when someone takes advantage of it. But there are a few sums missing in these posts, so I thought it would be worth filling them out. Here’s Ryan, for instance:

Chrysler bankruptcy going according to plan

May 8, 2009

This is pretty much exactly what we wanted, right? Chrysler gets the benefits of bankruptcy — such as being able to restructure its obligations to its dealer network — while the holdout creditors, who pushed Chrysler into bankruptcy in the first place, get less than they were initially offered by the Obama administration.

When will the Boston Globe close?

May 8, 2009

Robert Gavin of the Boston Globe interviews his own publisher today, and for all the pro-forma statements that the Globe isn’t going anywhere (“the Globe will still be publishing a year from now – and beyond”), the matter is explicitly and entirely out of his control:

Ever more unemployment

May 8, 2009

I knew this morning’s jobs report was going to be depressing — and with unemployment rising from 8.5% to 8.9% last month, I was right. But the unemployment rate among adult men is even worse. Here’s the relevant bit of the release: