Felix Salmon

Wednesday links get tweeted

Since moving onto Twitter, I’ve pretty much stopped the daily linkfest, moving the quick hits onto there. But there’s no reason they shouldn’t continue to exist in blog format too. So here are some of my most recent tweets. Is there an easy way to automate this kind of thing?

The sorry story of the Rose Art Museum

Allison Hoffman of the Jerusalem Post brings us up to speed on the Brandeis affair — if you haven’t been following it, the small Jewish university decided last year to close down its art museum and sell off its contents, only to backpedal desperately in the face of a massive public backlash. Where are we now? Well, the Rose is essentially dead — its donors have rescinded their pledges, artists are asking for artwork back, the director has been fired, and it has no chance of being able to raise a penny in new money any longer. That’s the downside, for Brandeis, whose own reputation has been trashed in the process. And the upside? Pretty much nonexistent: no art has been sold, no art will be sold for the next couple of years at least, and confusion reigns on campus and beyond.

Hyperbole watch, Bloomberg edition

Ryan Chittum quite rightly brings the hammer down on a ridiculous “story” from Bloomberg today, which runs under the headline “U.S. Inflation to Approach Zimbabwe Level, Faber Says“, and which starts like this:

The economics of pumpkin bombs

How fabulous is Ecocomics, a new blog about the economics of comic books? Well, here’s a taster:

Who will replace GM in the Dow?

What’s going to happen to the Dow once GM files for bankruptcy? Matthew Hougan has a few ideas:

Fed funds datapoint of the day

The Taylor Rule ran smack into the zero bound back in October — and kept on falling. Now, according to the Fed’s Glenn Rudebusch, “in order to deliver a degree of future monetary stimulus that is consistent with its past behavior, the FOMC would have to reduce the funds rate to -5% by the end of this year”:

When bank defaults are a good thing

One of the problems with the banking bailout in both the UK and the US is that it’s set up a massive moral hazard trade. Bank debt is trading at a massive discount to face value, and investors have been buying it in the hope and expectation that the governments of the two countries won’t let any major financial institution default on its debt after seeing the repercussions of the Lehman and WaMu defaults.

GM bondholders vs UAW retirees: a false equivalence

If you invest a large chunk of your 401(k) in the stock of just one company, your actions are fraught with peril. If that stock performs badly — which is always possible — then you could end up with a significantly diminished standard of living in retirement. But at least there’s a possible upside: if the stock does spectacularly well, you can end up in clover.

John Taylor’s disingenuousness

John Taylor is a genuinely eminent economist who has a fundamentally sensible point to make — that a step-change in the US debt-to-GDP ratio from about 40% to about 80% is not a good thing and is something with systemic consequences.