Felix Salmon

Bair’s chutzpah

By Felix Salmon
November 14, 2009

Many thanks to Paul Solman for putting my question to Sheila Bair. Her answer is quite astonishing in its chutzpah:

The too-big-to-fail debate continues

By Felix Salmon
November 13, 2009

Economics of Contempt defends too-big-to-fail banks:

The point of creating CDOs was to generate a mezzanine tranche, which investors, who had a seemingly insatiable thirst for yield, would gobble up. Goldman (and other dealers) couldn’t place the super-senior tranches, so they held the super-seniors on their books and hedged all that risk by buying CDS protection from AIG (and the monolines)…

Two safe havens

By Felix Salmon
November 13, 2009

I got two smart responses to my assertion that there’s no safe haven for investors these days. Jared Woodard at Condor Options responded with 1,500 words on how investors in an S&P index fund can buy put options to protect their downside: “any hedging at all is better than none,” he writes. Meanwhile, maynardGkeynes left a much shorter comment:

Awarding online journalism

By Felix Salmon
November 13, 2009

I got a phone call this morning from one of the judges of the Loeb awards. A Loeb is one of the high-prestige gongs that important business and financial journalists love to award to each other, and it’s a fundamentally conservative animal: the NYT and WSJ always get lots of nominations and awards, and the winners are generally the kind of long-form investigative pieces which, say, the Pulitzer jury loves as well.

Counterparties

By Felix Salmon
November 13, 2009

Craig Brown channels Gladwell — VF

James Meek meets President Obama in Arlington — NYDN

Thanksgiving feast, circa 1881 — NYT

A gorgeous power-of-ten visualization — Utah

Lou Dobbs, in verse — Newsweek

One advantage of citizenship over a green card: authorities can’t threaten you with deportation to get a plea bargain — WSJ

Will small banks replicate big banks?

By Felix Salmon
November 12, 2009

Mark Gimein says that we shouldn’t worry too much about the problem of too-big-to-fail, because the alternative to one big bank failing is lots of small banks failing:

Strange bedfellows: Jon Stewart and Patrick Byrne

By Felix Salmon
November 12, 2009

Remember the Jon Stewart interview of Jim Cramer where Stewart pulled out a secret weapon to unleash upon his unsuspecting guest?

The Goldman Sachs Foundation’s torrid 2008

By Felix Salmon
November 12, 2009

Goldman Sachs has provided Reuters with a copy of the Goldman Sachs Foundation’s 2008 tax return. Why the NYT didn’t just put it online I have no idea, but in any case here it is, all 297 pages of it.

Happy 10th birthday, Financial Modernization Bill!

By Felix Salmon
November 12, 2009

Ten years ago today:

SEC. SUMMERS: Let me welcome you all here today for the signing of this historic legislation. With this bill, the American financial system takes a major step forward towards the 21st century, one that will benefit American consumers, business, and the national economy for many years to come…