Felix Salmon

How to get financial reform

TED’s Reformist Manifesto is, for all his bluster, a pretty standard wishlist in terms of what kind of regulatory structure you’d set up if you were starting from scratch. It can really be boiled down to one principle: minimize the amount of unregulated financial activity, while also minimizing the amount of regulatory bureaucracy.

Neel Kashkari, mountain man

kashkari.tiff

Today’s must-read is Laura Blumenfeld’s tale of Neel Kashkari, mountain man, building a wooden shed in the wilds of Northern California:

Emerging markets aren’t a bubble

Yesterday was the EMTA annual meeting, complete with its venerable and always interesting panel of buy-siders. My favorite is always Hari Hariharan of NWI managment: when asked what his favorite trade is, he never says something simple like “long Brazil”. Instead, it’s invariably a complex relative-value trade: this year he said that “a one year forward 2s-5s steepener in Korea could be an offsetting trade to receiving front-end Mexico”. You’re welcome.

Reappointing Bernanke

Ben Bernanke was contrite yesterday, as well he should have been:

“There were mistakes made all around,” Mr. Bernanke said. “I did not anticipate a crisis of this magnitude and this severity.”

Finally, an encouraging jobs report

Today’s jobs report is genuinely encouraging, I think. Unemployment is down a little to 10%; employment is “essentially unchanged”, in the words of the release; payrolls in prior months were revised upwards; total hours worked went up; wages went up; what’s not to like?

Counterparties

Palin: Obama birth certificate ‘a fair question’ — Politico

Gawker, of all outlets, is the first to put the White House pool reports online. ABC, Politico, where were you? — Gawker

How WaMu failed

Amidst the orgy of one-year-on reminiscing in September, I missed Kirsten Grind’s 4,000-word story on the failure of WaMu, which is well worth reading.

Opaque bankers

Banks’ public disclosures have always been on the opaque side. But now things are worse than ever, according to Nomi Prins, who should know:

Why the plutocrats will return

Is the US government powerless to prevent the return of the plutocrats? Or does it actually, secretly, need the plutocrats to return? Here’s Tim Geithner, today: