Felix Salmon

The death of the CFPA

February 28, 2010

Edmund Andrews, freed from the strictures of writing for the NYT, is proving to be a valuable addition to the econoblogosphere: today he not only writes smartly about Chris Dodd’s CFPA compromise, but also posts the actual document. That’s more than the NYT, WSJ, or Bloomberg managed to do. It’s well worth reading, despite — or even because of — the fact that this olive branch has been roundly rejected by both Dick Shelby and Bob Corker, and has therefore not even managed to survive the weekend.

Deconstructing Buffett

February 28, 2010

Alice Schroeder has two interesting takes on Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition of Burlington Northern. In her BusinessWeek cover story on Warren Buffett, she explains the hidden upside:


February 27, 2010

Well done to Riesling nuts Pacific Rim on their latest gong — Businesswire

Astonishing, on many levels — Mail

Kafka on Twitter’s ad-sales model — AllthingsD

No typing in the press pen at Apple shareholders meeting — Reuters

On how mass transit is American (and not socialist) — Yglesias

Konczal finds a good financial innovation, called TRACE — Rortybomb

“I’ve never fooled myself into believing I could discern the quality of a wine with my taste buds” — Psychology Today

In praise of invisible payments

February 27, 2010

One consequence of going on staff at Reuters last April is that I got a W2 this year for the first time in a decade, and I’m pretty impressed at how much money I managed to pay the government, without even trying, in 2009. I know that if I was paying the same kind of money in big quarterly checks, as I used to when I was freelancing, it would have hurt much more.

What happens to house prices when the Fed stops buying MBS?

February 26, 2010

Paul Smalera asks what’s going to happen to mortgage rates after March 31, when the Fed has said that it will stop buying mortgage-backed securities. The answer, predictably, is that they’re going up:

Can we spin off a CFPA bill?

February 26, 2010

Matthew Yglesias proposes a divide-and-conquer strategy when it comes to pushing through financial reform legislation: get the systemic stuff done with the help of Bob Corker, and then draft a second bill, with the help of some other Republican, creating a Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

There’s nothing fabulis about Citibank

February 26, 2010

Jennifer Valentino-DeVries has a good post on l’affair Fabulis, in which a gay entrepreneur named Jason Goldberg was told by Citibank that his website “was not in compliance with Citibank‚Äôs standard policies” before receiving a fulsome apology from Bill Brown, the head of branch banking in New York. (Goldberg’s been blogging on this a lot; the best way to see everything is just to go to his blog home page.)

The sensationalist WSJ

February 26, 2010

Here’s the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal; I think it says a lot about where owner Rupert Murdoch and managing editor Robert Thomson are taking the paper.

Ten reasons to ignore David Weidner

February 25, 2010

Abnormal Returns has a pretty funny takedown of David Weidner and his silly listicle today on the subject of financial blogs. Weidner seems to think that AR is upset at being left out, but in fact this is a cheap and ill-informed article which should mean nothing to those either on it or off it.