Felix Salmon

Schwarzenegger’s pension math

Since I’m interested in the value of a guaranteed real income, this sentence jumped out at me from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent WSJ op-ed:

What are the obstacles to being a landlord?

Joe Nocera addresses the question of who might buy houses to rent them out:

It’s even become nearly impossible for well-heeled investors to buy rental properties. This is no small matter. At the peak of the bubble, the rate of homeownership approached 70 percent. Now it is falling toward 65 percent — which is more or less where it was before all the housing madness of the last decade. That means that millions of Americans who were briefly homeowners need to become renters again. They need a place to rent.

How credit cards force the poor to subsidize the rich

Just after I went on holiday in July, the Boston Fed released a 57-page paper quantifying the subsidy from poor to rich that is the result of credit-card interchange fees. It was picked up by the likes of the NYT and the WSJ, and now Tim Chen, the CEO of NerdWallet, has decided to push back on the findings.

Counterparties

“More frequent use of swear words indicates deception” — Farnham St

Should we listen to El-Erian?

I’m not entirely clear why Matt Yglesias has suddenly come over all bah-humbug at the presence of Mohamed El-Erian on the Washington Post op-ed page:

Foreclosure datapoint of the day

HAMP might not have helped lots of homeowners stay in their houses over the long term, but it did push back the point at which they got foreclosed on. To now. Here’s a graph from the latest report from Lender Processing Services:

GDP: the best kind of bad news

If you’re going to have a sluggish growth figure, this is the best sort of sluggish growth to have:

Counterparties

El-Erian: Stimulus isn’t enough — WaPo

Suing your servicer for not allowing you to modify your mortgage under HAMP: It works! — ML-implode

The CDO shuffle

It’s impossible not to love any story about the insanity of high finance during the bubble years which not only goes into hugely geeky detail but also comes with a cool cartoon and which includes the phrase “cheerfully feckless”. So, go read ProPublica’s latest CDO piece right now.