Felix Salmon

Chart of the day: Goldman’s integrity


My Reuters colleague Robert Fullem had a really bright idea a few days ago: he went through all of Goldman Sachs’s annual reports and counted how many times the word “integrity” was used in each one. And the results are pretty interesting. The reports have been getting fatter and fatter: that’s the red line in the chart. But all those extra pages don’t seem to give the bank any more opportunity to talk about integrity: quite the opposite.

401(k) plans aren’t just for retirement

One of the reasons that banks made so much money from overdraft fees is that people are naturally optimistic: they never think, when they open a checking account, that they’re going to go overdrawn very often. So overdraft fees aren’t a big deal to them at the time.

The WSJ vs Christopher Pia

The WSJ is going big today on this shocker from Susan Pulliam, splashing it across the front page of both the newspaper and the website:

Who rents out houses?

Barbara Kiviat raises an interesting question: who is going to rent out all those houses which got bought by people who never should have been homeowners in the first place?

What is Kroll doing for Montenegro?

Landon Thomas’s report from Montenegro is full of fun datapoints, including the fact that the prime minister, Milo Djukanovic, officially gets paid only 1,256 euros per month. There’s also a delicious irony in the fact that he avoided prosecution by Italian authorities by declaring diplomatic immunity. And then there’s this:

Truth and rhetoric in job creation

The most important and most difficult task facing the Obama administration is making a dent in the unemployment situation. There aren’t many things that the government can do to try to boost the number of jobs in the U.S., but at the top of the list has to be attempts to boost lending to small and medium-sized businesses. These companies are a huge driver of employment growth — they account for two of every three jobs created in the past decade — but they never find it easy to get loans even in good times: all too often they have to resort to borrowing on credit cards, which can be lethally expensive.

What Treasury’s thinking

Treasury’s blogger meeting on Monday has been covered by quite a lot of the participants — see Lounsbury, Tabarrok, and Smith.

The Treasury-bubble meme

It’s something of an emerging meme: Treasuries are the new dot-com stocks. Barry Ritholtz says so explicitly, while Jeremy Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz lay out the, um, logic:

Can we give minors bank accounts?

Sudeep Reddy has a story today about the latest attempts to try to get bank accounts for the unbanked. Such attempts are always well-intentioned, and nearly always doomed: this is a very tough nut to crack.