Felix Salmon

The Fiscal Times vs Elizabeth Warren

August 16, 2010

What does The Fiscal Times, the online newspaper founded by Pete Peterson, have against Elizabeth Warren?

Do tech entrepreneurs need VCs?

August 16, 2010

One of the least convincing and most annoying arguments against investing in index funds is the idea that if everybody did it, then the stock market wouldn’t be able to efficiently allocate capital any more. Well, yes — but there will always be people picking and buying individual stocks and funds. That doesn’t mean that you and I should count ourselves among their number.

Harvard isn’t divesting from Israel

August 16, 2010

The noise surrounding a perceived rotation out of Israeli stocks by the Harvard endowment is really rather hilarious. Benjamin Joffe-Walt has managed to amass a whole sequence of quotes from people who have no idea what they’re talking about: one person is calling on “all academic institutions in the US” to follow Harvard’s lead and “divest from Israeli war crimes”; a second claims Harvard “still have tens of millions of dollars invested”; and a third comes up with the convoluted explanation* that it’s all to do with the fact that Morgan Stanley no longer considers Israel to be an emerging market:

The mess that is deposit insurance

August 16, 2010

There are three reasons to have deposit insurance. The first reason is systemic: it prevents bank runs. There’s no rush to pull your money out of the bank if you know that the government is guaranteeing your deposits. As a result, the entire banking system becomes much more stable and secure.

The Sheriff Warren rap

August 16, 2010

Somehow I can’t imagine anybody doing this for Michael Barr.


August 14, 2010

Sick of office politics? Get a puppy! — Economist

The very wittily written PE-2 instruction manual — Sparkfun (PDF)

Wapo declares in headline that Elizabeth Warren is “likely to head new consumer agency” — WP

Why Santelli is right, and wrong, about housing

August 13, 2010

In what Zero Hedge calls one of his top 3 rants of all time (beginning around 5:40 in this clip), CNBC’s Rick Santelli unloaded today on Steve Ricchiuto of Mizuho. The ultimate cause of the rant was a quote from Pimco’s Bill Gross, saying that he would only buy mortgages sans a government guarantee if first-time homebuyers were forced to make 30% down payments.

Deflation and negative TIPS yields

August 13, 2010

In one of those classic understated TBI headlines, Vincent Fernando today says that “Actually You Should Panic” if TIPS yields go positive. His argument: “if TIPS yields hadn’t fallen to where they are now, then we’d truly have something to worry about — Deflation.”

Can Treasury justify suing homeowners in default?

August 13, 2010

House Democrats John Conyers and Marcy Kaptur have put together a strong and compelling letter asking Tim Geithner and FHFA director Edward Demarco to put an end to the silly and counterproductive way in which Frannie have decided to start suing homeowners they consider to be strategic defaulters: “pursuing expensive litigation against a vulnerable population when there appears to be little to no economic incentive is questionable at best,” they write.