Felix Salmon

The case against QE

An impressive group of right-leaning technocrats has signed an open letter to Ben Bernanke, objecting to his adoption of QE2. And it’s hard to disagree with what they have to say:

The bizarre decision to kill Newsweek.com

Mark Coatney has joined at least one Newsweek.com staffer in presenting a very cogent case for saving Newsweek.com on Tumblr. Their points about SEO, and about the long tail of Newsweek.com’s archives, and about the relationship with MSN, and about the relationship with advertisers in Newsweek magazine, are all well taken.

Is QE2 already working?

Bloomberg’s Liz McCormick has an interesting take on QE: “Options Showing Quantitative Easing Working Before It Begins” is the headline on her piece, which concentrates on an obscure indicator known as “payer skew.”

Counterparties

Time change. You lose, you gain. Then all at once the frozen hours melt out through the nervous system — FT

The NYT’s attempt to fix the budget

In the wake of his excellent rent-vs-buy calculator, David Leonhardt has helped create another interactive tool, this one called “You Fix the Budget“. He writes:

Re-examining the mortgage interest deduction

One of the positive effects of the deficit commission report is the way that it has brought the stupid mortgage-interest exemption back into the spotlight. David Kocieniewski’s article in the NYT is very good, although I don’t understand why simple statements of fact have to be attributed to anonymous “experts” or “economists”:

Lies and auction hammer prices

The NYT has erred in the past, but generally it’s good about reporting prices paid at auction: the amount that the winning bidder pays for the item in question is the amount that the item sold for. That amount is then split between the person consigning the item to auction; the auctioneer; and, of course, the taxman. In the case of that Chinese vase, the hammer price was £43 million, the auctioneer charged £8.6 million commission; and the buyer also had to pay 17.5 percent sales tax on the commission, for a total of £53,105,000, or $85.9 million.

Treasury answers your tax questions

I love the way that Michael Mundaca, the assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy, has taken to the blogs to help up some of the perennial confusion surrounding taxes. And yes, he tackles the biggest question of all, about those 1099s:

Eat your heart out Matt Taibbi

This is without a doubt the funniest video ever made about the Fed, quantitative easing, and Ben Bernanke. Make sure you’re in a place where you can laugh freely, and press play: