Felix Salmon

Give teens bank accounts, not prepaid cards

Dan Kadlec is right to give short shrift to the horribly misconceived Kardashian Kard, a prepaid debit card aimed at teenagers. But I think he’s too kind about prepaid debit cards in general:

If websites don’t cannibalize, how about apps?

James Murdoch seems to have decided that free websites might not really cannibalize newspapers after all:

Looking at the deficit commission’s tax plans

The WSJ does none of its readers any favors with its silly headline attempting to sum up the effects of the deficit commissions tax proposals. “Top Earners May Face Big Hit”, it says—which would surely be more accurate if the “May” was replaced with “Won’t”.

Counterparties

The courtship is over. Daily Beast, Newsweek to Wed — TDB

“This is the ‘Human 8-bit Video’. We wanted to make something cheap and awesome” — YouTube

When Google gets into a bidding war for its own talent

No sooner do I have lots of good things to say about Google’s pay policies than Mike Arrington breaks the news that Google is keeping one engineer, who was threatening to decamp to Facebook, by paying him $3.5 million in restricted stock.

The NYT’s subscription strategy

If a gaffe is when somebody accidentally tells the truth, then Gerry Marzorati’s latest comments probably count:

Pandit’s parallel universe of gabfests

Is Vikram Pandit going to go back to Davos in January? He certainly seems to enjoy himself at well-meaning technocratic gabfests:

Medicare and the deficit

The most clear-eyed view of the silliness of the deficit commission report comes from Kevin Drum, who points out that at heart it says much less about reducing the size of the deficit than it does about reducing the size of the government. The distinction is a crucial one, since the mathematics of the deficit are simple, and overwhelmingly a function of Medicare expenditures. “Medicare, and healthcare in general, is a huge problem,” says Drum: “It is, in fact, our only real long-term spending problem.”

When bankers make windfall profits from the FDIC

Elizabeth Warren has been doing the rounds in recent days, extolling the virtues of small community banks and talking about how tough it is for them to compete with the big guys. It certainly seems that way over at the FDIC, where the list of bank failures in 2010 is up to 143 and counting—already more than the 140 banks that failed in 2009.