Felix Salmon


November 11, 2010

From Obama, the Tax Cut Nobody Heard Of — NYT

MIT Media Lab looking for a new director — MIT

Apple = cheap? — Daring Fireball

Wherein Andrew Ross Sorkin calls Dealbook a “real-time SWAT team”, while driving his car to Fort Wayne — TBN

The deficit commission’s plan

November 10, 2010

The pair of deficit commission reports (draft here, list of illustrative cuts here) is depressing on both the big-picture and the little-picture level.

Did the midterms kill Keynesianism?

November 10, 2010

Mark Thoma has a depressing column at the Fiscal Times today, saying that the Obama administration’s failed fiscal stimulus threatens the entire idea that the government has a role to play in smoothing economic shocks and protecting the vulnerable from the vagaries of unconstrained capitalism:

The Assurant plunge

November 10, 2010

Shares in Assurant fell off a cliff this morning, on volume a good order of magnitude greater than is normally seen. What’s going on?

Why Google’s cutting back on bonuses

November 10, 2010

I love the way that Google is giving all its employees a 10% pay rise, and cutting back on payment in the form of bonuses and equity. CEO Eric Schmidt has, in a very Googlish way, got hard numbers on what his employees want, and so he’s giving it to them:

Learning from Ireland

November 10, 2010

I love the way that the WSJ today covers the collapse of Ireland’s banking system, and with it the country’s fiscal leadership. There’s little if any actual news here, but that’s a feature, not a bug: it frees up the WSJ‘s writers and editors to present the big-picture narrative in as clear and compelling a manner as possible, without having to overemphasize some small factoid which they happen to be breaking.


November 10, 2010

David Leonhardt smacks around the gold bugs — NYT

Awesome old tool — Wired

So You Want To Start A Web Startup? — TechCrunch

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border, and Google Maps — Ogle Earth

The force-placed insurance scandal

November 9, 2010

American Banker’s Jeff Horwitz has a spectacular piece of reporting today about goings on in an obscure corner of the mortgage-servicing world known as force-placed insurance. Essentially, if a homeowner fails to keep up their insurance premiums, then their loan servicer will step in and buy an insurance policy on their behalf, to ensure the home remains insured. It’s all perfectly sensible in theory. But in practice, it’s ripe for abuse, especially when the servicer owns the insurer.

Brad DeLong’s fiscal manifesto

November 9, 2010

Brad DeLong is fed up with vague hand-waving from technocrats, Bob Rubin very much included, who call for the government to make difficult decisions without being remotely explicit about what such decisions might entail. So he comes up with his own seven-point “platform for the bipartisan technocrats of the center”, which “everybody centrist and deficit-hawkish in the reality-based community should be willing to commit to today”.