Felix Salmon

How to boost employment

Given the urgency of boosting employment and reducing unemployment, we need much more than vague ideas about training and apprenticeship. The good news is that there are at least two very good ideas which could be implemented quite easily and which would have a direct effect on employment.

Chart of the day: U.S. corporate tax revenues

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Presented without comment. Source is page 68 of this PDF. Hat-tip to Stephen Culp.

The fiscal commission’s failure

I’m fascinated by the various headlines reporting the deficit commission’s 11-7 vote.

The urgency of bringing down unemployment

The unemployment rate has long been called Obama’s Katrina, but at this point it’s clear that it’s much worse than that: its political toll is surely worse for the president than a bungled hurricane response could ever be. Its human toll too, probably. And while it’s never a good idea to read too much into a single datapoint, the fact that it rose, unexpectedly, to 9.8% in November is undeniably bad news.

Why Google’s Groupon buy makes sense

Vinicius Vacanti has a very smart analysis of the economics of Groupon, which also helps explain why companies like OpenTable are trading at such stratospheric valuations. The real value of Groupon lies in its email list. But Groupon’s list is a list of bargain-hunters. Companies with large lists of people who have already demonstrated their ability and willingness to pay full price—companies like OpenTable—can present an even more attractive proposition to would-be advertisers.

Don’t treat small businesses like charities

Scott Austin has an interesting article about a third form of capital-raising: not debt, not equity, but a deal where investors get back a fixed percentage of revenue for a certain amount of time:

Bailout datapoint of the day, Morgan Stanley edition

ProPublica is my favorite one-stop shop for presenting the Fed data dump in an at-a-glance format. The main thing that jumps out is that three banks, more than any others, were the primary recipients of the Fed’s lending facilities:

How much carbon does bike-sharing save?

How should bike-share services pay for themselves? Up until now, the main model has been sponsorship and advertising. But CityRyde has a bright idea: why not sell carbon offsets?

Counterparties

Very few changes in the fiscal commission’s final draft — Prospect

Google says it’s fixed the DecorMyEyes problem — Google Blog

A fantastic op-ed from George W Bush, I agree with every word he says — WaPo