Felix Salmon


December 23, 2010

“It’s not all gibberish. Some of it is really great journalism” — Jezebel

Bonus culture datapoint of the day

December 22, 2010

Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger have a great story today about how Merrill Lynch persuaded its internal fund managers to buy the toxic nuclear waste spewing from its out-of-control CDO factory:

What are the chances of muni doomsday?

December 22, 2010

Meredith Whitney took her muni-doomsaying to 60 Minutes this week:

“There’s not a doubt in my mind that you will see a spate of municipal bond defaults,” Whitney predicted.

Why Martin Erzinger’s victim doesn’t need his money

December 22, 2010

Remember Martin Erzinger, the Morgan Stanley broker who bought his way out of a felony charge? He’s been sentenced now—a year’s probation, and 45 days of charity work. (Some people do that kind of thing voluntarily, and don’t consider it a punishment at all.) And Al Lewis has a magnificent column on the case, which uncovers an interesting twist: Erzinger’s victim, Steven Milo, is the son-in-law of Tom Marsico. Yes, that Tom Marsico, the one with $55 billion in assets under management.

How the government rebuilt household balance sheets

December 22, 2010

Mark Thoma makes a familiar complaint: that the government’s response to what he characterizes as a “balance sheet recession” has done wonders for the balance sheets of banks, but much less for the balance sheets of the population as a whole. What the government should have done, he says, is “use fiscal policy to help households make up for losses from the recession”:

When banks burglarize

December 22, 2010

When Bank of America bought Countrywide, did it know that as a consequence it would start being associated in the public mind with meltwater reeking of rotten halibut?


December 22, 2010

Recalibrating Microfinance: A Six-Point Program — CGDev

Questioning the Benefits of Maturity Transformation — Macro Resilience

What’s not to like about your big, fat bonus? — WaPo

BankSimple supports low debit interchange fees — BankSimple

Wherein I try to turn the bike volume down a notch — NYT

“Mike Bloomberg. You could disagree with him, but then you’d be wrong” — Forbes

Cuomo lashes out at Ernst & Young

December 21, 2010

Say what you like about Andrew Cuomo, he gives good complaint:

E&Y substantially assisted Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., now bankrupt, to engage in a massive accounting fraud, involving the surreptitious removal of tens of billions of dollars of securities from Lehman’s balance sheet in order to create a false impression of Lehman’s liquidity, thereby defrauding the investing public…

Chart of the day: The working poor

December 21, 2010


poverty.jpg This chart comes from a Working Families Project report, and it underscores how the Great Recession has hit the working classes just as much as it has the unemployed. The baseline here — 200% of the poverty level — might sound high enough to be comfortable, but it isn’t: we’re talking a total household income of $36,620 for a family of three, or $44,100 for a family of four. (I’ve put the full chart, taken from here, over to the right.)