Felix Salmon


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

Bonus culture datapoint of the day

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?

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

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

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

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?


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

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


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.)