Felix Salmon

Wall Street analysts deserve a “sell” rating

Jennifer Saba makes an important point about milquetoast tech analysts today: faced with huge news about shake-ups in the CEO position at both Apple and Google, precisely zero analysts asked any questions on that subject during the companies’ earnings calls.

Eric Schmidt’s next act

Ken Auletta, who literally wrote the book when it comes to Google, has a must-read take on what exactly is going on with Eric Schmidt, and goes out on a limb by saying that his tenure in the weird job of non-CEO executive chairman will last just one year before Schmidt leaves to “do something else.” (This fits with reports that Schmidt is planning to sell a chunk of Google stock.)

The metastasizing state-bankruptcy meme

Talk of introducing legislation allowing states to declare bankruptcy began in earnest in November. A speech by Newt Gingrich was followed up by a big Weekly Standard piece on the subject by David Skeel, and soon the meme filtered into the blogosphere. Unlike most political chatter, this kind of talk isn’t cheap at all: it’s very expensive. As the subject has refused to go away—which means, as House Republicans have continued to work on drafting some kind of bill—the municipal debt market has plunged.

Counterparties

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on the muni crisis — CBPP

AOL is a scam, selling internet access to elderly people who already have internet access — TBI

Eric Schmidt and the job of non-CEO executive chairman

Ten years is a long time to be one of the most visible CEOs in the world, especially when the buck doesn’t really stop with you but rather with a triumvirate where you’re clearly the third wheel. So the news that Eric Schmidt is handing over the top job at Google to Larry Page makes a certain amount of sense. As he said on Twitter, Page has a decade’s experience as a senior executive of Google, and day-to-day adult supervision is no longer needed. Google’s venture-capital backers had every reason to want Page and Brin to bring in an experienced outside CEO in 2001. Today, most of those reasons no longer apply, and Google can be run by one of its two founders, in a world where founders, in general, beat out managers.

Desnobbing wine

David Kesmodel reports that US consumers finally seem to be waking up to the fact that there’s no correlation between price and quality when it comes to wine:

Dodd-Frank vs Basel III

When the big financial-overhaul bill was working its way through Congress, Treasury persuaded legislators to avoid passing rules on bank capital or liquidity. Leave all that to Basel, they said, so that there could be a global, unified system. And that’s what happened. But if two huge new systems are passed by two highly complex bureaucracies, there are bound to be conflicts. And Melvyn Westlake has a great story in Global Risk Regulator on one of those conflicts: the role of the ratings agencies.

Norway, entrepreneurial paradise

Max Chafkin has a fantastic story in Inc magazine about how to structure an economy so as to encourage entrepreneurship, full employment, and general happiness and contentment, all while drastically reducing inequality. It’s easy, in fact: all you need to do is become Norway.

Counterparties

Why Obama has to nominate a CFPB director by July — HuffPo

Bus Rapid Transit in NYC: It works! — Gothamist

How have I not seen this amazing Ken Robinson education animation before now? — YouTube