Felix Salmon

How to funnel money to bankers and brokers, housing edition

March 9, 2011

Linda Stern has replied to my post about her dreadful advice to leverage up as much as you can to buy a house right now. And she’s not backing down:

Slugging in DC

March 9, 2011

Emily Badger’s article on slugging in DC is a really fantastic piece of reporting. She doesn’t just explain not only the interesting phenomenon of people giving lifts to strangers so that they can drive in HOV lanes, she also puts it in its proper broader context, complete with useful hyperlinks:

John Cassidy vs bipeds

March 9, 2011

Aaron Naparstek has a masterful demolition of John Cassidy’s bizarre anti-bike-lane rant, but he somehow skips over the most wonderful bit of all:

Housing: The leverage bulls return

March 8, 2011

I know that memories are short on Wall Street. But are they short on Main Street too? Reading Linda Stern’s latest paean to leverage and housing risk, it certainly seems that way. Saving for a down payment is hard, she says. It can take time!

Reporting the debit interchange debate

March 8, 2011

Edward Wyatt has a big piece in the NYT on the banks’ last-ditch attempts to weaken the rules reducing debit-card fees — attempts which might be working, especially given Barney Frank’s long-standing opposition to the rule.

Why isn’t Rajat Gupta facing criminal charges?

March 8, 2011

Andrew Ross Sorkin examines the weirdnesses surrounding the Rajat Gupta case today, and comes to the conclusion that the government “appears” not to have recorded any of Gupta’s phone calls after all. That’s a reversal from what things looked like on Friday, but the one thing we can be sure of in this case is that the whole thing is very murky.


March 8, 2011

Measuring teacher performance is really hard. But who cares about getting tenure if you’re thinking of leaving anyway? — NYT

The well-intentioned but doomed mortgage settlement

March 8, 2011

No wonder the proposed settlement with mortgage servicers is proving too hard to write about: it’s really hard to read. There might be a lot of Elizabeth Warren in its substance, but there’s none of her in its style.

The attorney generals’ proposed bank settlement

March 7, 2011

Cheyenne Hopkins, of American Banker, has a great coup today: she’s found the famous 27-page term sheet laying out exactly how the state attorneys general are trying to force mortgage servicers to “change a dysfunctional system”, in the words of Iowa AG Tom Miller. There’s a lot of material in here, and unfortunately I’m a bit pushed for time right now and can’t give it a full go-through until later tonight.