Felix Salmon

Durbin, Dimon, and interchange

Dick Durbin’s bodyslam of Jamie Dimon on the subject of debit interchange is, simply, a must-read. If Durbin ever had any dreams of a cushy sinecure on JP Morgan’s board, those have surely now been quashed forever — but being able to write a letter like this on official US Senate letterhead makes it oh so very worth it:

Andy Warhol datapoints of the day

Anders Petterson of ArtTactic put together a presentation on the Warhol market for his talk at Artelligence yesterday. There are some astonishing numbers in it, none more so than the fact that Warhol paintings accounted for 17% of all contemporary-art auction sales in 2010. But there’s much more where that came from.

How Levin’s crisis report recasts the Volcker Rule

After the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission fractured into bipartisan incommensurability, I had little hope for the Senate’s report into the financial collapse. But my initial impression is that it’s a great piece of work — almost incredibly so, given that it’s got bipartisan support.


Durbin’s letter to Dimon, on debit interchange — WSJ

Comment du jour: Summers “still contends that there are certain people who just can’t do math. Formerly they were known as women” — Reuters

US taxation datapoints of the day

The dean of tax reporters, David Cay Johnston, has a fantastic cover story in the Willamette Week (of all places and 40 other alt-weeklies), shining a bright light on just how unfair and unequal the US tax system is. The whole 3,000-word article is well worth reading in full, but here are some highlights:

Larry Summers has had enough financial regulation

The financial crisis? Regrettable, obviously. But let’s not rush to judgment here. Our financial system, pre-crisis, worked pretty well. Let’s not break it just because there was a crisis.


“The rule of law is not even worth 20 basis points”: Levitin utterly dismantles Calomiris et al — Credit Slips

Homeowners in denial

According to the latest Pew survey, only a minority of Americans think that their home has fallen in value since the recession began in December 2007. And the poorer and less educated you are, the less likely you are to think your home has fallen in value:

How SecondMarket works

I spent most of this morning at SecondMarket, having a long conversation with Adam Oliveri, the person in charge of their private company market. That’s the part of the company which gets the most attention: it’s where stock in companies like Twitter and Facebook change hands, for instance. I learned a huge amount while I was there, and have now changed my mind on whether Facebook is going to go public: I finally understand exactly why companies need to do an IPO once they have more than 500 shareholders.