Felix Salmon

Ben Stein Watch, DSK edition

Without further ado, the top ten lines from Ben Stein’s article on Dominique Strauss-Kahn:

How will the new IMF head be chosen?

It takes Mohamed El-Erian until the very last paragraph of his FT op-ed to rule himself out of the running for managing director of the IMF: “I will not be part of this process,” he says, adding that “I already have a great job, here in California.”

The big, and little, mortgage-fraud news

Shahien Nasiripour had a very important scoop yesterday — a set of confidential federal audits has found a pattern of mortgage fraud at the nation’s five largest mortgage companies. The victim? Uncle Sam. The findings have been passed to the Justice department, which could prosecute the banks under the False Claims Act, which Shahien describes as “a Civil War-era law crafted as a weapon against firms that swindle the government”.

Counterparties

BHL+DSK=BFF — TDB (original)

Confidential Federal Audits Accuse Five Biggest Mortgage Firms Of Defrauding Taxpayers — HuffPo

Felix TV: The next head of the IMF

Most of this video is reasonably serious: I genuinely do think that Christine Lagarde is going to be the next managing director of the IMF. And it probably won’t take long before she gets the job, either.

Chart of the day: When emerging markets trade through the G7

spreads.tiff

Thanks to Mohamed El-Erian for pointing this out in his latest Secular Outlook: the market risk spread on advanced economies now exceeds that on emerging economies.

Why DSK’s arrest is bad for the IMF, France, and Greece

With Dominique Strauss-Kahn being denied bail this morning, it’s clear he can no longer run the IMF, let alone run for president of France. No matter how the trial turns out — even if he’s fully exonerated of all charges — this arrest has effectively ended DSK’s career.

Taxing the rich

Andrew Ross Sorkin gives credence — but doesn’t directly link to — Karen Hube’s rather offensive analysis of what it means to be “down and out on $250,000 a year.” Hube’s article comes up with a hypothetical two-earner family — Mr and Mrs Jones — who between them earn $250,000 a year, and who “end up in the red” at the end of the year.

Chart of the day: Commodity flows

This chart comes from a presentation on commodity ETFs by my Reuters colleague Andy Home: