Felix Salmon

Chart of the day: America’s small tax revenues

By Felix Salmon
July 31, 2011

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This chart comes from Barrie McKenna’s great article on US tax rates, and pretty much speaks for itself. While the rest of the developed world has seen its tax rate rise as it got richer, the US stands out as the one country where tax rates have been going down. In the OECD, only Chile and Mexico have lower tax burdens, and neither of them have been decreasing: both have relied very much on state-owned commodity wealth to stand in for tax revenue.

Felix TV: Do you want real food or clean food?

By Felix Salmon
July 30, 2011

After I wrote my post about restaurant grades on Thursday, my fabulous video producer, Ayana Morali, discovered that the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South — one of the grandest hotels in New York — received a whopping 77 violation points in its latest inspection. So naturally we went up there to check it out, and got surrounded by hotel security guards who weren’t happy with us filming there.

Adventures with yield curves, debt-ceiling edition

By Felix Salmon
July 30, 2011

Bill Dowd emails to ask about short-term Treasury yields, which finally seem to have noticed the debt ceiling debate in recent days:

Can Treasury prioritize bond payments?

By Felix Salmon
July 29, 2011

One of the more curious pieces of rhetoric in this whole debt-ceiling debate is coming from Treasury, which has a vested interest in making failure to raise the debt ceiling sound as bad as it possibly can. To that end, it’s trying as hard as it can to get people to believe that if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, it’ll end up defaulting on Treasury bonds. Here’s Binyamin Appelbaum:

How insurance improves living standards

By Felix Salmon
July 29, 2011

It comes as no surprise to find that Alan Greenspan is wrong. But with respect to his latest column, an attempted defense of laissez-faire regulatory policies and lower bank capital standards, it’s worth explaining in a little detail exactly why he’s wrong.

Being wrong on Twitter

By Felix Salmon
July 28, 2011

Earlier today, there was a flurry of activity in the media subcircle of Twitter, based on a tweet from a fake Twitter account saying that Piers Morgan had been suspended from his CNN show. It wasn’t true, as CNN rapidly said, and as Morgan himself confirmed. But various important media people, including most prominently Channel 4 News’s Jon Snow, tweeted the “news” and made it go briefly viral.

Bike slowly

By Felix Salmon
July 28, 2011

One of the things I like about urban biking in the summer is that people go slower: no one wants to arrive at their destination a sweaty and disheveled mess. When bikes go slower, that’s safer for everybody, especially pedestrians. And it’s much more pleasant for the bicyclist, too. If you take your time, and you’re not always in a rush, stopping at red lights is no longer an annoyance: it’s an opportunity to cool down a little look around, learn about your city. I like the fact that my bike is faster than a car for most New York journeys. But that doesn’t mean I’m in a race.

The long-term implications of a US downgrade

By Felix Salmon
July 28, 2011

David Boucher, of The Economic Word, asks a very good question via email, about the implications of the US losing its triple-A rating:

The microeconomics of restaurant letter grades

By Felix Salmon
July 28, 2011

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Many congratulations to the WSJ for putting this chart together; it says much more than the thousand-word accompanying article does. New York City restaurants are periodically graded by inspectors, and then given a grade based on how many violation points they have. And the chart demonstrates, more than any set of anecdotes ever could, that inspectors are trying very hard to give the restaurants the highest letter grade they can.