Felix Salmon

Elizabeth Spiers and the reinvented New York Observer

February 6, 2012

There are three main reasons that I like entering into bets with people. The first is, simply, that it’s fun. The second is that I love to win bets. And the third is that I love to lose them. I don’t ever trade the markets: all of my investments are strictly buy-and-hold, with a time horizon measured in decades. That rule has saved me a lot of money over the years, not that I ever had much inclination to trade in the first place. But it has also prevented me from learning the kind of lessons that all traders learn early and often.

Fantastic news on jobs

February 3, 2012

What mean reversion? This is two fantastic jobs reports back-to-back, with the second even better than the first.

The craven SEC, part 196

February 3, 2012

Edward Wyatt makes a very good point today — why is the SEC doing big favors for big banks, every time it slaps a fine on them?

NYT paywall datapoints of the day

February 2, 2012

Ken Doctor has a very smart and interesting take on the news that the NYT now has 390,000 paying digital subscribers — plus another 16,000 at the Boston Globe. It’s unambiguously good news, on many fronts.

Why jobs require cities

February 2, 2012

Many thanks to Mark Bergen for finding me this data; I asked him for it because I thought that maybe we could learn something from the way in which China has managed to keep employment growing steadily through some extremely turbulent economic times.

Broke bureaucrat of the day, St Louis Fed edition

February 1, 2012

Binyamin Appelbaum has helpfully aggregated all the Fed presidents’ financial disclosure statements in one place. The richest Fed president is Dallas’s Richard Fisher, who used to run an investment fund called Value Partners. And the legacy of Value Partners is still visible in Fisher’s statement: he owns more than $500,000 of stock in an obscure clothing company called Cherokee Inc, for instance, which was one of Value Partners’s biggest investments.

The true costs of prepaid debit cards

February 1, 2012

Anisha Sekar of Nerdwallet has officially launched a comparison tool which allows you to work out which prepaid debit card might be best for you — and, crucially, allows you to compare the cost of a prepaid debit card to the cost of a bank account. Nerdwallet has run the numbers about as many ways as is humanly possible, and has come to the empirical conclusion that it “is very rarely the case” that prepaid debit is cheaper than checking.

Freddie Mac and the inverse floaters, cont.

February 1, 2012

Jesse Eisinger is back with a follow-up to his original piece about Freddie Mac and the inverse floaters; he’s also left a long comment on this blog, responding to various criticisms of his story which appeared in the blogosphere.