Felix Salmon

Counterparties: European bonus season just got a lot more boring

By Ben Walsh
February 28, 2013

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Why Argentina will default in 2013

By Felix Salmon
February 28, 2013

Some countries default on their performing debt because they no longer have the ability to pay it. Other countries default on their performing debt because they no longer have the willingness to pay it. Argentina has been in both situations: something of a serial defaulter, it defaulted on or restructured its obligations in 1828, 1890, 1982, 1989, 2001, and 2005.

Counterparties: Sequestration nation

February 27, 2013

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The no-brainer immigrant-entrepreneur visa

By Felix Salmon
February 27, 2013

Many thanks to the Kauffman foundation for crunching the numbers on a key part of Jerry Moran’s clumsily-named Startup Act 3.0 — the new visa for immigrant entrepreneurs. I don’t have an opinion on the rest of the bill, but it does have two sections which are something of a no-brainer when it comes to immigration reform. One is the immigrant-entrepreneur visa; the second is the idea of giving green cards to up to 50,000 foreign students who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics — so long as they remain in that field for five consecutive years.

More convenience, less privacy

By Felix Salmon
February 27, 2013

Restaurants are the natural home of impulse purchases. Would you like a third bottle of that wine? Would you like to see the dessert menu? What the hell, why not. All you need to do is say the word, and it all just appears, fresh and delectable for your consumption, before you’ve so much as paid a penny. Eventually, of course, the bill comes — essentially, it’s an invoice listing everything that you’ve already consumed. Then you pay that invoice, and leave.

Counterparties: Bigger slices, bigger pie

By Ben Walsh
February 26, 2013

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It’s time to abolish the FHFA

By Felix Salmon
February 26, 2013

Remember the force-placed insurance scandal, which first came to light back in 2010? Well, despite being addressed in Dodd-Frank, the problem is still there: loan servicers are buying massively overpriced home insurance on behalf of homeowners, and getting enormous kickbacks from the insurers — if they don’t own the insurers themselves. The victims, here, are usually the investors who own the mortgages in question — which means that the biggest victims of all are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

How to get people excited about education

By Felix Salmon
February 26, 2013

Following a recommendation from Bond Girl on Twitter, I spent a 95-minute chunk of Saturday night on YouTube, watching the first of five Leonard Susskind lectures on cosmology and very much looking forward to the rest. By coincidence, it’s targeted pretty much at exactly my level: you need a decent grounding in Newtonian mechanics and basic calculus, but nothing too sophisticated.

Counterparties: Italy’s protest vote

February 25, 2013

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