Felix Salmon

The Fed’s bad timing

June 24, 2013

If you only read one article on US monetary policy and the latest actions of the Fed, it should be Wonkblog’s interview with St Louis Fed president James Bullard — an interview that answers pretty much every question you might have, with the exception of the “why did they do this” one.

Why MoneyGram is going private

June 21, 2013

File this under “highly misleading Bloomberg headlines”: “MoneyGram Seen Cashing In at Decade-High Price”.

Markets revert to common sense

June 20, 2013

John Abell has a good question for me: how could everything be selling off today? Aren’t the various different asset classes (stocks, bonds, gold) meant to be hedges against each other?

The minimum-wage stimulus

June 20, 2013

Nick Hanauer has a good idea today: raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

The minimum-wage intervention would kill a lot of birds with one stone: it’s a win-win-win-win-win-win.

A new home for Counterparties

June 19, 2013

There are some of you, I know, who don’t subscribe to the Counterparties email newsletter, and read it instead on this blog. That’s OK, I don’t hold it against you. But we’ve moved the newsletter off this blog now: Counterparties now has its own blog, to complement the website. The blog features the newsletter, every day; the main Counterparties website is still updated continually over the course of the day.

Citibike: A victim of its own success

June 19, 2013

There’s good news on the CitiBike front. The big problem I wrote about on June 5 — the way in which entire stations would regularly go dark, refusing to dispense or accept bicycles — seems to have been solved. This is true anecdotally: I haven’t encountered it in the past few days, and neither has anybody I know. And WNYC has now published empirical data showing the same thing. Here’s their pretty interactive chart of stations which have been inactive for more than 4 hours straight between 8am and 8pm:

Why Detroit’s art must stay

June 18, 2013

Let me clear this up so that Donn Zaretsky can have no doubt. When I say that the Michigan attorney general is “absolutely right” that the art collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts cannot be sold to satisfy the city’s financial obligations, I mean that he’s right both legally and normatively.

Detroit takes aim at its pensioners

June 17, 2013

If you want to wade through some unutterably depressing reading on this Monday morning, you should spend some time with the official Detroit Proposal for Creditors. It starts by noting that the city’s per capita income, averaged over its 684,799 residents, is just $15,261 per year. (That’s less than half the income of neighboring Livonia.) Auto insurance alone eats up a good $4,000 of that, for residents with a car.

Score the unscored!

June 17, 2013

I went to two conferences in the past couple of weeks: the Underbanked Financial Services Forum, in Miami, and the Clinton Global Initiative’s America conference, in Chicago. At the former, I was introduced to a company called Cognical, which pitched itself as a tool which will allow lenders to lend money to a much broader group of people than they currently accept.