Feb 27, 2015 20:10 UTC

U.S. student loans could need $500 bln bailout

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By Daniel Indiviglio

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

U.S. student loans could one day need nearly a $500 billion bailout – perhaps the biggest government rescue yet. Borrowing for education has soared over the past decade, ballooning to $1.2 trillion and growing far faster than GDP. With the feds on the hook for much of the debt, it’s a mess in the making.

Feb 21, 2015 20:23 UTC
Hugo Dixon

Time for Greece’s Alexis Tsipras to keep his nerve in debt battle

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Greek PM Tsipras attends a cabinet meeting at the parliament building in Athens

Greek PM Tsipras attends a cabinet meeting at the parliament building in Athens, Feb 21, 2015. REUTERS/Kostas Tsironis

Alexis Tsipras must keep his nerve. The new Greek prime minister has crossed a Rubicon in asking for an extension to the country’s hated bailout programme while abandoning many election promises. Tsipras should realise there is now no turning back. But he can snatch victory from defeat if he embraces radical reforms with vigour.

COMMENT

I fully agree with the comments posted by Thurlac which are accurate and to the point.
The Greek Orthodox Church is supporting the needy without taking under
consideration nationality, colour or creed. Others should follow the Church’s example.

Posted by SolPer | Report as abusive
Feb 13, 2015 19:42 UTC

Costco customers look like winners in Amex scrum

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By Rob Cox and Stephanie Rogan

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

True to form, Costco customers may come out ahead in a valuable commercial arrangement. That’s at least one way to read the market tea leaves from this week’s divorce between the U.S. warehouse retailer and American Express, its longtime exclusive payments partner. The news swiped some $8 billion from the card issuer’s value. Only part of that has accrued to rivals MasterCard and Visa. The shortfall reflects the benefits to millions of discount shoppers.

COMMENT

AMEX is the Mercedes of credit cards with a high bar for getting one. That made for some level of exclusivity at Costco, and exclusivity always enhances a brand. Now to let the rift raft in thru run of the mill Visa or Master Cards will diminish the brand. Ditto for their left coast decision on dumping Coke for Pepsi.

Save me money on pork chops or wine, but do not destroy your brand image in the process. I won’t have the same positive image of Costco.

Posted by JohnDickerson | Report as abusive
Jan 28, 2015 17:41 UTC

Mortgage freeze could hasten Greek bank reform

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By George Hay and Neil Unmack

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Before asking euro zone creditors to reduce Greece’s public debt, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras might consider making good on another pledge: a permanent mortgage moratorium. Inflicting pain on the likes of National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Piraeus or Eurobank looks easier and faster than negotiating the country’s bailout terms. Less intuitively, it could also help Tsipras’ Syriza movement trigger a healthy restructuring of the country’s lenders.

Jan 15, 2015 19:47 UTC

Swiss give scary lesson on central banks’ limits

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By Swaha Pattanaik

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Central bankers have to live up to high expectations. Investors and politicians expect them to control inflation, prevent deflation, promote growth and keep the financial system healthy. The Swiss National Bank, an above-average institution, has failed at two simpler tasks, keeping its word and preventing destabilising currency moves. The lessons for the rest of the world are scary.

Jan 6, 2015 15:18 UTC
Guest Contributor

Guest view: Banks need to lead on cultural change

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By William Rhodes

William Rhodes, a former Citigroup executive, is president and chief executive of William R. Rhodes Global Advisors and author of “Banker to the World.”

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews guest columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Dec 29, 2014 15:17 UTC

Bad ideas catching up with Latin America in 2015

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By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Bad economic ideas will start to catch up with Latin America in 2015. For four years, the region has seen growth rates below the world average. The IMF predicts that won’t change any time soon. Yet while most Pacific-facing countries will shine, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela will suffer. With a couple of exceptions, misguided policies are finally coming home to roost.

COMMENT

What about Panama’s growth. It’s proyected to be one of the highest in the region for next year.

Posted by EnmanuelMC | Report as abusive
Dec 26, 2014 16:54 UTC

U.S. housing demand is building

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By Daniel Indiviglio

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The U.S. housing market is set for another leg up. Increasing household formation, job creation and easing credit look set to give the market a boost, despite rising interest rates and the headwind of sliding affordability.

Dec 26, 2014 16:49 UTC

Bitcoin’s defects will hasten its demise in 2015

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By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Bitcoin’s defects will hasten its demise in 2015. The leading crypto-currency’s economies of scale in mining and its transaction system’s vulnerability to subversion by a dominant miner make it unsound. As seignorage declines it will become cost-uncompetitive for transactions. These flaws will cause its price to lose further altitude.

COMMENT

The bitcoin price depends on people’s demand for holding bitcoins. When that goes up the price will go up. You’re completely ignoring that component of price formation.

Posted by EconomicsJunkie | Report as abusive
Dec 16, 2014 19:52 UTC
Edward Hadas

Sorry, this is as good as the global recovery gets

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At the beginning of 2014, many people were optimistic about the world economy. For the fifth straight year, it had seemed safe to declare the lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis over and done with. This time is different: 2015 is likely to begin in a merited atmosphere of gloom.

Investors are looking at the financial system with increasing dismay. Monetary policy has never been so loose for so long in developed economies, and yet lending, investments and consumer spending are still restrained. A beefed-up banking system is not yet funding rapid hiring or strong GDP growth. Abenomics – the stimulative policy package of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – seems to be losing its shine, commodity exporters have big problems and the United States may just be bumping along a bit better than the rest.

COMMENT

Let’s quit confusing the state of the economy with the job market and income distribution. While once strongly correlated, they are no longer coupled. The economy itself may be the only thing going well. The job market is a shambles because technological advances and offshoring have permanently eliminated most of the middle class factory jobs for the minimally educated. This and failure to regulate financial markets have resulted in massive problems in income distribution. External shocks such as Russian aggression and OPEC lowering prices to eliminate competition, could cause economic problems if politicians react according to partisan ideology.

Posted by QuietThinker | Report as abusive