Breakingviews

IMF offers best way for China to save Europe

February 13, 2012

Beijing will say it wants to see Europe survive at this week’s joint summit. Lending directly isn’t the way. China can do better by pitching into a $1 trillion IMF-led rescue, with less chance of losses, less nationalist ire, and over time, a bigger seat at the IMF’s top table.

Dreamworks’ China deal won’t be access all areas

February 14, 2012

Vice President Xi Jinping may unveil a China joint venture for the creators of “Kung Fu Panda” as part of his U.S. tour. China’s $2 billion in annual cinema takings mean a back-row seat is better than nothing, but the deal does little to level the playing field for foreign media.

U.S. payroll tax fight shows faux fiscal restraint

February 14, 2012

Using seized mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to fund a short extension of the tax cut was bad enough, but Congress is about to do worse. It’s ready to pay for another 10 months’ worth by adding $100 bln to the deficit. Politics and dogma are foiling needed discipline.

Gridlocked Congress might respond to docked pay

February 16, 2012

California now cuts lawmakers’ income if they don’t pass budgets on time. That could work in Washington, too, where a bill to the same effect was just introduced. As Wall Street knows, financial incentives are powerful. Many politicians would be loath to lose generous perks, too.

Would President Romney sell Uncle Sam’s GM stake?

February 16, 2012

Sure, governments should try not to hold stakes in private firms. But selling now, as Political Romney just proposed, would cost taxpayers $14 bln. That’s a hit Private Equity Romney would surely avoid. As long as D.C. leaves GM alone, it’s smarter to wait for a better price.

Political flameout shows risks hidden in China

February 17, 2012

Rising star Bo Xilai has suffered an embarrassing but mysterious setback. Compare that to Hong Kong would-be leader Henry Tang. His problems are as mundane as Bo’s are opaque. When it comes to political risk and transparency, investors in the PRC are basically flying blind.

Political flameout shows risks hidden in China

February 17, 2012

Rising star Bo Xilai has suffered an embarrassing but mysterious setback. Compare that to Hong Kong would-be leader Henry Tang. His problems are as mundane as Bo’s are opaque. When it comes to political risk and transparency, investors in the PRC are basically flying blind.

Obama’s corporate tax plan is a good start

February 23, 2012

The president’s proposal to reduce the rate paid by companies to 28 pct and eliminate many loopholes gets the debate moving in the right direction. But there’s plenty of room to improve the plan, too. For one thing, it would make global competition tougher for domestic firms.

New US finance sheriff carves out shadowy domain

February 23, 2012

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Richard Cordray is throwing a regulatory lasso around a motley crew of cash checkers, credit bureaus, money wirers and debt collectors. As our new ’Cordray Index’ shows, they’ve had a wonderful financial crisis. That may change.

Kim Jong-un could thaw dictatorship into growth

March 1, 2012

If North Korea’s basketball-loving young master really wants to build on his limited nuclear deal with the U.S., land reform would be a good place to start. That should boost food supplies and stimulate small business. Privatizations, big finance and crony capitalism can wait.