Breakingviews

Bo’s fall reveals China’s cult of anti-personality

By Edward Hadas
April 10, 2012

The former rising star’s removal from the Politburo, though expected, is a sign that the ruling party has no place for leaders with a penchant for self-promotion or wives who court scandal. Today’s ambitious Chinese politicians should be outwardly bland and keep misdeeds quiet.

Spain’s fiscal amnesty sends wrong message

April 11, 2012

The government is hoping to raise 2.5 billion euros with a no-questions-asked amnesty for tax evaders. The move could demoralise taxpayers, and may be ineffective. A better approach would be to beef up resources on tax inspection.

Repsol has to fight Argentina’s oily expropriation

April 16, 2012

Buenos Aires’ leftist government is taking control of YPF, the oil and gas company 57 percent owned by Repsol of Spain. Worse, it seems that the state may be nationalizing only Repsol’s shares. Argentina’s naked power play may be overwhelming, but the Spanish should not just roll over.

Dutch government felled by austerity boomerang

April 24, 2012

The country’s right-of-centre coalition has collapsed after failing to agree cuts that would reduce the deficit to the euro-wide target of 3 pct of GDP. A temporary budget may avert immediate crisis. But the splintering politics bodes ill for longer-term economic stability.

Murdochs’ UK political friendships backfire on all

April 24, 2012

A public probe is exposing unhealthy contact between the British government and News Corp. That creates new uncertainty over the media group’s part ownership of pay-TV firm BSkyB. And the impression that ministers were compromised has the makings of a full-blown political crisis.

Fed’s rising growth, falling inflation are wishful

April 25, 2012

The U.S. central bank sees a pick-up in growth even as the annual rise in prices declines from the current run-rate above the Fed’s 2 pct target. These trends aren’t apparent from recent data, and the Fed needs contingency plans if they don’t pan out so conveniently.

U.S. mortgage lessons lost in student debt policy

April 30, 2012

Lawmakers are close to making the same mistake on college loans they did with housing. When government subsidies help send prices soaring, borrowers should be restrained. To curb the crazy growth of higher education costs demands less, not more, of Uncle Sam’s involvement.

Saudis wouldn’t gain much from a union with Bahrain

May 2, 2012

The house of Saud’s call for Gulf states to move beyond cooperation and combine into a single entity lays the ground for forming a union with the troubled island. Yet Saudi already bankrolls Bahrain and underwrites its security. The benefits of further integration are dubious.

Let News Corp keep BSkyB

May 2, 2012

Rupert Murdoch isn’t fit to run News Corp in the interests of all shareholders. And News Corp turned a blind eye to criminal wrongdoing in its UK newspaper business. But if Ofcom elbows the group out of UK broadcasting, that would be the wrong punishment from the wrong enforcer.

Obama’s job creation hopes look fragile

May 4, 2012

The U.S. president can at last say he has overseen increased employment in the private sector. But the slowing pace of jobs growth and declining labor force participation could make for a tough sell in November’s elections. Obama will be hoping it’s a soft patch.