Breakingviews

U.S. farm credit looks safer than houses

August 20, 2014

Washington’s $200 billion-plus subsidized agricultural lending complex includes Farmer Mac, a rural copy of ill-fated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Despite a hot farmland market, though, the system looks ruggedly capitalized enough to avoid the bailout fate of the home-loan behemoths.

Texas governor unlikely small government champion

August 19, 2011

Rick Perry, the latest U.S. presidential hopeful, has said he wants to make the federal government "inconsequential". Yet as Texas governor he has presided over the creation of more government jobs per head of population than Washington.

U.S. state and local finances in big double-dip risk

July 7, 2010

U.S. state and local finances have become truly alarming. At $144 billion the combined budget gap this year for the 50 states is higher than the $133 billion of the previous year. What's more, last year's federal stimulus funds, which helped mitigate the gap, will end by December. Since their finances are highly dependent on the economy, if the recovery slows or double-dips, states and local governments could suffer more pain than any other player save the long-term unemployed.

An Abenomics lesson on politics for Uncle Sam

October 2, 2013

While dysfunction has shut Washington, Japan pushed ahead with a 60 pct consumption tax hike and $51 bln stimulus. What's startling about the contrast is that Japan was the paralyzed one two years ago. Staring down the barrel of a demographic gun concentrates the political mind.