Breakingviews

Feds mete out justice on private prisons

August 18, 2016

U.S. jailers like Corrections Corp lost two-fifths of their value after the Justice Department said it would stop outsourcing incarceration to for-profit firms. Industries that attract enough questions to provoke divestment campaigns can pose financial, not just moral, dangers.

Wall Street dawdling only gives opponents a push

August 12, 2016

Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley want till 2022 to offload investments banned by the Volcker Rule. They've already had six years to do so, a span when the stock market doubled. Even if the request has merits, it'll encourage harsher scrutiny and talk of more regulation.

China insurers’ worst habits go almost unchecked

July 26, 2016

The insurance watchdog is looking for trouble in the wrong places. It is warning over the industry’s riskiest investments from corporate raiding to big M&A. But it could do more to rein in the high-yielding products insurers offer that underpin the hunt for outsize returns.

UK slaps capitalism in its “unacceptable” face

July 25, 2016

Lawmakers angry at retailer BHS's collapse are mulling further regulation to protect jobs and pensions. The fiasco epitomises what Prime Minister Theresa May decries as "anything goes" business. It takes UK corporate life into interesting - and potentially painful - moral areas.

Malaysia fiasco undercuts Goldman’s standards push

July 22, 2016

After the financial crisis, the Wall Street firm overhauled its business practices in an effort to avoid big reputational as well as financial risks. But its dealings with scandal-hit sovereign fund 1MDB, spelled out in new lawsuits, cast doubt on the depth of Goldman's changes.

Yahoo’s failure clarifies future for U.S. spinoffs

July 15, 2016

The Treasury modified regulations on when splits can qualify for tax-free treatment. The move comes after the IRS declined to bless Yahoo's carve-out of its Alibaba stake. Similar deals have been on hold since. This reasonable government approach provides much-needed clarity.

EU’s Google antitrust push slower, more scattered

July 14, 2016

The European Commission has hit the tech giant with a third charge, saying it abused search dominance on third-party websites. It also reinforced a claim, first made in 2010, that Google favored its own shopping service. A speedier, focused campaign would better serve justice.

U.S. anti-inversion push has a harmful flipside

July 7, 2016

Treasury's plan to rein in tax-motivated overseas M&A takes aim at intercompany loans. It's a good idea to curb so-called earnings stripping where deductible interest is sent to an overseas parent. The proposed rule is broad, however, and could hurt normal funding practices.

GE’s 50 billion reasons not to be a SIFI

By Rob Cox
June 29, 2016

That's the dollar amount of market cap the U.S. conglomerate has added since it said it would wind down the finance arm that watchdogs said posed a systemic financial risk. Relative to the market and rivals, the gain is bigger still. Complacent mega-bank shareholders, take note.

Stars may finally align against buyout-baron taxes

June 23, 2016

A group of self-proclaimed “patriotic millionaires” wants to close a loophole that allows private-equity partners to pay lower taxes on investment profit. Clinton and Trump both back the idea, too. Though efforts in Congress have failed for years, fresh momentum is building.