EDITOR'S PICKS

In this week's essential reading guide Kohler, Maley and Gottliebsen crack open the budget, Bartholomeusz details NAB's new normal and Burgess finds a budding political party with banks in its sights.

FEDERAL BUDGET 2012: Wayne Swan and Henry who?
Alan Kohler
Rather than rely on the now lifeless corpse that is the Henry Tax Review, Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard have based their budget campaigning on the Occupy Wall Street narrative, and it's small business that will pay the price.

NAB finds breaking up hard to do
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Weaker credit demand, with continued funding pressure, means NAB's trend of flatlining earnings but strengthening balance sheets will likely continue for some time.

The new party with banks in its sights
Rob Burgess
A new political party is set to emerge from a group of disgruntled Bankwest customers, and the first item on its wish list is regulation to force banks into line with RBA cash rate moves.

FEDERAL BUDGET 2012: Chinese debt trap
Karen Maley
Treasury’s forecasts are underpinned by expectations of strong China growth rates, which, if disappointed, could see the current accounts caught in a dangerous snare.

TECHNOLOGY SPECTATOR: NBN bluster and benefits
Supratim Adhikari
The NBN was embroiled in the accusations of so-called 'accounting tricks' in the federal budget, while it was also the recipient of some support funding.

FEDERAL BUDGET 2012: A one-off carbon bonanza
Rob Burgess
A short-lived rush of carbon revenue is headed for the government, but Treasury’s projections are optimistic and heroic, and then there’s Tony Abbott.

FEDERAL BUDGET 2012: No smoke, no mirrors
Alan Kohler
At its core, what Wayne Swan has handed down is a big taxing, big spending budget – just what you’d expect from an unpopular government approaching an election.

FEDERAL BUDGET 2012: Where are the tax cuts?
Robert Gottliebsen
Thanks to the parliamentary crisis, the money companies might have gained from a tax cut will largely go to welfare measures that will do nothing for productivity.

Trading on austerity, but for how long?
Robert Gottliebsen
Markets are betting German Chancellor Angela Merkel will stand firm on austerity measures for Europe, but our bankers know they must continue to play it safe just in case they're wrong.

Will Murdoch face an Australian inquisition?
Martin Hirst
So far in Australia Rupert Murdoch has avoided the sorts of threats and restrictions his empire has faced overseas. But a bid for Foxtel might once again place him in a regulatory and PR tangle.

CLIMATE SPECTATOR: A budget hint for Greg Hunt
Tristan Edis
The budget deferred $341 million for clean energy grant tendering programs. It again illustrates what a poor model tendering is for supporting clean energy and driving abatement. Is Greg Hunt paying attention?

Buffett's tired insurance dodge
John Hempton
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger squibbed some serious questions at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting, leaving a lot unanswered about the group's reinsurance business.

PRODUCTIVITY SPECTATOR: An app to do your job?
Jackson Hewett
As white collar work processes are more closely scrutinised, a revolution is taking place, and workers who can't remove waste in their companies will be deemed contributors.