In this week's essential reading guide Kohler wrestles with an Italian elephant, Maley provides context on the Spanish bailout and Gawenda longs for the days when political polls weren't considered journalism.

Qantas is no easy target
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Qantas International doesn’t actually have to be profitable to be viable, and despite John Singleton fanning takeover talk, no Australian government would sanction a bid that involved breaking the airline up.

The elefante in the room
Alan Kohler
The Spanish bank bailout may have taken some heat out of the European crisis, but it's likely to be short lived as Italy's debt trap reminds the world why it should never have been admitted to the EMU.

Risky manoeuvres on Spain's bailout circuit
Karen Maley
While European officials congratulate themselves on Spain's bailout, investors will be worrying the rescue merely reinforces the union's doomed dynamic between indebted governments and troubled banks.

Time to muzzle the RBA?
James Kirby
RBA governor Glenn Stevens speaks too often... and the bank is weaker for it.

A lesson from Mowbray's bad books
Robert Gottliebsen
The collapse of Victoria's Mowbray College is a warning for many private schools following the same funding model and now over-reliant on debt.

Fairfax's downward revenue race
Stephen Bartholomeusz
The latest earnings guidance shows Fairfax is still losing its race to cut costs by more than revenue losses. As pressure builds, the company is becoming increasingly vulnerable to some form of strategic play.

A new breed of retail letter bomb
Alan Kohler
Online retailer The Iconic is at the vanguard of a new wave of websites competing on service, not price. And their traffic numbers are a dire threat to existing store retailers.

CLIMATE SPECTATOR: Australia's carbon tax opportunity
Tristan Edis
Australia's carbon tax may be among the highest in the world, but our blinkered obsession with this detail is blurring the bigger picture on taxes and global competitiveness.

Polling the real Julia
Michael Gawenda
The reliance on opinion polls to drive political reporting is getting out of hand. To spare us and save our politicians, the Canberra press gallery needs to break its addiction and get real again.

Why monetary policy can't save America
Peter Morici
As the US economy drifts towards recession, the Federal Reserve has run out of levers to pull and no monetary policy tool can compensate for the country's structural problems and gaffes of the Obama administration.

Spain 1, Ireland nil
Cliona O'Dowd
If the Spanish bank bailout had been similar enough to Ireland's rescue package, the Irish may have been afforded some negotiation on the terms of theirs, but for now they'll just have to wait.

Wishing won't make a housing boom
Craig Peacock
Glenn Stevens' latest speech indicates Australians are unlikely to see a return to the 'unusual' house price boom of the last decade, no matter how much they want it.

The EU may silence a crowing Swan
Rob Burgess
With larger national debt than Paul Keating left for John Howard and little room to manoeuvre, events unfolding in Europe this weekend are a latent bomb for Wayne Swan.

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