EDITOR'S PICKS

This week, Alan Kohler and Rob Burgess asked just how Labour plans to pay for its big spending ambitions, while Stephen Bartholomeusz picks apart the Qantas - Emirates tie up.

Both sides of politics lose the fiscal plot
Alan Kohler
Like the Coalition's carbon plan, Labor's education spending commitments are totally irresponsible. Julia Gillard may as well add that Australia will land a person on Mars.

ECB's unlimited bond buy: What happens now
Stephen Koukoulas
The European Central Bank's commitment to buy unlimited bonds to ease sovereign borrowing costs and promote growth is a crucial and welcome step in transitioning the eurozone to a safe fiscal destination.

Qantas in the 21st Century
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Qantas' deal with Dubai-based Emirates will reshape the iconic airline for a new future. Were it to move from being an end-of-the-line to mere regional carrier would that be such a bad thing?

Unleashing the stimulus beast
Robert Gottliebsen
Stimulus is on the cards in the US, the EU and China. The fate of our economy rests on whether leaders can achieve consensus on action.

China grasps for a growth alternative
John Lee
As China's state-dominated fixed investment model runs out of steam and Beijing looks for alternatives, China forecasts will be fraught with trouble.

Just the ticket for Qantas
Stephen Bartholomeusz
In a partnership that will allow a restructured network, more customer-oriented business and reconfigured fleet, Alan Joyce has delivered what could be a defining moment in the airline's history.

This is the way to pay for Labor's rash promises
Rob Burgess
The Gonski reforms are the third big spending plan announced within weeks of a warning Labor's annual budget will be hit to the tune of $10 billion. The only fat left to trim is on super concessions.

A precarious global outlook
Stephen Koukoulas
The G7 economies are in deep trouble and China and Asia are caught in the wash. Expect more quantitative easing and euro bond purchases as the problem, alas, is far from over.

The Nationals' Cubbie Station storm in a teacup
Stephen Bartholomeusz
By any reasonable reading, the conditions attached to the sale of Australia's largest cotton farm ensure our national interests are well looked after. It makes the Nationals' opposition perplexing.

Billabong finally catches a break
Stephen Bartholomeusz
With the announcement that a second – most likely private equity – suitor is interested in Billabong, the surfwear maker finally has some leverage to secure a better future.

Grollo is leading the IR battle
Robert Gottliebsen
Business leaders and the miners in particular should support Daniel Grollo in taking on the unions. If he loses, production costs will spiral just as Australia enters a slowdown.

The great debt hangover
Bill Gross, PIMCO
Our banking system was once hypercharged on debt and had overheads to match. Now that interest yields are so low they have to cut costs quickly, stop lending, or tip over.

Contracts for closure: the real story
Alan Kohler
It's true Labor's ETS switch has priced brown coal power generators out of its reach, but there's no confidence in Australia's long-term gas supply anyway.

Labor reveals its carbon cynicism
Rob Burgess
By pulling out of negotiations with major carbon emitters, Julia Gillard has all but given up the
chance to reach a 5 per cent emissions reduction by 2020.

More school morals, less accounting 101
Michael Gawenda
The debate we need to have is not about how Gillard’s education crusade will be funded but how to reverse the growing gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children.

China grasps for a growth alternative
John Lee
As China's state-dominated fixed investment model runs out of steam and Beijing looks for alternatives, China forecasts will be fraught with trouble.

China bulls in a haze
Michael Pettis
For years, China bulls extolled the success of the country's growth model. As conditions deteriorate, it's unclear if they grasp the full difficulty of rebalancing China.

TECHNOLOGY SPECTATOR: Australia's auto future
Neerav Bhatt
As Australia's auto industry struggles to drive itself forward, the likes of Ford and Holden may be better off focusing on R&D instead of manufacturing.

Fortescue accepts the oversupply reality
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Fortescue Metals' decision to cut 25 per cent of its uncompleted expansion program signifies the miner's acknowledgement of the quick switch, from excessive demand to oversupply, in iron ore.

CLIMATE SPECTATOR: Look out for the budget razor gang
Tristan Edis
With tax revenue on the wane, the government will be desperate for savings including in clean energy. But programs outside the budget, like the Renewable Energy Target, should escape the arbitrary cuts.