In this week's essential reading guide Kohler debunks fiscal cliff terrors, Bartholomeusz says Gorgon's gas is still gold, Koukoulas parses the RBA's shame and Gottliebsen explains why young home buyers are on strike.

The fiscal cliff conspiracy of fear
Alan Kohler
It's in the interests of politicians, Wall Street and the media to terrify the world over an imminent fiscal cliff deadline. But while American CEOs remain fearful, the reality isn't so dire.

Moguls try again before hanging Ten
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Despite initial denials, Ten's famously rich owners have opted for a capital raising in what is surely their last attempt to turn around the network's failing fortunes.

Miners must fess up on IR dirt
Robert Gottliebsen
Disastrous industrial relations agreements approved by mining chiefs made it inevitable productivity would slump and costs blow out. Until they admit their mistakes there'll be no change.

Gas still gold despite Chevron's big bill
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Despite a staggering 40 per cent cost blowout, and the looming danger of short-sighted state government-led anti-competition measures, Chevron's Gorgon project, and LNG in general, presents attractive economics.

Abbott's long labour of love and hate
Alister Drysdale
Tony Abbott accepts his next job will almost certainly be prime minister. But the coming year will only get tougher as he strives to stay on top of the polls by any means, fair or foul.

The RBA's shameful 2012
Stephen Koukoulas
With the exception of May-June, the Reserve Bank has been behind the eight ball all year. Our hollowed out economy is paying the price and, with a timid cut expected today, will continue to do so well into 2013.

A relentless Aussie dollar defies the RBA
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Sinking terms of trade and a shrinking resources investment pipeline mean this month's rate cut was a near certainty. But the dollar's refusal to reflect the change in outlook is the big concern.

Has the penny finally dropped for Gina Rinehart?
James Kirby
As Gina Rinehart dithers over her allocation in Ten's capital raising, surely she must be realising it's not necessary to spend millions to gain a broad media reach.

Why Gillard's contract won't kill bills
Keith Orchison
Julia Gillard has managed to get some positive spin about electricity bills into the headlines. But it's absolutely certain the COAG proposals won't reduce energy costs for households or small business.

Young buyers tear up the housing plan
Robert Gottliebsen
First home buyers' tendency to weigh mortgages against rent repayments has caught builders by surprise. And unless rates fall much further it's likely to pressure the broader economy.

Time for Canberra to claw back some GST
Rob Burgess
A broader GST base could bring the budget into rosier health and leave vulnerable Australians better off. And this may be just the moment for Julia Gillard to cut a deal.

Seven lost years for England
Stephen Koukoulas
Following a budget update that confirms a horrific cocktail of sharply lower growth projections, higher debt and a longer recovery, it will take a remarkable turn for the UK to avoid a ratings downgrade.

Who'll pull the trigger on the eurozone?
Oliver Marc Hartwich
The eurozone is going nowhere but its leaders, despite growing market scepticism, remain in denial. The moment when harsh reality sinks in, and extreme actions are finally taken, will likely be sparked by either markets or taxpayers.

Hu goes long in China's factional fight
Wen-Ti Sung
Despite being edged almost completely out of the new Politburo Standing Committee, in the long term Hu Jintao's more moderate faction looks set to supplant Jiang Zemin's as the dominant force in Chinese politics.

Confronting a boardroom gender shock
Leon Gettler
Australia's dismal record on gender diversity in the workplace is set for a rude awakening in 2013, when new legislation will force companies to tackle the problem head on.

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