EDITORS' PICKS

In this week's essential reading guide, Kohler predicts a topsy-turvy federal election campaign, Gottliebsen detects time bombs in Swan's budget projections, Bartholomeusz says the resource rent tax is not the economic saviour it's cracked up to be and Maley warns against ignoring Australia's inflation problems.

Attack of the Androids
Alan Kohler
While Apple is toasting the success of the iPhone and the burgeoning apps market, Google's Android operating system now has higher market share. The 'free' versus 'paid' content war has a long way to run.

BUDGET 2010: The worm turns
Alan Kohler
Neither Kevin Rudd nor Tony Abbott can make any election promises without blowing the budget. With the ALP promoting surplus budgets and low debt while the Coalition promises to spend more, it will be an unusual election campaign.

BUDGET 2010: Treasury time bombs?
Robert Gottliebsen
While it’s easy to be distracted by the Treasurer’s surplus predictions and new spending measures, it’s important to take heed of those small announcements that could turn into time bombs. Here are three where the fuse has already been lit.

Raising taxes while Rome burns
Robert Gottliebsen
In the absence of the sovereign debt crisis and a China slowdown, the resource rent tax would just be a very bad idea. But when combined with the global problems, it threatens to become a calamity.

Surpluses by sophists
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Whether the resource rent tax is ultimately imposed in its current form or redesigned, it won’t raise the revenue the government is claiming it will to get to that $1 billion surplus.

CBA's best of times
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Not only has CBA's earnings been boosted by falling impairment charges, but the bank is also benefitting from customer margins that are much more stable than its peers.

BUDGET 2010: Ignoring inflation
Karen Maley
Surging private sector spending brought on by the mining boom could be doused by introducing sharp cuts in government spending. But Wayne Swan has shunned this approach and as a result is risking high inflation and high interest rates.

Brace for China's heavy braking
Karen Maley
The Chinese sharemarket is reacting to worries that the government will soon lift interest rates following rising inflation and surging property prices. Such a move would be very bad news for Australia.

BUDGET 2010: Rudd on the defensive
Natasha Stott Despoja
For a budget that was supposed to be 'politics-lite', the 2010 federal budget does target some areas in which the Labor government is politically vulnerable.

Behind the resource rent tax hysteria
David Buckingham
Former Minerals Council head David Buckingham explains why projects must be very profitable indeed to face the 'very high' tax rates the mining sector is complaining about.