Opinionomics | 2 May 2012

Must-read comment and analysis. Featuring a sweary Stephen King, and burgers in Buenos Aires.

1. A European macro-question for Paul Krugman (Kantoos Economics)

Kantoos suggests that "the optimal policy – taking ECB policy as given – is to add monetary and fiscal stimulus to the periphery (only), as far as that’s possible, such that the period of adjustment is less painful, and limit the overheating of the German economy".

2. Why Big Macs Are Cheap In Argentina (Slate | Moneybox)

He's addressed it a couple of times before, but here Matt Yglesias lays out the full history behind the quirk that is Argentine burger prices.

3. Dear Bank of Japan: So you tried the easing thing a gazillion times… (FT alphaville)

David Keohane suggests that maybe Japan might like to consider a currency floor.

4. If Hollande takes victory he will need to win Merkel over too (Independent)

Margareta Pagano writes that Hollande's first visit as president should be to Berlin to persuade Merkel that austerity alone is not enough.

5. Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake! (The Daily Beast)

Stephen King scolds the superrich (including himself—and Mitt Romney) for not giving back, and warns of a Kingsian apocalyptic scenario if inequality is not addressed in America.

Cheaper in Argentina: A Big Mac. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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