Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Why did the Grenfell Tower high-rise apartment block in West London burn up, killing at least 79 people? Investigations into the calamitous fire are just beginning and will probably take years to complete. But it has already exposed one persistent problem: Britain’s disastrous approach to housing.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Even global-warming sceptics can be alarmed by Donald Trump’s pledge to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. In fact, thoughtful sceptics might be best placed to worry. Since they do not see any increased environmental threat, they are able to focus on where Trump is doing the most damage: to the still fragile system of global governance.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The World Economic Forum should know better. In its recent white paper on pensions, “We’ll live to 100 – how can we afford it?” the group behind the Davos uber-conference repeats the conventional wisdom on the topic: that everyone should save more. While that might be helpful advice for many reasons, no amount of current savings can reduce the burden of future pensions.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - For centuries, cross-border trade has come with a currency problem. The expansion of globalisation has not made it any less pressing. The dilemma identified by the economist Robert Triffin is a powerful – and alarmingly current – reminder that a worldwide foreign exchange crisis is only one big mood change away.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The modern economy has discredited all the leading modern political ideologies. The new nationalists are the latest to discover this inconvenient truth.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Anyone wondering about the curious predicaments of Jeffrey Lacker and Paul Tucker might want to cast a glance at a 1906 comment in Banker’s Magazine, a British trade journal: “The money market is controlled by the joint-stock banks and the Bank of England is compelled to seek their active cooperation in order to protect its stock of gold.” The terms are dated, but the compulsion problem is current. Central banks are too weak to do their job well.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - For fans of explicitly ethical stakeholder capitalism, Unilever’s rebuttal of a takeover approach by Kraft Heinz last month was a great moment. On one side, a company that made a big deal about thinking long term and creating good products as well as profit for shareholders. On the other, a business run by some of the harshest corporate cost-cutters around. With little more than a few phone calls, the Anglo-Dutch consumer product giant saw off the much smaller competitor. Virtue triumphs over vice.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Trade surpluses are supposedly a menace. Donald Trump cites America's deficits with China, Germany and Mexico as reasons to totally rewrite the rules of trade. But why, exactly, are surpluses a problem? After all, for those toiling away outside the dismal sciences, they might even sound like a good idea.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Warren Buffett has become a cult object. The 86-year-old chairman of Berkshire Hathaway is venerated for his tremendous investment returns, as well as his folk wisdom and cheerleading for America. But the sage of Omaha deserves as much criticism as adulation.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Numbers don’t lie. If only that saying were even halfway true. Official statistics are increasingly becoming a plaything of politicians. If the trend continues, the results will be bad for everyone. Unfortunately, the statisticians aren’t in a strong position to defend themselves. They haven’t always been loud and clear in proclaiming the messy truth behind their measures.