- Politico has a great survey out this morning of 23 leading economists and/or political thinkers answering the following questions: “Could the Economy Tank in 2016?” It’s an interesting panel. As with all predictions of economists, there’s lots of “on the one hand…and then on the other…” style equivocation, but rightly so given the complexities involved. Notwithstanding this, here’s my informal scorecard of the 23: 2 yes, 6ish maybe, 2 non-responsive answers, and 13 no. That said, even among the 13 no responses, the two key takeaways seem to be that the economy will grow slow and sluggishly, and our political system possess great risk to the economy. Elsewhere, Harvard economist Carmen Reinhart argues in Project Syndicate (a site that is consistently outstanding) that global political risk of a sovereign debt default posses grave risk in 2016, particularly given the coordination of defaults by nation states, charted in the graph below.
- Scott Winship talks with Ben Domenech about his recent essay and inequality generally for The Federalist via podcast. Scott has been a HUGE influence and mentor to me. My writing on inequality (part-1 and part-2) cites him heavily.
- Grover Norquist discussed the problems with “turning cops into tax collectors.” They are deep. Conor Friedersdorf first brought this matter to my attention through his essay on the Department of Justice report on the racial problems with policing in Ferguson, MO.
- Maria Popova of the OUTSTANDING Brain Pickings, which shares all types of miscellaneous insight and inspiration, have a ton of great “Best of 2015” lists that are well worth reading. This is the best of the Brain Pickings website in 2015 and here is a list of her “Best of 2015” lists.
- An older piece I’ve recently returned to Reason: What are the characteristics of things government tends to be good at, particularly from the perspective of a skeptic of government efficacy? How did government perform so highly during the space race? Essay here and interview with the authors here (conducted by the outstanding Nick Gillespie). Bonus: The R.E.M. song this work borrows its name from.
- “Some $548 billion fled emerging markets in 2015, the largest outflow since 1988.” Dambisa Moyo calls it “The Global Migration Blowback.”
- Last, two beautiful data visualizations, shared more for their beauty than their insight. Via Linda Regber’s Data Stories Twitter account, a visualization of historic rainfall in San Francisco, CA, also embedded below. Second, Max Galka shares an Information is Beautiful visualization of evidence for popular health supplements. I don’t vouch for the veracity of the underlying data, but the visualization is incredible. I’ve embedded a picture below, but the picture doesn’t do the interactive functionality justice, so do click through and check it out.