1. How Good Are Experienced Presidents? Examines the historical data on governmental experience vs. presidential greatness. If the Obama campaign takes the bait on Palin and focuses on her extreme inexperience, we'll be hearing even more about the importance of "experience" to being a good president. I hope the Obama campaign is smart enough not to mount an all-out attack on Palin's inexperience. Use it purely defensively—that is, whenever McCain tries to argue that Obama lacks the requisite experience to be president. The high command of the Obama campaign is top-shelf though, so I trust they won't run full-speed into an argument over experience. 2. Tom Friedman: China must become America. Friedman continues to set world records in shark-jumping. Now he thinks China must "gradually develop a cleaner, knowledge-based, service/finance economy. It has to move from 'made in China' to 'designed in China' to 'imagined in China.' In short, the economy here has to become greener and smarter." How about instead, we just give China our finance sector? 3. Experts Recommend Books to Help Explain What's Going On in the Economy. Curiously, not one of the 14 experts recommended Mohamed El-Erian's terrific new book, When Markets Collide, which specifically tries to provide a framework for understanding the ongoing transformation of the global economy. Best pick goes to Mark Cuban:
No recommendation. Cuban says: "I don't think there is such a book. In my humble opinion, people who actually believe they can understand all the issues are the ones that got us to where we are today. In reality, there are so many variables and so little data, it's all a guess. I don't think a book exists that can explain it. Is there a book out there called 'No One Has a Clue What Is Going On and the Whole World Is Guessing'?"True story. Worst pick (or, more accurately, worst reasoning) goes to Greg Mankiw, who recommends Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom, and stresses that "[i]n this difficult economic time, it is important to keep first principles firmly in mind." Maybe it's just me, but "keep[ing] first priciples firmly in mind" sounds an awful lot like "clinging to ideology."