Opinionomics: must-read analysis and comment

A merry Charles Murray, the mansion tax and David Blanchflower on the Budget.

1. Osborne should invest in jobs to beat depression – not cut the 50p tax rate (Independent)

David Blanchflower calls for the Chancellor to give firms renewed incentive to hire and invest in the UK, rather than spending billions cutting tax for the wealthiest in the nation.

2. How a mansion tax helps the rich (Stumbling and Mumbling)

Supporters of a mansion tax seem to have overlooked something - that such a tax would not be a tax upon the rich so much as upon the older rich, writes Tyler Cowen.

3. Out of sight, out of mind, still on the books (Economist)

The result of less visible public spending is that voters are less able to make informed judgments about their governments' expenditures, argues Free Exchange

4. Free-Trade Blinders (Project Syndicate)

Fetishizing globalization simply because it expands the economic pie is the surest way to delegitimize it in the long run, writes Dani Rodrik, who presents a remarkable example as to why we should assess whether we actually believe our own arguments.

5. Lunch with the FT: Charles Murray (Financial Times)

The social scientist talks to Ed Luce about black-truffle pasta, blue-collar America, and why the Republican party’s candidates for the White House fill him with despair.

Mansion, taxed: Wrest Park, in Sisloe, England. Credit: 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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FTSE 100 plunges after Theresa May signals hard Brexit ahead

The Prime Minister is to lay out her Brexit plan later today. 

The FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250 plummeted this morning after the Prime Minister signalled Brexit will mean leaving the single market.

Theresa May is expected to rule out "partial membership" or any other kind of "half-in, half-out" deal with the EU in a speech later today.

The FTSE 100, the index of the UK's 100 biggest companies, and the FTSE 250 both fell more than 0.3 per cent immediately after opening. 

The worst performers included the housebuilder Barratt Developments, consumer goods tester Intertek and the mining company BHP.

Stock markets have been buoyant since Brexit, in part because many of Britain's biggest companies are international and benefit from a devalued pound. 

However, while markets fell, the pound crept up against the dollar, to $1.21. 

Critics of the Prime Minister say she is sacrificing the economy to prioritise immigration controls.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady warned: "If we leave the single market, working people will end up paying the price. It'd be bad for jobs, for work rights & for our living standards."

According to the Office for National Statistics, inflation rose from 1.2 per cent in November to 1.6 per cent in December. 

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