Top politicians and business leaders will practically gather next week for the DealBook DC Policy Project to discuss the future of politics, economics, markets, and more. Register here to join us for free from anywhere in the world.
With a new administration in Washington, the real work – and debate – about political priorities begins in earnest. We have gathered some of the most influential players in this conversation to attend a two-day event, the DealBook DC Policy Project, which begins Monday.
Between a health crisis and an associated economic downturn, there are crucial political questions about how to proceed. It is not only about the impulses that are necessary for a short-term restart of the economy, but also about the measures that are necessary for a sustainable and lasting recovery. Everything from taxes to labor, trade, competition and markets is on the table.
This project started in December with a series of expert roundtables on climate policy, US-China relations, the future of capitalism and much more. Starting Monday, we’ll be discussing details with a number of decision makers to understand how they feel about the most pressing challenges we face. I hope that we can learn lessons from the sessions that will fuel the national conversation and make us all think a little deeper about our role in creating solutions.
The agenda is below. I hope you can participate.
Monday, February 22nd, 9 a.m. to 9.30 a.m.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on her way to recovery
The way out of the pandemic is paved with debt. In addition to the $ 1.9 trillion economic aid plan that is running through Congress, the White House is raising the prospect of yet another major package of spending focused on infrastructure. Although the economy is recovering faster than expected, it remains fragile and uneven.
Navigating this path is Janet Yellen, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve who took office as Treasury Secretary last month. It is under pressure to reduce the deficit, which skyrocketed during the worst downturn in the pandemic, and to dispel fears that aggressive spending could boost inflation if pent-up demand is unleashed. In addition to reviving the economy, Ms. Yellen’s to-do list includes reviewing Wall Street deregulation under former President Donald J. Trump, resetting U.S. trade ties, and incorporating inclusivity, climate, and other priorities into policy making in a more comprehensive way than tried so far.
The Daily has taken an in-depth look at Ms. Yellen’s biography and how her background informs her why “the smartest thing we can do is act big,” as she said at her audit hearing.
Monday, February 22nd, 2.30pm – 3pm
Attorney General Letitia James of New York on the power of accountability
Letitia James has more high profile cases and investigations on her plate today than most lawyers can handle in their lifetime. The way in which it uses its power also shows how states can shape national politics.
The New York attorney general sued Amazon this week, accusing it of failing to protect warehouse workers amid the pandemic, undaunted by the company’s preventive action to block the charges. Their most recent research into nursing home deaths found that New York had grossly underestimated the numbers. Her office also took over New York City Police Department last year to handle protests against racial justice and investigate fraud in Donald Trump’s business dealings in a civil suit that may become a criminal matter. She is suing the National Rifle Association and its leadership for misconduct.
She heads a coalition of attorneys-general dealing with Facebook, accusing the tech giant of illegally knocking down the competition. And yesterday, she also teamed up with other AGs to urge Congress to scrap federal student loan debt on behalf of consumer protection.
And that’s just the short list.
When Ms. James was elected in 2018, she broke three racial and gender barriers: the first woman in New York to be elected attorney general, the first black woman to be elected to national office, and the first black person to be a lawyer acted general.
Monday, February 22, 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Ed Bastian from Delta on the future of travel
Last year was said to be “the toughest year in Delta history” Ed Bastian, the executive director of the airline. The airline reported a loss of more than $ 12 billion when travel stalled during the pandemic. However, unlike its competitors, Delta was able to avoid mass vacations and turned down a rescue loan. Instead, it chose to raise money by using its loyalty program.
In addition to feeling the economic impact of the pandemic, the aviation industry is at the center of public health debates such as requiring masks that have been welcomed by airlines and requiring pre-travel coronavirus tests, which they opt for Have opposed domestic flights.
Overall, the industry is losing more than $ 150 million a day, and it won’t make sense to turn around until high margin business travel picks up. However, some experts say business travel may never fully recover as in-person meetings are permanently replaced with video conferencing.
“Leadership is not a popularity contest,” Bastian told our Corner Office columnist in a comprehensive interview about leading the company through booms and busts.
Monday, February 22nd, 4 p.m. – 4.30 p.m.
Steve Ballmer of USAFacts on Stimulus by Numbers
Since his resignation as Microsoft CEO in 2014 Steve Ballmer has dealt as the NBA’s most energetic team owner. He also founded USAFacts, a nonprofit group dedicated to presenting critical data about the United States in easy-to-read formats.
The idea behind the group, whose projects include an annual US scorecard modeled on corporate annual reports, is to give Americans the essential facts about their government they need to make informed political decisions. In collaboration with scientists and other experts, Mr Ballmer’s group would like to use the taxpayers’ money to “find out what the government is really doing”.
With $ 3.4 trillion spent on economic relief last year – that’s the equivalent of $ 10,300 for every American.
Tuesday, February 23, 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
CVS Health’s Karen Lynch on the launch of the vaccine
Karen Lynch acquired CVS Health earlier this month as the pharmacy chain is at the center of efforts to fight the pandemic. She is working with the government to distribute the coronavirus vaccine in their stores, as well as in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. To support these efforts, the company hired 15,000 people late last year.
President Biden has warned of “gigantic” logistical hurdles during the rollout. CVS, which could generate $ 1 billion in profit from the program next year, also aims to reach underserved communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
The job market for pharmacists is booming as chains rush to hire employees to meet demand for vaccinations.
Tuesday, February 23, 2.30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Robinhood’s Vlad Tenev and former SEC chairman Jay Clayton in the markets
Nothing has caught Wall Street’s attention more in recent weeks than meme stick mania as video game retailer GameStop and other unlikely companies briefly became the hottest things on the markets. At the center of the frenzy was the online brokerage Robinhood, which attracted millions of users with commission-free trades, but caused outrage among its users when it stopped trading GameStop and other stocks at the height of the madness.
Vlad Tenev, a co-founder of Robinhood and its managing director, has been brought into the spotlight. At a congressional hearing on Thursday about Robinhood’s business practices, he was questioned hostile for hours. Attention was drawn to normally unclear things such as payment for order flow, clearinghouse deposit requirements and the timing of trade settlement. Mr. Tenev has called for changes to some of these practices while others have been defended.
To join him is Jay Clayton, the veteran Wall Street attorney who headed the Securities and Exchange Commission during the Trump administration. From the start of his tenure, Mr. Clayton said his mission was to protect “the long-term interests of the Main Street investor”. To that end, the commission took action against cryptocurrency fraud on his watch. What the SEC is doing now – if at all – to address another potential episode of meme stick turmoil (or something similar) is open to debate. (Mr. Clayton has since returned to Corporate America to become the executive independent director of Apollo Global Management.)
Citadel Securities is a shadow company that does more than a quarter of all stock trading in the US (including a large proportion of Robinhood’s business), making it a major player in debates about the future of market structure.
Tuesday, February 23, 5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Senator Mitt Romney on finding common ground
In stark contrast to many of his party colleagues, Senator Mitt RomneyThe Utah Republican crossed party lines twice to convict President Donald Trump of impeachment.
Mr Romney also recently proposed a family benefits program that includes monthly payments of up to $ 350 per child, which has been approved by many Democrats. It compared to a plan by President Biden.
Although some have accused him of just being a Republican, Mr Romney is in fact politically conservative and works with members on the right wing of his party. He is drafting a bill with Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas to increase the minimum wage and forbid companies from hiring undocumented immigrants. This is typical of Mr. Romney’s approach in that he highlights concerns on both sides of the aisle.