All Articles Finance While You Were Working - April 12

While You Were Working – April 12

Trump says Yellen is "not toast," SWIFT fights hacks with 1990s-style defense, Uber tires of saying oops and tax reform might not work out the way Red states had planned

4 min read


Janet Yellen4

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is happy she is "not toast" - Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Trump the centrist?

In one single interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Trump appears to be backpedaling on three campaign promises.

  1. Trump says he will not label China a currency manipulator.
  2. Trump now supports the Export-Import Bank and says he will soon fill two vacant seats on the Ex-Im board.
  3. Stating “I do like a low-interest rate policy,” Trump is now warming to the idea of re-nominating Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve Chair when her term expires in 2018.

Former President Jimmy Carter said during the early days of the presidential campaign of 2016 that he preferred Donald Trump to Sen. Ted Cruz because Trump’s views would be malleable if he was elected, while Cruz would be less so because he actually deeply believed in some of the policies he espoused.

I would not be surprised if the Trump presidency evolves into a much more centrist administration. Trump has always been a survivor because he is not afraid to pivot and changes his views when it suits his needs and interests. One of the biggest problems in “the swamp” is that politicians are so polarized. It used to be that differences in D.C. extended only to policies. Now differences extend to outright personal hatred between elected officials.

Having been burned by the far-right in his first attempt at health care reform, what if Trump realizes that he can get far more done by freezing out the fringes of both parties and leveraging the center. Imagine if Trump’s greatest legacy ends up being that he “fixed” Washington by dragging it back to the middle. If he does that, he will have succeeded where President Barack Obama had failed. And that fact alone might be motivation enough for Trump to do it.

SWIFT caught up to the 1990s

After hackers penetrated the transaction processes of SWIFT and pilfered millions of dollars, the interbank messaging cooperative says it will roll out a system to notify member institutions of suspicious transactions. Considering SWIFT handles billions of dollars in transactions, it is quite remarkable that its response to an embarrassingly high-profile hack is to introduce a service consumer banks have been offering customers since the 1990s.

This awkward analysis of tax reform surfaced

A new analysis from CNBC, using data from the right-wing Tax Foundation, reveals residents of Blue states will benefit more from the tax reforms currently being mooted in Washington. The median income of residents of some Blue states is probably having an oversized impact on the data, but that is still an awkward headline for a GOP that controls all three branches of government.

Uber made a comms move

I have written in the space before about the head-scratching difficulty Uber has been having in 2017 managing a cascade of negative news stories. Each story was born of different situations, but they all seemed to be self-inflicted. And none of them were spun particularly well. I am someone who believes the corporate communications needs of a tech company in Silicon Valley can be very different from the corporate communications needs of company engaged in the slightly more rough and tumble worlds of Wall Street and Washington, D.C. The latter requires a wee bit sharper elbows, if you will.

With that in mind, Rachel Whetston is leaving her post atop Uber’s communications team. Whetstone spent a decade at Google before joining Uber two years ago and now says she has tired of the “always on” aspect of being the head of comms for a multi-billion dollar company. Whetstone’s deputy, Jill Hazelbaker, will now take the reins. Hazelbaker has places like Google and Snap on her resume, but she also brings a deeper political background, having worked on the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain.

I guess we will see if that political experience serves her and Uber well as the company navigates a landscape rife with risks that are far more political than technological.

 WYWW Appetizers

  • People are still looking at the business dealings between President Donald Trump and Deutsche Bank from the wrong perspective
  • AS Monaco beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2
  • Real Madrid bested Bayern Munich 2-1
  • Atletico Madrid topped Leicester City 1-0