Shortly after Barack Obama delivered his first (free) speech today since leaving the White House in Chicago before an invitation-only crowd of college students, community organizers and other fans, Fox News’ Charlie Gasparino reports that in what may be his first paid speaking arrangement, Obama will be paid $400,000 to speak at Cantor Fitzgerald’s healthcare conference this September, setting the benchmark for how much an hour of the former president’s time will cost going forward.
Obama, who spent years bashing big banks (even if, like Trump, ultimately achieved nothing to halt Wall Street’s dominance) will deliver the keynote address at the organization’s lunch in what will be one of his first paid speeches.
“What sources are telling FOX Business Network is that former President Obama, now less than 100 days out of office, has agreed to a speaking engagement during Cantor Fitzgerald’s healthcare conference in September,” FBN’s Gasparino said. “We understand that he is going to be the keynote speaker for the lunch, and he’s going to receive a fee of $400,000. We should point out that that’s in line with what Hilary Clinton got… we should point out that Cantor will neither confirm or deny.”
Ahead of Trump’s much anticipated tax announcement on Wednesday, the WSJ reports that the president has ordered his (mostly ex-Goldman) White House aides to accelerate efforts to create a tax plan “slashing the corporate rate to 15% and prioritizing cuts in tax rates over an attempt to not increase the deficit” which means that without an offsetting source of revenue, Trump is about to unleash the debt spigots, a proposal which will face fierce pushback from conservatives as it is nothing more than a continuation of the status quo under the Obama administration, and may well be DOA.
The WSJ adds that during an Oval Office meeting last week, “Trump told staff he wants a massive tax cut to sell to the American people” and that it was “less important to him if the plan loses revenue.”
Hoping to add a sense of dramatic urgency – after all his 100 day deadline hits on Saturday – Trump told his team to “get it done,” in time to release a plan by Wednesday.
Translation: Trump’s massive tax cut will be funded by debt, and as a result, will be at best temporary as it will be in breach of the revenue constraints in the reconciliation process; at worst it will never happen as it will now require Democrat votes.
The prime minister added the Iranian deal should be reviewed or revoked.
“There’s no question that the deal with Iran, which paves the way to eventual Iranian acquisition of the critical elements of nuclear bombs and nuclear arsenal, something we don’t accept and never signed on the deal and we won’t let happen,” Netanyahu said Friday.
“My position vis-a-vis the deal with Iran… repeal or replace,” Netanyahu said, adding that Washington should not let Tehran “have the best of all world.”
The relations between Israel and Iran have been strained since the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s. The ties are overshadowed by a number of issues, including Tehran’s nuclear and missile programs accompanied by controversial anti-Israeli statements of high-ranking Iranian officials, such as former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
As pressure mounts on Trump to post some victories within the totally arbitrary window of the “First 100 Days” of his administration, the President is expected to join Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin later this afternoon to sign a combination of executive orders and memos targeting the reduction of tax regulations and certain components of Dodd-Frank.
Per a statement from the White House, one of Trump’s new executive orders will seek to undo tax rules put in place in the last year of Obama’s presidency that were designed to limit so-called ‘corporate inversions’ which allows U.S. traded companies to recognize income in lower cost countries like Ireland. Per Bloomberg:
Under President Barack Obama, Treasury sought to rein in U.S. companies’ attempts to shift their profit offshore by proposing rules that would curb so-called “earnings stripping” and inversions — mergers in which U.S. companies transfer their tax address overseas to low-tax countries like Ireland to cut their tax bills.
Some of those rules, first proposed in April 2016, sought to restrict lending among subsidiaries of the same corporate parent, a technique that can create income in low-tax countries and tax-deductible interest payments in the U.S. The proposed rules met a barrage of criticism from corporations and tax lawyers, who complained that they went too far by banning common, everyday cash-management practices that have nothing to do with tax avoidance.
Amid the criticism, Treasury last October softened the proposed rules to allow cash pooling, a common corporate money-management technique in which excess cash in subsidiaries is swept daily into a single pool. It also delayed a related proposal, which would require companies to extensively document their related-party lending, until Jan. 1, 2018.
The U.S. Treasury Department has decided not to label China a currency manipulator in a report published Friday on the foreign exchange policies of America’s key trading partners, backing away from President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to do so.
The move was apparently taken out of consideration for China, which the U.S. hopes will help rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
This was the Trump administration’s first release of the twice-yearly report, which evaluates the foreign exchange policies of major U.S. trading partners.
Although the report did not signal a major shift in Washington’s own currency policy, it is likely Trump will try to use the issue as a bargaining chip in negotiations with other countries. The U.S. may try to limit the dollar’s rise against the yen in its first economic dialogue with Japan, scheduled for Tuesday. Japan’s large trade surplus will probably be high on the agenda.
Trump’s Treasury Department used the same standards for determining currency manipulation as those of the previous administration under President Barack Obama. The report kept China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany and Switzerland on a watch list as they met some of the criteria.
When one strips away the partisan rhetoric and posturing, the practical impact of Friday’s GOP failure to repeal Obamacare has a specific monetary impact: approximately $1 trillion.
Since the ObamaCare repeal bill would have eliminated most of the 2010 health law’s taxes, this would have lowered by a similar amount the revenue baseline for tax reform. Essentially, with the ObamaCare taxes gone, it would have been easier to pay for lowering tax rates. Now, if Republicans want to eliminate the ObamaCare taxes as part of tax reform and ensure the bill does not add to the deficit – which they need to do to assure Trump’s reform process continues under Reconciliation, avoiding the need for 60 votes in the Senate – they will have to raise almost $1 trillion in revenue.
In other words that – all else equal – is how much less tax cuts Trumps and the republicans will be able to pursue unless of course they somehow find a source of $1 trillion in tax revenue (or otherwise simply add to the budget deficit) to offset the Obamacare overhang.
Considering Paul Ryan’s statement on Friday, it appears that at least for the time being, Republicans would leave the ObamaCare taxes in place. “That just means the ObamaCare taxes stay with ObamaCare,” he said. “We’re going to go fix the rest of the tax code.”
Ryan also pushed back on the idea that the setback on healthcare previews difficulties with other items on the legislative agenda “I don’t think this is prologue to other future things, because members realize there are other parts of our agenda that people have even more agreement on what to achieve,” he said. “We have even more agreement on the need and the nature of tax reform, on funding the government, on rebuilding the military, on securing the border.”
Update: echoing comments made by Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the top House Democrat said that the Trump budget proposal is “dead on arrival.“
Today at 7am, Trump released his “skinny budget”, his administration’s first federal budget blueprint revealing the President’s plan to dramatically reduce the size of the government. As previewed last night, the document calls for deep cuts at departments and agencies that would eliminate entire programs and slash the size of the federal workforce. It also proposes a $54 billion increase in defense spending, which the White House says will be offset by the other cuts.
“This is the ‘America First’ budget,” said White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman who made a name for himself as a spending hawk before Trump plucked him for his Cabinet, adding that “if he said it in the campaign, it’s in the budget.”
In a proposal with many losers, the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department stand out as targets for the biggest spending reductions. Funding would disappear altogether for 19 independent bodies that count on federal money for public broadcasting, the arts and regional issues from Alaska to Appalachia. Trump’s budget outline is a bare-bones plan covering just “discretionary” spending for the 2018 fiscal year starting on Oct. 1. It is the first volley in what is expected to be an intense battle over spending in coming months in Congress, which holds the federal purse strings and seldom approves presidents’ budget plans.
Trump wants to spend $54 billion more on defense, put a down payment on his border wall, and breathe life into a few other campaign promises. His initial budget outline does not incorporate his promise to pour $1 trillion into roads, bridges, airports and other infrastructure projects. The budget directs several agencies to shift resources toward fighting terrorism and cybercrime, enforcing sanctions, cracking down on illegal immigration and preventing government waste.
The White House has said the infrastructure plan is still to come.
According to the International Monetary Fund, global debt has grown to a staggering grand total of 152 trillion dollars. Other estimates put that figure closer to 200 trillion dollars, but for the purposes of this article let’s use the more conservative number. If you take 152 trillion dollars and divide it by the seven billion people living on the planet, you get $21,714, which would be the share of that debt for every man, woman and child in the world if it was divided up equally.
So if you have a family of four, your family’s share of the global debt load would be $86,856.
Update: shortly after the news hit that various publishing houses are caught in a bidding war over the Obamas’ upcoming memoirs, Penguin Random House issued a press release that it was the winner and will publish forthcoming books by former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, concluding a heated auction among multiple publishers.
The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The Obamas were represented by Robert Barnett and Deneen Howell of Williams & Connolly.
“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our publishing partnership with President and Mrs. Obama. With their words and their leadership, they changed the world, and every day, with the books we publish at Penguin Random House, we strive to do the same,” the chief executive of Penguin Random House, Markus Dohle, said in a statement. “Now, we are very much looking forward to working together with President and Mrs. Obama to make each of their books global publishing events of unprecedented scope and significance.”
What took the Clintons years of confidential speeches before major investment banks and middle eastern clients of the Treasury Department, the Obama’s plan to achieve with just two books. According to the FT, several publishers are participating in a blockbuster auction for the global rights to two books by Barack and Michelle Obama where the bid has reached more than $60 million. The Obamas, who are writing separate books but selling the rights jointly, stand to make a record amount for their presidential memoirs.
The announcement comes amid reports that CNN, MSNBC and other organizations were thinking of boycotting the evening to protest their treatment at the hands of the new administration. This includes being called “a danger to our country” by the president and having their access to officials limited. Buzzfeed, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, the Hill and Politico were not invited to an off-camera but on-the-record press gaggle with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer yesterday, a move CNN called “unacceptable.”
The annual dinner at the Washington Hilton, which raises money for journalism scholarships and awards, has turned into a celebrity event that some journalists have criticized as a sign the Washington press is becoming too cozy with the nation’s power structures.
Trump himself was brutally roasted when he attended as a guest in 2011 for pushing the Obama “birther” controversy.