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DealBook Briefing: How the Financial Crisis Helped Elect Trump

Category: Business,Finance

Good Tuesday morning. I’m going to be interviewing Senator Elizabeth Warren for a TimesTalk in Washington on Sept. 13. We’ll be talking about the 2008 financial crisis on its 10th anniversary. Buy your tickets here. (Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here.)

Populist politics rose from Lehman’s ashes

This week is the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the inflection point of the financial crisis. Andrew’s column this week traces a line from the crash to the populist politics of the present:

The crisis was a moment that cleaved our country. It broke a social contract between the plutocrats and everyone else. But it also broke a sense of trust, not just in financial institutions and the government that oversaw them, but in the very idea of experts and expertise. The past 10 years have seen an open revolt against the intelligentsia.

Mistrust led to new political movements: the Tea Party for those who didn’t trust the government and Occupy Wall Street for those who didn’t trust big business. These moved Democrats and Republicans away from each other in fundamental ways, and populist attitudes on both ends of the spectrum found champions in the 2016 presidential race in Senator Bernie Sanders and Donald J. Trump.

The depth of financial despair during the Great Recession and the invariably slow recovery have unleashed a sense of bitterness that dominates the political landscape, culminating in Mr. Trump’s electoral victory.

Bonus: Watch out for a DealBook Briefing special edition about the financial crisis later this week.


Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin in New York, and Michael J. de la Merced and Jamie Condliffe in London.


CBS may have to do that deal now

The sudden resignation of Les Moonves as the broadcaster’s C.E.O. was prompted by fresh allegations of sexual harassment stretching back decades. The board was underprepared for this #MeToo moment, the WSJ suggests, because it was so embroiled in a legal battle with the company’s controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone.

Now a revamped board must mop up the mess. One question it has to confront is whether to explore a sale. But many of the likely partners have already struck big deals. Realistically, CBS may have few options, the best being the merger with Viacom that Ms. Redstone favored and Mr. Moonves opposed.

As for Mr. Moonves, he was regarded as one of the best programmers in TV history, but critics like Joe Nocera of Bloomberg Opinion argue he lacked a long-term vision.

Bonus: Stephen Colbert took on his former boss last night, saying, “Les Moonves is gone … for at least nine months until he does a set at the Comedy Cellar.”

Hurricane Florence may be an economic disaster

The Category 4 storm is barreling toward the Carolinas, with winds reaching 140 miles per hour. The states’ governors have ordered more than 1 million people to evacuate. If it makes landfall on Thursday at the same intensity, as is expected, it will be the strongest storm to land that far north.

One estimate has Florence as “a worst-case scenario storm,” with record surges and days-long power cuts. (Axios has specifics on what’s so bad.) Shares in insurers tumbled yesterday, with potential covered losses estimated at up to $20 billion.

China’s biggest trade worry? A second front

New trade talks between Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Cecilia Malmstrom, the European commissioner for trade, kicked off yesterday. Things quickly got bumpy — an impatient Trump administration and a lumbering E.U. aren’t the best matched of negotiating partners.

Still, Mr. Lighthizer called the talks “constructive,” more than could be said for the China-U.S. talks last month. That’s a risk for Beijing officials, as the FT explains:

What really keeps them up at night, however, is a potential coordinated assault by the Trump administration, E.U. and Japan on their unique model of Chinese “state capitalism” that has been integral to the country’s economic success over the past 40 years.

According to the China Center for International Economic Exchange, a think tank backed by Beijing, “China will not hesitate to inflict pain on the U.S.” over the trade dispute. (Escalation looks increasingly likely.) It would have more difficulty fighting on two fronts.

More trade news: The U.S. is considering sanctions against Chinese officials over Muslim detention camps. And Mexico is willing to sign a bilateral trade agreement with America.

Snap loses its strategy chief when it needs one most

Imran Khan is stepping down as chief strategy officer at the troubled social network.

He’s a former investment banker, and was hired to build a business that could support the red-hot Snapchat app. The result: an ads operation that is expected to produce over $1 billion in revenue this year.

The departure gives Evan Spiegel, Snap’s co-founder and C.E.O., greater control. But Mr. Spiegel has shown bad judgment before. With user growth declining and a stream of executive exits, there’s little sign he has a viable plan.

An emerging-markets crisis could spread to Europe first

Currencies and stocks in emerging economies keep sliding. Developing-world borrowers are struggling to raise funds. And an ever-strengthening dollar is making their debts harder to repay.

We can’t be sure that these problems will affect developed markets (though there are ways they could). If they do, Tommy Ricketts, a global investment strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch believes that the pain will start in Europe before hitting the U.S.

“A weak euro, positive global economic backdrop (especially exports) and tight spreads are the best cocktail for European equities to outperform,” Mr. Ricketts told Bloomberg. “Clearly risks are the other way at the moment.”

The government may ease up on methane rules

Obama-era policies clamped down on how much methane, one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, energy companies could release. Those businesses complained — and the Trump administration is responding.

Coral Davenport of the NYT reports that the Environmental Protection Agency plans to weaken regulations about monitoring and repairing methane leaks. The Interior Department may also repeal a restriction on venting and burning methane from drilling operations.

The E.P.A. changes would save the oil and gas industry $484 million by 2025. The environmental costs are harder to tally.

Revolving door

The hospital operator HCA named Sam Hazen, its president, as its next C.E.O.

Jérôme Lambert will become the C.E.O. of Richemont, the Swiss luxury goods conglomerate.

Koos Timmermans was ousted as ING’s C.F.O. after the Dutch lender accepted a $900 million money-laundering fine.

Uber hired Rebecca Messina from Beam Suntory as its first chief marketing officer.

The speed read


• Renesas Electronics of Japan agreed to buy the semiconductor company Integrated Device Technology for $6.7 billion, gaining autonomous car chips. (WSJ)

• Volvo Cars blamed trade wars for a delay to its I.P.O. But its valuation target won’t have helped. (Breakingviews)

• Sibur, Russia’s biggest petrochemicals company, may go public next year. (CNBC)

• Britain’s Network Rail agreed to sell 5,000 commercial properties to Blackstone and Telereal Trillium for 1.5 billion pounds, or nearly $2 billion. (FT)

Politics and policy

• G.D.P. growth is higher than unemployment for the first time since 2006 — but definitely not, as President Trump tweeted, the first time in a century. (NYT)

• Mr. Trump was reportedly furious after learning that Robert Mueller had subpoenaed financial records from Deutsche Bank. (Business Insider)

• California may soon fine companies that lack female directors. (WaPo)

• Mitt Romney says other Republicans have fallen silent on federal deficit reduction. (WaPo)


• The semiconductor industry could be in line for a stock correction. (CNBC)

• Alex Jones is banned from social media, but his e-commerce platforms are doing fine. (WaPo)

• Apple’s new iPhone, expected tomorrow, needs to be a hit. Short sellers are betting against it. (Separately, the company acquired the rights to two family movies.)

• Elon Musk’s unpredictability may be the flip-side of his creativity. But it hasn’t helped him understand that the markets want Tesla to raise more cash. (Plus: Tesla’s keyless entry can be spoofed.)

• Amazon searches are filling with ads. (Recode)

Best of the rest

• NASA may sell naming rights to rockets and space stations. (WaPo)

• A British union group is calling for a four-day workweek. (NYT)

• Central banks may have lost their grip on the markets. (CNBC)

• Many businesses are finding that fewer bosses is better. (WSJ)

• Consumer confidence is high. Investors should worry. (WSJ)

• The world’s fastest-growing cities are in Africa. (FT)

Thanks for reading! We’ll see you tomorrow.

You can find live updates throughout the day at nytimes.com/dealbook.

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