We're gonna spend some time today with the dollar. The greenback. The world's reserve currency. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said something truly extraordinary today: "Obviously a weaker dollar is good for us, as it relates to trade and opportunities." It's been the stated policy of the American government for decades that we want a strong dollar that inspires confidence in the American economy. So we'll start today's show looking at all the different angles of the value of the dollar. Plus, why the Do Not Call List won't save you from robo-calls, and an interview with Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos.
Ten years ago this week, the Fed unexpectedly slashed interest rates at an unscheduled meeting. This was early in the slow-motion collapse of the American economy, and it was in some ways a warning of how bad the recession was gonna get, and a giveaway as to how little we actually knew about what was coming. We're looking back at that decision today as we kick off Divided Decade, our yearlong project on the financial crisis and its aftermath. We're also bringing you a story about how the crisis changed one Dreamer, and we're hoping you'll share yours. Plus, what you need to know as the World Economic Forum kicks off in Davos, Switzerland.
When all is said and done, this week's government shutdown will have lasted 60 hours, give or take. There's a deal in place that'll get things back to normal by tomorrow morning. But what's "normal" even mean? We might be getting used to government run on a deadline, three weeks at a time or so, but that's not exactly "normal." And yet, the economy seems to be giving that not-normalcy a pass. That's where we're starting today's show. Then, we'll get the real issue underpinning the shutdown, one that hasn't been resolved yet: What's the vision for immigration in this country? President Donald Trump and some Republicans in Congress are pushing to dramatically reduce legal immigration to the United States, and to move the overarching concept from family reunification to a skills-based system. That means fewer workers in an already tight labor market, and it's making some businesses anxious. Plus, introducing our latest project: Divided Decade.
As we tape this, the United States government is hours away from grinding to a halt, barring a last-minute deal. The blame game is already starting, and that's where we'll start today's show. Then we'll look at lessons federal workers learned from the last shutdown. Plus, the latest on Amazon Prime, IBM and electric vehicle sales.
Here we are again. No federal budget, no government funding beyond the next day or so. There was a time when this state of affairs was brushed off as congressional legislators simply kicking the can down the road, that they'd come to their senses and be, y'know, responsible. But those days seem to be gone, and this economy's getting by on a never-ending series of four-week budget stopgaps. That's how we're starting the show today. Then: a check on the White House's infrastructure plan, which is expected in the next few weeks. Plus, we check back in on Erie, Pennsylvania, in our continuing series The Big Promise.
You can add a certain device maker from Cupertino, California, to the list of companies crediting the new tax law for new strategic business decisions. Apple announced today it would bring profits back from overseas and add a bunch of new jobs in the next five years. We'll kick off the show today by talking about what it all means. Then: President Donald Trump likes to take credit for gains in the stock market over the past year, but it's worth noting that economies and markets in Europe, China and Japan are booming, too. We'll look at the full picture. Plus, a conversation with BlackRock CEO Larry Fink. He just wrote an open letter to CEOs telling them to think not just about profits but about making a positive contribution to society.