Overnight Finance

On The Money: Trump trade chief to face lawmakers ahead of China deadline | Poll finds support for proposals to tax the rich | Deutsche Bank had worries Trump Organization would default on loans

Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL--Trump trade chief to face lawmakers ahead of crucial China deadline: The Trump administration's top trade negotiator is set to face questions from House lawmakers two days before a crucial deadline to strike a deal with China.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will appear before the House Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 27 for a hearing on trade talks between the White House and Beijing, the panel announced Wednesday.

Lighthizer is expected to face a slew of questions from lawmakers from both parties who have voiced concerns as the Trump administration and Chinese government scramble to meet a March 1 deadline to reach a long-term trade deal. I've got more on what's at stake here


The background: 

  • President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in December to hold off on increasing or applying new tariffs on imports until March 1.
  • Last year, Trump imposed tariffs of 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods imported to the U.S. and Beijing has responded with reciprocal levies on U.S. products.
  • Trump said he would increase those tariffs to 25 percent if China does not agree to reduce non-tariff trade barriers, halt the theft of U.S. intellectual property and expand foreign access to Chinese financial markets and import greater quantities of U.S. agricultural exports, which China has targeted with tariffs.


The stakes:

  • Lawmakers have grown increasingly worried about the domestic impact of Trump's trade battle with China, with U.S. farmers and ranchers losing access to crucial Chinese markets for their crops and livestock while also being harmed by tariffs imposed by China, Mexico, Canada the European Union.
  • China's economy has also faltered since amid the trade war. The country has suffered through slower growth, falling industrial production and waning demand in emerging markets.



Poll finds support for proposals to tax the rich: A new survey found a majority of the public supports proposals to increase taxes on the rich as progressive lawmakers and presidential candidates have been pushing for greater tax burdens for the very wealthy.

Results from a SurveyMonkey poll conducted for The New York Times, released Tuesday, found that 62 percent of Americans think the government should pursue policies to reduce the wealth gap, while 34 percent disagreed. Eighty-seven percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents and 38 percent of Republicans said the government should take action to close the wealth gap.

The survey also found majority support for proposals to tax the rich from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is running for president, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the freshman progressive lawmaker, with Warren's proposal receiving more support from independents and Republicans than Ocasio-Cortez's idea.


Deutsche Bank worried Trump Organization would default on loans, eyed changes: Deutsche Bank executives were reportedly worried in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election that the Trump Organization might default on millions of dollars in loans, and discussed how to guard against that possibility.

Bloomberg reported early Wednesday that the executives considered extending repayment dates on $340 million in loans to the Trump Organization until 2025, after a potential second term for President Trump. The loans are due in 2023 and 2024.

Board members at Deutsche Bank worried that they would face public backlash if they went after the president's assets should he default on the loans, Bloomberg reported. The bank ultimately opted not to move forward with the plan, and instead has chosen not to do new business with the Trump Organization during his presidency, it added.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment to Bloomberg.



  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) wants his state to become the first to levy an extra tax on sugary drinks and sodas. A number of American cities, mostly in liberal enclaves, have already levied such taxes.
  • Consulting firm McKinsey and Co. agreed to pay the Department of Justice (DOJ) $15 million to settle three bankruptcy cases in which it is accused of not sufficiently disclosing conflicts of interest.
  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) this week called for Newark to be the new home for Amazon's second headquarters after the company pulled back from its plans to build offices in New York City.
  • Federal Reserve backed ending the asset runoff on the central bank's balance sheet this year while expressing uncertainty over whether they would hike interest rates again in 2019, minutes of their January meeting showed.



  • Southwest Airlines said Wednesday that it lost $60 million in revenue as a result of the record-long partial government shutdown, quadruple the company's initial estimate.
  • Op-Ed: Desmond Lachman, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, argues that U.S. auto tariffs would be a gut punch to a reeling Eurozone.