Insights, 9/30/19

Today’s insights examine inequality in America, turnover at the IMF and the State Department, and China’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests. Learn more about the “powder keg” of growing income inequality in America, the fallout of the Ukraine investigation and President Trump’s recall of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Masha Yovanovitch and the appointment of Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva as the IMF’s new managing director, replacing Christine Lagarde. Finally, as The People’s Republic of China prepares to celebrate their 70th “National Day” on October 1st, how will Beijing manage commemorations in Hong Kong as pro-democracy protests endure?

the common good income inequality.jpg

“Income inequality "is the biggest powder keg in America right now". The gap between those at the top and everyone else in the U.S. grew last year to its highest level in more than 50 years, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday...The issue is beginning to generate greater concern among Americans, data shows, and could become a more prominent issue for politicians as well as companies. "The gap between the haves and have-nots is the biggest powder keg in America right now and that’s saying something," John Dick, founder and CEO of CivicScience, said in a note. "Even as consumer confidence remains high, concerns over income inequality reached the highest point we’ve seen this month. But that’s a little misleading because the term 'income inequality' evokes a tribal response," Dick said.” - Dion Rabouin, Axios, MORE


“The United States had a very fine professional career ambassador, Ambassador Masha Yovanovitch in Kyiv. She was pushed out of office by the president and by Rudy Giuliani apparently because she was trying to fight corruption in Ukraine, but she also wasn't going along with what Rudy Giuliani was up to in his conversations with the Ukrainian government….in this call that the president had with President Zelenskiy [he] threw Ambassador Yovanovitch under the bus. He made very derogatory comments about her...I can't remember any American president in the past torching their own ambassador in a phone call with a foreign leader. It's one thing to have disagreements inside a government, but the president is supposed to be defending our career civil servants, and he didn't do that in this case.” - Ambassador Nicholas Burns [TCG Past Speaker], NPR, MORE

The Common Good Kristalina Georgieva.jpg

“The announcement Wednesday of Kristalina Georgieva as IMF managing director cements a clear changing of the guard at the world's most important economic institutions. Fed chair Jerome Powell is not a lifelong central banker or even a PhD economist. He's a lawyer and former private equity manager, who became the first Fed chair without an economics pedigree since the disastrous William Miller whose tenure from 1979–1981 led to U.S. stagflation. Christine Lagarde, the incoming ECB president, is also a lawyer by training and became managing director of the IMF after a career in politics with no real background in central banking. David Malpass, president of the World Bank, is best known for his time in the Reagan administration and at Bear Sterns where months before the financial crisis he wrote an op-ed titled, "Don't Panic About the Credit Market."” - Dion Rabouin, Axios, MORE

The Common Good HK protests.jpg

“The area around Tiananmen Square will be on lockdown, and residents who live on nearby streets have been told to remain at home. Passenger trains will undergo security checks and all unauthorized flying objects...have been banned...Internet access in the city has been throttled and Weibo, the popular microblogging site, said it would delete content that “distorts” or “insults” Chinese history...National Day is a holiday in Hong Kong too...Pro-democracy protests have been a mainstay of National Day commemorations ever since the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997. But this year is different...In July, an estimated 2 million people marched against a proposed bill that would have allowed the people in Hong Kong to be extradited to the mainland to face trial. The city’s embattled chief executive, Carrie Lam, withdrew the bill last month after weeks of protests. But the protesters’ demands have expanded to include universal suffrage and an investigation into the police’s use of force.” - Russell Goldman, New York Times, MORE