Feb 28, 2017

Big in Business: Takata pleads guilty

Shizuo Kambayash/AP

Auto parts maker Takata pleaded guilty Monday and will pay $1 billion in criminal penalties for a crime related to the company's manufacture of defective airbags, which are linked to 11 deaths and hundreds of injuries in the U.S. The Japanese firm has taken outside investment from a rival and is considering bankruptcy. Plaintiffs lawyers are also suing auto manufacturers like Toyota and Ford, alleging they installed Takata airbags in their cars despite being aware of the dangers they posed.

Let the renegotiations begin: The Senate confirmed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Monday evening, meaning that the turnaround specialist can finally get to work renegotiating NAFTA. The Trump Administration, however, is hasn't been clear on what exactly it wants to accomplish by the talks.

Investors eye Trump speech: Pantheon Macro's Ian Shepherdson sees a growing conflict between the Trump White House and Congressional budget hawks. The president talks tough on the deficit, but early signs point to his pushing higher deficits to make good on his promise to cut taxes and protect entitlements. Stock markets will love an endorsement of this strategy during tonight's speech, but Shepherdson argues Treasury bond markets "will take fright" at the debt such a strategy would accrue.

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Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.

American society is teetering on the edge

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The COVID-19 pandemic, record unemployment and escalating social unrest are all pushing American society close to the breaking point.

The big picture: Civilizations don't last forever, and when they collapse, the cause is almost always internal failure. Even in the midst of one of our darkest years, the U.S. still has many factors in its favor, but the fate of past societies holds frightening lessons for what may lie ahead.