Jan 10, 2017

Big in Business: VW exec arrested

1. The FBI arrested a Volkswagen official who was once in charge of compliance with emissions standards. FBI alleged he conspired to conceal how VW car pollution

Why it Matters: The Feds have been criticized for just fining delinquent multinationals without jailing executives. This is a change. It's also bad news for VW, which will continue to weather bad press as the case works its way through court.

2. Congressional Republicans hope to eliminate deductions for state and local taxes in reform of the personal tax code, the Hill reports.

Why it Matters: Depending on the design of the proposal, this could take a bite out of economic growth, as states look to cut taxes and services to ease the tax burden on residents. And ideologically, this is not a clear victory for small government enthusiasts, as it will make states increasingly reliant on federal policy, funds, and mandates.

3. Federal Housing Administration will cut insurance fees it charges borrowers, which will save the typical household $500 annually.

Why it Matters: Most housing market indicators are green, but data on credit standards show that financing is still less available today than ten years ago. This decision will help first-time homebuyers afford new homes, and be another tailwind for U.S. real estate in 2017.

What to watch for today: Global oil prices fell again late Monday, on indications that Iranian production would be higher than previously thought.

The path of oil prices Tuesday will indicate traders predictions for data released on U.S. production tomorrow. Cheap oil is no longer an unalloyed good for the U.S. economy, as domestic energy production has soared.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Trump's "Deep State" hit list

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: WPA Pool/Getty Pool, Drew Angerer/Getty Staff

The Trump White House and its allies, over the past 18 months, assembled detailed lists of disloyal government officials to oust — and trusted pro-Trump people to replace them — according to more than a dozen sources familiar with the effort who spoke to Axios.

Driving the news: By the time President Trump instructed his 29-year-old former body man and new head of presidential personnel to rid his government of anti-Trump officials, he'd gathered reams of material to support his suspicions.

Exclusive: Anti-Sanders campaign targets black South Carolina voters

Courtesy of The Big Tent Project

The Big Tent Project, a Democratic political group focused on promoting moderate presidential candidates, has sent hundreds of thousands of mailers bashing Bernie Sanders to black voters in South Carolina who voted in the state's 2016 primary.

Why it matters: Sanders' rise to the top of the pack, as dueling moderate candidates split their side of the vote, is worrying many in the Democratic political establishment who fear a socialist can't beat President Trump.

Inside the fight over FBI surveillance powers

Carter Page. Photo: Artyom Korotayev\TASS via Getty Images

Over the past year, President Trump has told senior administration officials, including Attorney General Bill Barr, that he wants a major overhaul of national security surveillance powers and the secret court that approves them.

Behind the scenes: In one such discussion last year about the need to reauthorize government authorities to surveil U.S. citizens, Trump went so far as to say he'd rather get rid of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) altogether.