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When Donald Trump named Goldman Sachs alum Gary Cohn as Director of his Council of Economic Advisors, critics took aim at the fact that Cohn hailed from the world's most hated investment bank, contra Trump's pledge to drain the Washington swamp.

But the more interesting fact about Cohn should be that he doesn't appear to agree with his boss on economics.

Former Bush Administration economist Scott Sumner flagged a compendium of Cohn's recent public interviews, in which he espoused:

  • That the Chinese yuan is actually overvalued, rather than unduly cheap as the result of currency manipulation;
  • Globalization is a force that can't be stopped by U.S. economic policy; and
  • Skepticism as to whether a Dodd-Frank repeal would be good for American banks and the U.S. economy.

When Cohn was picked Republicans were uneasy over Cohn's history of supporting Democrats. And Trump won the election promoting an economic ideology that is antithetical to everything Cohn represents and has advocated for in recent years.

So what draws Trump to Cohn? As he said in a statement announcing the move, "Gary Cohn is going to put his talents as a highly successful businessman to work for the American people." In other words, a winning track record—and looking the part—matter much more to the president-elect than ideology.

Go deeper

3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats brace for staredown over paid family medical leave

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senior House Democrats are braced for battle with the Senate over whether paid family medical leave — a key priority for progressives — will be included in President Biden’s final budget reconciliation bill, lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has indicated he wants to cut the program to reduce the bill's price tag. “Paid family and medical leave must be in the final package,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Axios on Monday.

35 mins ago - World

Poland showdown is EU's Jan. 6 moment, top official says

Didier Reynders. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Poland and Hungary have forced a moment of reflection on the European Union — similar to the one in the U.S. after the Jan. 6 insurrection, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told Axios.

What he's saying: "During many years, we have had in our minds that it was granted that if you are a member of the EU, of course you apply the rule of law; you have full respect for democracy, fundamental rights and so on — maybe with some concerns but with a real intention to adapt your legislation to be in full compliance [with EU law]," Reynders said.

The E-commerce shopping spree

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Retailers have gotten really good at selling stuff online. So much so, investors want them to separate from the business units that do just that.

Why it matters: Spinning off these crown jewels may jeopardize both the physical and e-commerce sides of the companies in the long run by breaking the benefits of hybrid operations, analysts say.