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Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios

If Gary Cohn could change one thing in the tax bill, it would be to have closed the carried interest loophole, he told Mike Allen at an Axios event on Wednesday. Cohn believes it is fundamentally unfair, and adds that President Trump agrees with him. "We probably tried 25 times... The President asked just this past Monday if we could still get rid of it."

As for why the loophole wasn't closed, Cohn was more cagey. He blamed Congress but, when pressed, would only cite unidentified GOP House members from blue states.

Other highlights from Cohn's Axios interview:

  1. Cohn said the Reagan [update] tax cuts were followed by other countries also lowering their rates, thus reducing their effectiveness. "This would be a failure if we don't capitalize on our competitive opportunity and let the rest of the world catch up to us."
  2. Cohn does not believe tax reform is baked into the stock market. As proof, he claims that a basket of high-tax stocks aren't outperforming a basket of low-tax stocks. Instead, he believes the boom is tied to strong economic growth and that there is plenty of room for more public equities expansion.
  3. "We're going to get the investment. We're going to get money repatriated... and you're going to have to judge us by what happens."
  4. "I don't know" why the tax bill is so unpopular.
  5. Trump cared most about cutting the corporate rate.
  6. Cohn claims that 90% of individuals will be able to file their taxes via postcard, which is a very heady prediction.
  7. Infrastructure comes next, and Cohn insists that the federal government has the required $200 billion.
  8. He will not support an infrastructure bank.
  9. He doesn't hold any Bitcoin, and doesn't plan to buy any.
  10. Cohn thinks tech companies are getting too much flak, in response to my comment that Silicon Valley has become the new Wall Street. Cohn: "Wall Street probably didn't deserve it either. Your world needs a bad guy, a face to shame. Tech companies have been huge catalysts of economic growth... and have created products you and I can't live without."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.