🎬 Coming Sunday on "Axios on HBO" ... The life-changing costs of being a whistleblower, told on-camera by five who risked it all (see a clip) ... Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi talks to Dan Primack and me about the quest for profit ... and an exclusive poll on America's surging political anger.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
U.S. companies are holding off on major purchases and investments, paying down debt and stacking up cash as they look to position for an expected economic downturn in 2020, Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin reports.
What's happening ... A slew of traditional recession indicators have shown up: The yield curve has inverted, the manufacturing and housing sectors have weakened, and income inequality has spiked to the highest level on record.
Companies are taking action:
Investors also are getting ready for the good times to end:
Mike Bloomberg is jumping into the Democratic presidential race because he believes that Joe Biden is fading, opening the moderate lane next to Elizabeth Warren, sources close to the former New York mayor tell Axios' Margaret Talev and me.
Theory of the case: Bloomberg, who according to Forbes is worth $52 billion, will self-fund, allowing him to run an essentially national campaign at a time when the rest of the field is raising money and focusing on early states.
What's next: The Bloomberg buzz ignited yesterday with the news that he'll file today to qualify for the primary in Alabama, which has an early filing deadline.
Reality check: Given the progressive tides in the Democratic Party, there's no sign that a 77-year-old billionaire is what primary voters are pining for.
House Democrats head into next week's public stage of the impeachment inquiry armed with closed-door testimony from witnesses who mostly corroborated each other — and the whistleblower, Axios' Zach Basu writes.
Here are the common facts we learned from the six transcripts released this week:
Spot, a "nimble robot" from Boston Dynamics that can climb stairs, struts onstage at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, which draws 70,000 attendees (including Axios' Sara Fischer and Felix Salmon).
Senior Trump administration officials considered resigning en masse last year in a "midnight self-massacre" to sound a public alarm about President Trump’s conduct, but rejected the idea because they believed it would further destabilize an already teetering government.
🔪 In a review, N.Y. Times nonfiction book critic Jennifer Szalai writes that everything in the text suggests "Anonymous" is "a dyed-in-the-wool establishment Republican":
[T]o judge by the parade of bland, methodical arguments (Anonymous loves to qualify criticisms with a lawyerly "in fairness"), the ideal reader would seem to be an undecided voter who has lived in a cave for the past three years, and is irresistibly moved by quotations from Teddy Roosevelt and solemn invocations of Cicero.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
While President Trump is moving to ease Obama-era tailpipe emissions rules, Democrats running to unseat him want to accelerate the shift to electric cars, trucks and buses, Axios' Joann Muller and Alayna Treene report.
Worth noting: Major pieces of the Democrats' plans, such as expanded electric vehicle tax credits and major new spending on charging infrastructure, would require congressional action.
If you woke up to a weird text yesterday, you aren't alone: A mysterious wave of messages swept America's phones overnight, delivering puzzling messages from friends, family and the occasional ex, AP's Tali Arbel writes.
Mobile carriers offered unhelpful explanations for the weird-text phenomenon, which appeared to be widespread, at least according to social media.
In his Élysée Palace office, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to The Economist in apocalyptic terms:
The instability of our American partner and rising tensions have meant that the idea of European defense is gradually taking hold. It’s the aggiornamento [updating] for a powerful and strategic Europe. I would add that we will at some stage have to take stock of NATO. To my mind, what we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO. We have to be lucid.
Why it matters, from The Economist's lead editorial: "[I]n a dramatic plea to all Europeans," Macron is warning "that America is cutting Europe loose."
Ivanka Trump is interviewed by AP's Darlene Superville in Rabat, Morocco. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Ivanka Trump told AP's Darlene Superville in Rabat, Morocco, that the whistleblower's identity is "not particularly relevant" to the impeachment inquiry.
The president's daughter and adviser is wrapping up a three-day visit to Morocco, where she's promoting a U.S. program aimed at helping empower women in developing countries.
Lin-Manuel Miranda debuts in The Atlantic with an essay in the December issue, "What Art Can Do: The power of stories that are unshakably true":
I believe great art is like bypass surgery. It allows us to go around all of the psychological distancing mechanisms that turn people cold to the most vulnerable among us. ...
We keep revisiting Shakespeare’s "Macbeth" because ruthless political ambition does not belong to any particular era. We keep listening to Public Enemy because systemic racism continues to rain tragedy on communities of color. We read Orwell’s "1984" and shiver at its diagnosis of doublethink ... And we listen to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, as Lieutenant Cable sings about racism, "You’ve got to be carefully taught." It’s all art. It’s all political.
How's this for a bio line? "Lin-Manuel Miranda is a Pulitzer Prize–, Grammy–, Emmy–, and Tony Award–winning composer, lyricist, and actor."
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