Sep 15, 2018

The most urgent financial threats

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The financial crisis was shocking because so few people saw it coming, as much of the risk was hidden within complex financial instruments.

Why it matters: That likely means we have known unknowns right now, but current concerns mostly revolve around the three Cs: 1) Complacency; 2) Contagion; 3) Cyberattacks.

  • Regulatory complacency: The Trump administration has rolled back certain Dodd-Frank reforms, at a time when architects of the 2008 response are asking for new protections. There's also lingering fear of the next debt-ceiling showdown ending in default — possibly resulting in mass repricing of risk across all asset classes, which in turn could precipitate a global financial panic.
  • Contagion: Many economists continue to worry about emerging market debt and currencies, particularly as global financial institutions have become more interconnected.
  • Cyberattacks: Big financial institutions have collapsed under their weight of market pressures or their own stupidity, but not yet because of digital arsonists inside of their networks. That could change.

Go deeper: Axios' Steve LeVine examines the coming financial contagion.

Go deeper

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.