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Greetings from Washington, D.C., where my Axios colleague Mike Allen just finished up an on-stage interview with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Takeaways:

  • Carry: Carried interest tax treatment will be changed in the White House tax plan, at least for "hedge funds" When it comes to other asset classes, including real estate, no promises were made.
  • Mnuchin vs. Trump rhetoric: The Treasury Sec declined to commit to the 15% corporate tax rate that Trump preached on the campaign trail. He also talked about 3%-3.5% GDP growth, versus Trump's talk of 4%.
  • Techmeme weeps: Mnuchin breezily dismissed the notion that AI and machine learning will soon replace wide swaths of workers, saying that "it's not even on our radar screen" because it's an issue that is "50 or 100 years" away.
  • Trade: "So long as we can renegotiate deals that are good for us, we won't be protectionist. Otherwise we will."
  • Taxes: Tax reform is "a lot simpler" than healthcare reform. He still plans to get it done by the August recess, and it will be comprehensive (i.e., not breaking it up into more passable pieces). As for going after healthcare, Mnuchin says the past two months of planning were necessary. "We would not have been ready to go a month ago on tax reform and now we are."
  • BAT: Mnuchin punted when asked to make the pro-BAT argument to a Wal-Mart shopper, but did say that he doesn't expect to introduce it "as is."
  • Silicon Valley: "I don't understand these valuations."
  • Movie producer hat: "Hollywood could learn a lot more from D.C. than D.C. could learn from Hollywood."
  • Worries: Mnuchin says that cybersecurity is his biggest in-house focus, and that his meetings with foreign leaders have dealt heavily with issues like money laundering and other illicit activities.
  • Debt limit: "We need to raise the debt limit and that's something we're going to do."
  • Bottom line: "I am a bull. Buy American."

Go deeper

The modern way to hire a big-city police chief

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

When it comes to picking a city's top cop, closed-door selection processes have been replaced by highly public exercises where everyone gets to vet the candidates — who must have better community-relations skills than ever.

Why it matters: In the post-George-Floyd era, with policing under utmost scrutiny, the choosing of a police chief has become something akin to an election, with the need to build consensus around a candidate. And the candidate pool has gotten smaller.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
52 mins ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.