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(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

The private equity industry received a fright on Thursday, with both President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin saying that the White House remains open to changing one of the industry's key drivers of investment returns: The deductibility of corporate interest.

What's the issue? Private equity firms usually finance their acquisitions via bank loans all of which are put onto the books of the purchased company. The company currently gets to deduct 100% of the interest on those loans. This rule also applies much more broadly, such as a small business getting to deduct the interest on a loan taken out to purchase new equipment.

Policy: The White House did not at all address this issue in its tax reform proposals, leading the private equity industry to believe the 100% deductibility would remain intact.

Then came this exchange via The Economist, suggesting that the matter remains unsettled:

Will you keep interest deduction in the corporate tax? Will corporate interest payments…Trump: Do you want to answer?Mnuchin: We're contemplating it. We're contemplating it.Contemplating getting rid of it?Mnuchin: No, we're contemplating keeping it. That's our preference. But we'll look at everything.So what would your preference be Mr President? You know about that very well.Trump: No, I would say probably…I think we're contemplating is the word. And it hasn't been determined yet, but we're contemplating.

Go deeper

Developed countries reveal $100 billion climate finance plan ahead of COP26

Alok Sharma, head of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, speaks in Paris on Oct. 12. ( Li Yang/China News Service via Getty Images)

After 12 years of fits and starts, industrialized nations on Monday put forward a detailed plan to provide at least $100 billion annually in climate aid to developing countries starting by 2023.

Why it matters: The plan, presented by representatives of Canada and Germany, is aimed at defusing one of the biggest sources of tension at COP26, which is the failure of industrialized nations to follow through on their financial commitments.

20 mins ago - Health

Moderna says COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in kids

Photo: Martin Galindo/Long Visual Press/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Moderna on Monday released trial results for its coronavirus vaccine for children aged 6 to 11, saying it provides a "robust" immune response after two doses.

Why it matters: Moderna said it will officially submit the results to the Food and Drug Administration for authorization in "the near term," meaning we could soon see two coronavirus vaccines available to protect approximately 28 million more kids in the U.S.

Live list: The "Facebook Papers" arrive

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Reports based on leaked whistleblower documents from Facebook, known as the Facebook Papers, appeared in a broad range of news outlets Monday, shedding light on what company knew about harms caused on its platform and how it handled that information.

Why it matters: The reports paint a detailed picture of Facebook's efforts over the years to grapple with major problems — from hate speech to inciting violence — while continuing to pursue its business objectives.

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