BTV’s Peter Cook talks with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski who defended his decision to block the AT&T merger with T-Mobile
Another successful Bloomberg Washington Summit is in the books. We covered a lot of ground – everything from Fed policy and the deficit to net neutrality and Eddie Murphy movies. If you missed the day-long discussion and our all-star line-up of speakers, the good news is C-SPAN documented the whole thing (c-spanvideo.org/event/218019video.org/event/218019). Let me share a few highlights from my vantage point as emcee.
Former Fed Governor Larry Meyer told us that current Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen has the “right of first refusal” to become the leader of the central bank when Ben Bernanke steps down. Economist Adam Posen didn’t agree. The former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee said Yellen had the qualifications but lacked the “personal relationship” with the President needed to land the Chairmanship. His alternative? Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner who has said he doesn’t want the job.
In a panel on investor confidence, SkyBridge Capital co-managing partner Anthony Scaramucci described a “paralysis in the American business community” right now. He also declined an invitation to run for Congress. On the same panel, former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt gave the Dodd-Frank law a “F” grade.
Just minutes later, the current CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler painted a very different picture of Dodd-Frank. He said the new derivative rules his agency has implemented mark a “paradigm shift” that will benefit markets and the economy. At the same time, he made a plea to Congress to fully fund his agency. The CFTC’s current budget is $205 million. He’s asking for $315 million so his employees can enforce the new rules now on the books.*
Looking back at his four years on office, outgoing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski defended his decision to block the AT&T merger with T-Mobile. “Absolutely the right call,” he told me in one of his last interviews as Chairman. He said the decision resulted in greater competition. Genachowski also predicted that the “net neutrality” rules he put in place will survive legal challenge.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell faces his own challenges with sequestration and shrinking federal dollars. The Republican talked about that with Bloomberg Washington Executive Editor Susan Goldberg. Susan also questioned the Governor about a Washington Post report that the FBI is investigating McDonnell’s relationship with a major campaign donor. McDonnell said he never provided “special treatment” to Star Scientific or its CEO Jonnie Williams. The Post reported Williams paid the $15,000 catering bill for the 2011 wedding of McDonnell’s daughter.
The day ended with a lot of agreement on the need for corporate tax reform. Aerospace Industries Association CEO Marion Blakey, Marsh & McLennan CEO Daniel Glaser Peebles Corp. CEO Don Peebles all predicted that there is a better than 50-50 chance of a tax overhaul this year. American Action Forum CEO Doug Holtz-Eakin was the lone pessimist. He put the odds below 50-50. It was Peebles who had the Eddie Murphy reference. He pulled a line from 1992′s “The Distinguished Gentleman”.
Thanks to all who made it happen and all the good questions. We’ll see you next year.
-Peter Cook, Chief Washington Correspondent, Bloomberg Television
*Bloomberg has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to prevent the CFTC from implementing regulation relating to the clearing of swaps. For more information, go here: http://www.bloomberg.com/now/2013-05-02/bloomberg-legal-team-seeks-an-injunction-relating-to-the-cftc-swaps-margin-rule/.