Let’s assume Hillary Clinton wins. Heaven knows all assumptions are perilous in this election, but polling conducted after FBI director James Comey’s bombshell announcement last Friday shows Clinton maintaining her six-point pre-announcement lead over Donald Trump in a four-way race. More important, RealClearPolitics’ electoral map, which is updated continuously based on state polls and has been only partially refreshed since Comey’s announcement, shows Clinton’s lead slightly greater than it was last week; as of this morning it’s Clinton 304 vs. Trump 234.
So how should business leaders be planning for a Clinton victory? New reporting by the AP’s Julie Pace says Clinton’s advisers are assembling a domestic policy agenda that focuses on three priorities for the new administration’s early days. All three are issues on which she faces at least a chance of Republican cooperation. It’s a shrewd strategy because if she’s even partially successful, she’ll be able to cite some achievements early on and to make a credible claim of seeking bipartisan support. The three issues:
-Immigration reform. President Obama tried and failed to win broad immigration reform in 2013, but few people recall that the Senate passed a bill creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants; the House refused to vote on it. The big question now, on this issue of vital importance to business, is whether the anti-immigrant fervor whipped up by Trump would make immigration reform a complete non-starter for Republicans, or whether instead the party’s desperate need to rebuild support among Latino voters would make it a must.
-Criminal justice reform. Action on this issue also draws heavy Republican support, particularly for reducing or eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and reducing public spending on jails and prisons. Prospects again depend partly on the Trump effect: Has his emotional law-and-order campaigning made the issue untouchable in the coming year?
-Infrastructure. Members of both parties generally love spending money on roads, bridges, airports, and other infrastructure. As a former Capitol Hill staffer memorably puts it, “The smell of hot tar is an aphrodisiac to legislators.” So what would stop them? Two possible roadblocks. First, Congress passed a five-year $305-billion highway bill last year, which President Obama signed into law, so legislators may be reluctant to pass another one so soon. Second, where does the money come from? As the AP’s Pace notes, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has said it would come from taxing U.S. companies’ overseas profits at a low rate.
Wait – could that potentially huge change to the U.S. tax code derive from an infrastructure bill? Yup. In fact, it was under serious discussion during negotiations over last year’s highway bill. It’s a reminder of why business leaders should pay close attention to the new president’s whole agenda, no matter what (or whose) it is.
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What We’re Reading Today
Viacom names Robert Bakish acting CEO
He’s the second acting CEO since Philippe Dauman stepped down in August, when the board named Tom Dooley interim CEO; he said he would leave in mid-November. Bakish headed Viacom’s international operations. Why not name a permanent CEO? Shari Redstone, representing her father Sumner Redstone‘s National Amusements, the controlling shareholder in Viacom and CBS, has been pushing the two companies to merge under the leadership of CBS CEO Les Moonves. Maybe a deal is in the works. Los Angeles Times
Macy’s downsizing begins
The company has begun its previously announced unloading of about 100 stores, selling five locations to mall developer General Growth properties. Terry Lundgren‘s Macy’s, battling weak sales, wants to reduce the stores in its portfolio and focus on the 150 best performing locations. Fortune
Chobani founder faces backlash for hiring refugees
Yogurt billionaire Hamdi Ulukaya has been outspoken about helping refugees, employing more than 300 at his U.S. operations and starting a foundation to aid others. But far-right activists have called for a boycott of Chobani products and have posted threats and false accusations online. NYT
Woman at center of South Korean political scandal jailed
President Park Geun-hye‘s close adviser Choi Soon-sil has been detained on suspicions that she used her government influence to benefit herself via non-profit foundations. Eight close aides to Park resigned last weekend in connection with the investigation. Choi says she had access to Park’s speeches early in her term but didn’t profit from the information or relationship. Park and Choi’s friendship goes back years; Choi’s father was a religious figure who was believed to exert almost spell-like power over Park. Guardian
Building a Better Leader
In the age of mega-change…
…it’s important to address anxiety. A key task for managers is adjusting expectations. Knowledge@Wharton
With new overtime rules taking effect in December…
…nearly 50% of small business owners don’t understand what’s changing. Employers who make mistakes could face heavy fines and interest. Fortune
Instead of managing your career…
…take on jobs or roles that challenge and interest you the most, says Stephanie Stahl, co-founder of digital fashion site Apprécier. If you do fantastic work, the rest will take care of itself. Huffington Post
Former Valeant CEO and CFO under fraud investigation
Federal authorities are reportedly investigating former CEO Michael Pearson and former CFO Howard Schiller for accounting fraud. The investigation could involve the pharmacy Philidor, with which Valeant had a veiled relationship. Bloomberg
Trump may have used legally dubious tax methods
While Donald Trump has touted his avoidance of income taxes for nearly two decades as evidence that he’s a smart businessman, new evidence suggests he used a tactic that might not have held up in an audit. In part, he avoided millions in taxes by losing other people’s money and not reporting forgiven debt from a failed casino as income. This increased his reported loss, enabling him to avoid paying income taxes for up to 18 years. NYT
Samsung CEO to workers: Use the crisis…
…to improve how the company works. In a letter to employees, CEO Kwon Oh-hyun says the company must move forward after the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. He encourages employees to do some soul searching, discovering better ways for the organization to innovate and treat customers. Fortune
Up or Out
Coca-Cola has promoted Barry Simpson to CIO. WSJ
Fortune Reads and Videos
Hillary Clinton maintains a six-point lead over Donald Trump…
…after the announcement that the FBI had discovered emails that may be pertinent to its earlier investigation of her private server, according to latest poll. Fortune
Google reports a security flaw in Microsoft Windows software
It notified Microsoft on October 21; because hackers are exploiting the flaw, Google decided to report the issue publicly as well. Fortune
African Americans waited longer…
…than white men for Uber and Lyft rides to be accepted by a driver; women riders were taken on longer, more expensive rides. Fortune
Amazon.com launches Black Friday deals today
From now through December 22 it will keep offering new deals, sometimes as often as every five minutes. Fortune
Apple CEO Tim Cook turns 56 today. Biography