A Bipartisan Perspective of the 2020 Presidential Election with Donna Brazile and Karen Hughes

October 13, 2020

By Earl Clukies

EisnerAmper’s 5th Annual Alternative Investment Summit

EisnerAmper’s 5th Annual Alternative Investment Summit, 2020: A Year of Change, closed with a fireside chat with EisnerAmper CEO Charles Weinstein interviewing Donna Brazile, Founder of Brazile and Associates, LLC and the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee; and Karen Hughes, Worldwide Vice Chair, Burson Cohn & Wolfe, who served as counselor to former U.S. President George W. Bush and Under Secretary of the State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The trio discussed the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election and what may lie ahead for the country and world.

Key Insights

EISNERAMPER:

Do you think four more years of the Trump Administration will be as beneficial to the economy and markets as Republicans put forth and, conversely, would Former Vice President Joe Biden’s administration be as potentially detrimental as Republicans suggest?

HUGHES:

As a conservative, I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less regulation and if you look where the country was in March before the coronavirus hit, you saw the economic benefits of the tax cuts that President Donald Trump passed in 2017 lowering the corporate tax rate, which boosted economic growth and allowed companies to bring cash home from overseas. The country had record low unemployment and higher household incomes. I believe this is the result of conservative fiscal policies. Biden seems to have adopted some of Senator Bernie Sanders’ policies and his proposals would raise the corporate tax rate again, raising the individual tax rate, adding social security taxes on income above $400,000, taxing capital gains at 39.6% for those whom make more than $1 million which would have ramifications on the financial services industry. Biden’s ability to get these policies enacted depends on the control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

BRAZILE:

The COVID-19 climate will determine what will happen in 2021. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the national debt has skyrocketed. The trend was there before the COVID-19 crisis and after the Trump Administration’s tax cuts. A centerpiece of Biden’s economic plan calls for a raise in taxes for individuals with income over $400,000. If it is a Democrat-controlled Congress, House, and Senate, maybe this ambitious plan will get passed. It will be a tough sell to raise taxes but the Biden proposal is a balanced approach. If elected, Biden plans to go back and look at some of the regulation that the Trump administration has rejected from Artic drilling to methane omissions. It is very important to note that the economy will be on life support as long as this pandemic is not under control. The number one priority should be to get the pandemic under control so that we can get back to a strong economy. Biden’s plan would be better to get the virus under control. We cannot afford another government shutdown.

HUGHES:

As a communicator, it has been perplexing witnessing President Trump’s mishandling of the communication aspect of the virus: questioning the virus, sending mixed signals, disagreeing with his health experts, and refusing, for a long time, to wear a mask. Mask wearing should not be a political issue. We have responsibilities as citizens to protect each other and put an end to this coronavirus situation. We need to get back to work while not putting others at risk.

EISNERAMPER:

The government services industry and the financial services industry are alike in that they are under-represented in terms of gender and ethnic diversity. How can we, as a nation, improve on this lack of diversity?

BRAZILE:

We need to “open the doors.” If you open the doors, you will let in a variety of talented individuals which would increase the opportunities to grow your company and ability to communicate with your customers. Diversity and inclusion should be a part of every company and institution. You are not asking anyone to leave the room, you just asking that some scoot over to make room for others.

HUGHES:

When an effort is made to find qualified, capable candidates you would be shocked about the size of the talent pool. You can open the door by making the effort, reaching out beyond your usual circle. Diversity should be viewed as an asset. There are many studies that show that companies with diverse teams and leadership are more successful. Therefore, diversity should be prized and sought after instead of viewed as something you have to do.

About Earl Clukies

Earl Clukies is a Manager in the Financial Services Group with over five years of experience.