Sree Iyer: Hello and Welcome to PGurus channel. It’s a wonderful morning again. It promises to be another hot day in West Coast. I don’t know how things are with you in East Coast Sridharji? Namaskar and welcome to PGurus channel for our ‘Daily updates with Sridhar’.
Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar. Good morning Sreeji. We are looking at cloudy grey skies, but that can all evaporate in the next 30 minutes or so and bright Sunshine. So I think we have a mild day coming up here, but very interesting day in all-around in markets, politics as well as in economic context.
Sree Iyer: Let’s start with the political aspect, sir. Yesterday, there were two town hall meetings one each individually by Joseph Biden and Donald Trump. What is your opinion about how these two meetings went?
Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think it’s a tale of two contrasting stories. I think Trump is very optimistic, positive, he calls the shots as we saw it, bringing manufacturing, positive momentum in the economy more money being injected into the system, tax cut and asking it was an NPC facilitated asking NPC quoting NPC to ask the questions around some of these social issues and moments like Antifa and other movements that have taken place rather than being silent and subtle about those issues. It’s just that, they were socially destructive, it was a very combative, very aggressive and very firm. Most important was good to see him after his short break with Kuwait to be back on the campaign trail, Biden stuck to his script and Biden was about the same thing, which is pro-people, more money, more denying the scandals and more around his method of doing the stimulus which many people describe it as much more rustic and yet we actually can afford that level of stimulus.
Sree Iyer: So the next thing about the scandal that you brought in so we will segue to that. So those of you viewers who have not been following this here’s what happened thus far. A broken Mac. Allegedly landed at the store of a Mac repairman and this person tried to fix it and after fixing the Mac found out that there was some data very very critical data about emails from Hunter Biden to a Ukrainian, various people from Ukraine, some people very importantly connected and so on and so forth. This data was given over to the New York Post which put out a story that on New York Post. The story was completely banned by Facebook and Twitter and they’re into their own hot water right now. We are going to touch on that in just a minute here. But on the main story what has happened is the Republicans have really latched onto this and they have put Biden, especially Hunter Biden and Joe Biden on the Mac hiding some explanations as to what happened. Now, there is one important thing that I want to mention here is that Joe Biden was heard on a particular conclave where he prided that he got rid of the very regulator who was going after this company called Burisma for corruption and Burisma is connected with this whole US elections because Hunter Biden was part of that board and he was getting around 53,000 dollars a month from that. Sridharji, what do you make of it? Who do you think dropped off this Mac laptop and the service person’s desk? Any ideas?
Sridhar Chityala: Here’s a great question. But unfortunately, I am not an investigative journalist, I’m an economist and Banker coming from the financial markets, but generally, in these kinds of stories, you observe that there’s always something behind. One important point to add to your story is that he not only dropped but apparently this the shopkeeper besides calling the authorities also made a call to Rudy Giuliani, that kind of gained its own momentum and legs on the back of it. But the fact is that there’s this say that is, ‘There a Smoking Gun or There’s No Smoking Gun’ fact will come out but there is a lot of data that is coming out anecdotally, at least it points out that there’s some investigation needed. The connection between the allegations that are being made in terms of the connections to the Ukrainian and some of the decisions made under Joe Biden’s vice presidency and then, of course, also the connections to China and other Chinese businessmen. Now, Andrew Bates, the Democratic spokesperson has kind of denied he says they have checked and there’s no correlation to the dates that are being attributed apparently in this. But what I see in this is that something is going to come out, something is going to crack open because right throughout the four-year tenure of President Trump one after the other the kind of allegations were thrown at him all of them bound to be kind of not true which prompted, Don Trump Junior to come out with a video and state, “For four years, they were after me and my father and somehow connect me into some of these issues now, here is the case of the Joe Biden’s kind of family entangled.” So it seems like you know, there is a lot more political kind of connotations behind it. But having said that, there is some data and where it goes it remains the same.
Sree Iyer: You know, I’m reminded of the Hindi saying ‘sau sonar ki, ek lohar ki.’ and that video of Donald Trump jr. is available on YouTube channel of PGurus. In this conversation when we go live with this thing on YouTube, we will provide you with a link with that one also, so you can see for yourself what Donald Trump Jr. said. Now, let’s take a look at the stimulus package or the lack of progress thereof. Now we know that many of the federal Governors, as well as Steve Mnuchin, wants a stimulus deal wants to continue this one and he yesterday came out and said that if there is more money needed for increasing COVID testing we will find it somewhere and what was the response of speaker Nancy Pelosi to that because I thought that was our main sticking point.
Sridhar Chityala: Nancy Pelosi is now probably seizing an opportunity that has unlocked itself because Trump is very keen to get this done for the benefit of the people, right? It’s political suicide if he doesn’t do and he can be branded as someone who has mismanaged and who needed to do this rather than holding High Ground, however true Trump’s position may be right in the gap between 1.8 was his 2.2 trillion dollars. In fact, Trump has gone on to say that I can come up with a bigger stimulus than what’s actually on the table. This morning’s latest update is that there is seems to be reconciliation and move towards rapprochement between the two parties in terms of Democrats and Republicans. Having said that Mitch McConnell has said many in the Republican Party do not approve of this big package. They do not. They are still sticking to voting on the targeted 500 billion dollar package which we talked about in the past two days, Airlines Small Businesses, Local Administration and Government, Schools and Healthcare. They feel that’s what is needed in terms of the continuation of the stimulus package and helping the much-needed sectors, which requires support.
Sree Iyer: Contrast this with what is going on in India, where India is so reluctant to borrow any money from abroad. And they are trying to figure out ways to try and combat the relief for all this stuff by making food available to the lowest strata of the society at the lowest price and so on. These are very interesting contrasts, I’m not saying one is good or the other one is not. It is a very interesting contrast because the United States today being the reference currency of the world can afford to try and print its way through this problem many other countries cannot. Sir, moving on to Europe, the pandemic now, is again rearing its ugly head because now it is flu season, temperatures are cooling down, perhaps Corona might have a resurgence. We are seeing some cities declare night curfew. What is your sense on this? Because we also know that a couple of companies have stopped
doing their vaccine testing, they are back to the design drawing board trying to figure out what is wrong. So I see a slight shift in the air. Everybody was saying vaccine vaccine vaccine for a long time and now they are realizing that it is not such an easy game after all. What is your take on that sir?
Sridhar Chityala: There are two important drivers in terms of the future. Stimulus, vaccine, stimulus, vaccine, doesn’t matter who the president or who the vice president is or the who the global leader is stimulus and vaccine. Now, it’s very clear 2 trials fell off the rails, Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly. This morning breaking news is that the Pfizer wants an accelerated approval to start testing, end of November. So vaccine control will continue to drive on this. As far as the specific question that you asked relating to Europe, it seems like there is resurgent of the second wave of cases that is perking up is not just confined to Britain. It seems to come to France, Italy even Holland has imposed limited restrictions and then of course Spain. So there seems to be this tentacle of the second wave. So it’s almost like cause and cures unknown, but people are dispensing with it as they come to see what mitigating measures can be taken. Even in the United States, the cases have begun to go up. We’re now back to 54-59,000 cases per day. Same thing in India, the same in Asia, which we talked about yesterday morning. So there seems to be this resurgence of cases that are coming up. The only way they’re going to combat is, basically address it on a knee-jerk tactical basis
as things eventuate.
Sree Iyer: Thank you, sir. I just want a momentary hiccup on my side. Now, let’s take a look at what is coming down on the FCC side because there was a privilege in my opinion that social media companies enjoy in that they did not come under the purview of what I would call as media or newspaper or TV stations, in that they did not have to comply by some of the rigid rules and restrictions that the FCC imposed on media outlines. Now Ajit Pai is reconsidering that looking at 230. I think perhaps you can share a little bit more light on that and what in your opinion is going to happen to Facebook and Twitter as senate hearings are being scheduled right now on what happened regarding the New York Post email story
Sridhar Chityala: Oh, I think that’s a great question. I think this has been the much-needed subject of discussion and controversial, which is what do you treat social media companies at pure-play tech companies or you regulate them along the lines of media. Media is subjected to certain rules and regulations. Now tech companies, don’t fall under that, they have taken shelter under the pretext that, they need to mitigate themselves from any liabilities and damages that arise posts that appear in the platform by people more subscribers to the specific platform. That’s the mechanism under which they have been laying down rules and it seemed to indicate Randomness and arbitrariness and this is one of the topics that came up in yesterday’s town hall with Trump. All social media companies have pro-democratic. And so, therefore, you see much more sympathy and they take that first instance to hide anything that is controversial or contrarian as far as the Democratic Party goes in issues that pop up in the platform. So what we’re going to see is that most notably one of the Republican Senators, the post was blocked in terms of any attempted to post. I think one of them was even blocked from access to Twitter and Facebook and the Pennsylvania Senator, so the story is that this is it a little bit of high-handed in terms of the so-called rules. Now, Darcy was quoted yesterday saying that they botched up the NYU and they were probably little Hasty in rushing to that conclusion of blocking. My point is that there is going to be some form of Regulation that’s going to come in. Especially, so if Trump comes back as a President and there is a majority in the Senate. If Biden comes then the status quo will kind of continue and there will be changes but, the change will be inevitable only depending on the political leadership and will in DC.
Sree Iyer: So the race has tightened up in my opinion. I don’t know how you see it, sir, today. Today, we’re not going to look much at the markets or about Tech, because we have talked enough about tech today and we are almost at the end of our program. What do you foresee for the weekend? And when we come back on Monday, we can pick up this daily updates again, your thoughts and then we can wind up this program.
Sridhar Chityala: As I look at the weekend, they will be stimulus discussions. There would be discussions around the vaccine in the Covid. There will be discussions around the political beginning that just normal part during this season and each party trying to hold edge in terms of going in. The latest poll, which I have tweeted it and those who follow me, can see the Tweet is that Republicans feel that they are now holding an edge. The polls don’t reflect the Electoral College decisions and the polls don’t reflect the true sentiment there is what they call as an invisible poll. One of the reports indicates that JP Morgan’s internal or external polls, it indicates that, there is a small tilt towards President Trump.
Sree Iyer: Thank you very much Sridhar ChityalaJi. And as always viewers do tune in. Please refer to our program. We have this thing five days a week at 5:00 a.m Pacific Time, 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and 5:30 pm Indian Standard time. Namaskar, see you all and have a great weekend.
BTW, I see Farid Zakaria from CNN commenting on Indians and the election. Is he the best person for this? He is the one who hosted Rana Ayub on CNN as an expert on th Delhi riots.
A broken Mac? How did the repairman crack Apple disk encryption?