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Trump calls into virtual G20 summit, talks COVID-19 with world leaders

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President Trump joined the first of two virtual meetings with world leaders Saturday as part of a coronavirus-throttled G20 summit — in what could be the last international gathering of his presidency.

TRUMP TAKES CREDIT FOR PFIZER VACCINE DEVELOPMENT, SAYS AMERICANS WOULDN'T HAVE ONE YET WITHOUT HIS LEADERSHIP

Trump was set to beam in to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from the White House Situation Room for a meeting chaired by King Salman and attended by the leaders of 19 leading world economies. The international response to the pandemic was expected to be at the top of the agenda.

A lavish G20 gathering that had been set for the Saudi capital, complete with elaborate greeting ceremonies and elegant dinners, was sharply curtailed in September due to the worsening health crisis.

But organizers did not abandon the traditional “family photo” of the heads of state.

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Instead, they replicated the annual photo shoot by fashioning a collection of full-length pictures of the leaders into a composite image — with a grinning Trump in the first row — and projected the portrait on a wall in Riyadh Friday night.

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World News

Is Bidenomics turning into Bernienomics?: Maria Bartiromo, James Freeman 'The Cost'

Biden can’t ‘tax an economy into prosperity’: Art Laffer

Former Reagan economic adviser Art Laffer discusses President Trump and Joe Biden’s economic plans.

In their new book, “The Cost” FOX Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo and James Freeman of The Wall Street Journal review President Trump’s first term and highlight many of his policies that drove one of the greatest economic booms in U.S. history, pre-pandemic.

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The 2020 election has paired fiscal conservatives against leftist leaning Democrats and extreme socialists. Whether that mix will benefit Biden or backfire is explored in this excerpt of the book.

Chapter 9: Is Bidenomics Turning Out to Be Bernienomics?

Some Democrats must be wondering why their party asked them to show up and vote in this year’s primaries and caucuses. Since last winter Democratic voters nationwide have made it abundantly clear that they do not want a candidate promoting massive structural change in American government and society. But the party leadership seems determined to give them one anyway.

CHINESE SPIES, CORPORATE TRADE SECRETS: MARIA BARTIROMO, JAMES FREEMAN 'THE COST'

Beginning in South Carolina in late February and continuing through the final months of the nomination contest, Democrats soundly rejected the radical option: Vermont’s socialist senator Bernie Sanders. Exit polling data published by the Washington Post in March showed that, across the Super Tuesday states, most Democratic voters consider themselves conservative, moderate, or somewhat liberal, while a minority call themselves “very liberal.” Most of these Democratic primary voters don’t regard income inequality as the most important issue facing the country, and their votes made clear that they aren’t seeking the socialist revolution promised by Sanders.

But since the voters had their say, party leaders seem to be systematically ignoring the message. After vanquishing Sanders, former vice president Joe Biden has moved rapidly toward Sandernista positions on the environment, health care, financial regulation, and many other issues.

TRUMP’S TAX REVOLUTION: MARIA BARTIROMO, JAMES FREEMAN 'THE COST'

Perhaps Democrat bosses are revealing their true beliefs, or maybe it’s just a panicked response to the usual lack of enthusiasm for Biden. Despite strong polling, Biden doesn’t have an enthusiastic following. Kevin Roose reported in the New York Times in April: “Joe Biden is very famous, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at his YouTube channel. . .

“. . . [T]he virtual crickets that greet many of his appearances have become a source of worry for some Democrats, who see his sluggish performance online as a bad omen for his electoral chances in November.

“ ‘This video is 2 days old and it’s sitting at 20,000 views,’ one commenter wrote under a recent video of Mr. Biden’s. ‘This is a guy that is supposed to beat Trump?’ ”

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A Biden campaign podcast called “Here’s the Deal” was a springtime flop.

Biden’s sharp left turn on policy may help him secure some enthusiastic young Sanders voters. But since there were demonstrably more Biden voters than Sanders voters, one wonders how many aging non-radicals will come along for the leftward ride in November. After defeating Sanders, Biden decided to start taking the socialist senator’s advice and giving him a say in the Biden agenda, and adopting many of his policies.

MARIA BARTIROMO, JAMES FREEMAN: THE TRUMP AGENDA – VOTERS NEED TO THINK ABOUT COST OF NOT HAVING HIM IN CHARGE

In the summer, they set about crafting ideas to appeal to party radicals. In Forbes, Sally Pipes described the new groups created to draft policies as “a who’s who of the progressive elite—and signal that Biden is going to run for the White House on a platform that is further to the left than any Democrat in history.

“His healthcare task force is a haven for advocates of a government takeover of health insurance. . . .

“The highest-wattage name on Biden’s climate change task force is New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has made the Green New Deal her signature legislative proposal.”

In 2019 the Green New Deal and its potential $100 trillion price tag received not a single vote in the U.S. Senate even though a number of senators, including vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, had served as cosponsors. But its radical author is helping to craft the Biden plan for governing. In the summer of 2020 Ocasio-Cortez and her radical colleagues joined with Team Biden to publish a long document entitled, Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations.

OCASIO-CORTEZ FIRES BACK AT TRUMP IN SUBURBIA DEBATE

The 110-page Biden-Sanders coproduction essentially calls for the political revolution long promised by Bernie Sanders. It says that “Democrats commit to forging a new social and economic contract with the American people.” Just like the Sanders campaign—and just like Venezuela’s socialist constitution— the new Biden plan recognizes things like housing and health care as rights guaranteed by government. The plan promises higher wages and affordable financial services. The “new social and economic contract” will also provide policies to address America’s alleged history of “economic exclusion and political suppression.”

The plan makes clear that the goal is to grow the public sector, not the private economy: “We will invest in the caring workforce, including by directing significant funding to state and local governments to retain and hire more teachers, public health professionals, nurses, home care workers, social workers, and other critical positions. Democrats reject any efforts to privatize public-sector jobs, from our schools to the United States Postal Service.”

There’s so much more, from Medicaid expansion to a new government-run health plan to free public college and university tuition for most students to applying ancient telephone regulation to the internet to a new Office of Environmental Justice to prosecute business.

Maria Bartiromo joined FOX Business Network (FBN) as Global Markets Editor in January 2014. She is the anchor of "Mornings with Maria" on FBN (6-9 AM/ET), which is the number one pre-market business news program in cable, and anchors "Sunday Morning Futures" (10 AM/ET) on FOX News Channel (FNC), which routinely ranks as the highest-rated show on Sundays in cable news. In April 2017, Bartiromo was also named the anchor for FBN’s weekly primetime investing program "Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street" (Fridays at 9 PM/ET).  "The Cost" is her fourth book.

James Freeman is assistant editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and author of the “Best of the Web” column. He is co-author of "Borrowed Time: Two Centuries of Booms, Busts, and Bailouts at Citi," a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Financial Times Business Book of the Month. He is a Fox News contributor and former investor advocate at the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

This essay is adapted from "THE COST" by Maria Bartiromo and James Freeman. Copyright © 2020 by Bartiromo Productions LLC and James Freeman. Reprinted by permission of Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.  All rights reserved.

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Economy

More money flowing into hedge funds amid global unrest

For the first time in more than two years, more money is flowing into hedge funds than is being pulled out of them as smart-money investors look to protect themselves from growing uncertainty around the world.

The third quarter of 2020 saw net inflows of $13 billion for the hedge fund industry as a whole, marking the first time since the first quarter of 2018 that asset managers attracted more from investors than they lost, according to data from Hedge Fund Research.

“Institutions globally are making forward-looking allocations to hedge funds,” HFR president Kenneth J. Heinz said in a statement. They are doing this, he said, because they are “anticipating and positioning for the near-term uncertainties of both the virus and the US election, as well as intermediate-term macroeconomic uncertainties of the US, European and Asian economies into 2021.”

The hedge fund industry had been rocked by widespread poor performance in recent years, leading clients to pull their money and even forcing some funds to return everything before they shut down entirely. In fact, more hedge funds have closed than have opened in the past five years, cutting the entire industry almost in half.

That winnowing down of hedgies has also allowed the big to get bigger, a trend that is reflected in HFR’s data.

Between June and August of 2020, funds managing more than $5 billion netted $11.2 billion in new investment while funds running between $1 billion and $5 billion saw a reverse result with net outflows of $810 million.

One example of the rich getting richer is Larry Fink’s behemoth BlackRock, which manages $7.8 trillion. It reported net inflows of $129 billion in the third quarter alone, a 7 percent increase in the firm’s vast asset base.

But in a signal that the industry is poised for a rebirth with new investors taking the lead on boutique strategies, HFR found that funds managing less than $1 billion saw net inflows of $2.6 billion.

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