From the library of the New York Stock Exchange at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets in New York City, you're Inside the ICE House, our podcast from Intercontinental Exchange on markets, leadership, and vision and global business, the dream drivers that have made the NYSE an indispensable institution of global growth for over 225 years. Each week, we feature stories of those who hatch plans, create jobs, and harness the engine of capitalism right here, right now at the NYSE and at ICE's exchanges & clearing houses around the world. And now, welcome Inside the ICE House. Here's your host, Josh King of Intercontinental Exchange.
Our episode today was recorded live at a recent event held here at the New York Stock Exchange, the ICE Fixed Income Forum. The event brought together industry leaders to discuss urgent and pressing issues in the fixed income markets, including increasing automation across the front, middle, and back office, the evolving regulatory landscape, and the impact of sustainable finance in ESG on fixed income markets.
The day-long event convened by Amanda Hindlian, ICE's president of Fixed Income and Data Services, was held before a packed house in the iconic boardroom of the NYSE. The audience heard from ISDA's CEO, Scott O'Malia, ICE founder, chair, and CEO, Jeff Sprecher, among a lot of other speakers, including Wally Adeyemo, the Deputy Treasury Secretary of the United States.
Wally joined me remotely from Washington, DC for a wide ranging conversation that spanned the economy to sustainability, to cryptocurrency regulation. And after the break, the next voice you're going to hear is mine inside the boardroom instead of Inside the ICE House, introducing our audience to Deputy Secretary Adeyemo. Wally and I talked about the Fed's plan for the economy, projecting US economic power overseas, and his fascinating career journey. That's all coming up right after this.
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My name is Josh King. I wear, I think, three hats or at least three hats today. One is, as Ed mentioned, I'm head of communications for Intercontinental Exchange, I am the head of Corporate Affairs for the New York Stock Exchange, and I also have this side gig as host of the NYSE's and ICE's official podcast called Inside the ICE House. And one of the aspects of our conversation today with Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo is that we are going to be recording this conversation as an upcoming episode of the ICE House Podcast. As you could have inferred from the program, we had expected to have Wally sitting in this chair with me in person. Unfortunately, travel being what it is and the government needing what it needs, Wally is in Washington, DC. So as Joe Buck might say at the top of a Monday night football recording, "That's Wally. I'm Josh. He's in DC and I'm not."
But we are so pleased to have Wally with us today. Everyone finds a path into public service in a different way. Our first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, who did his work in creating the first report on the public credit, delivered to Congress, which sat about a hundred yards from here in Federal Hall on January 9th, 1790. Secretary Hamilton was born in the Caribbean island of Nevis. Our current Deputy Treasury Secretary made his way to our current capital, no longer New York City, but Washington, DC by way of Yale Law School, Cal Berkeley, and he was born in Ibadan, Nigeria.
I went back to read secretary a Adeyemo's testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on September 29th, 2015. Now, you have to remember what it was like September 29th, 2015. Wally was being nominated to become Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs and Development. But President Obama only had about a year left in his term until the election. There were very few nominations going through. Even President Obama couldn't even get a Supreme Court nomination through around that time. But nevertheless, he was nominated and he testified before then Chairman Richard Shelby.
And in his testimony he said this. He said, "The desire to instill the value of service in me led my father to wake me early in the morning of February 11th, 1990 to watch as Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Although the images on my television were of a reality thousands of miles from my home in California, I could feel the hope Mandela inspired not only in South Africans, but also in my father. Watching Nelson Mandela go from prisoner to president and start the process of bringing together a country was more than inspirational. It motivated me to imagine how I could use public service to improve the world around me. And it continues to remind me that events far from home can make a meaningful difference in the lives of Americans."
So Wally went on to serve as Deputy National Security Advisor to the President Obama for the next year, did a number of other things between the Obama and Biden administrations. And indeed, as we are seeing events play out on our television screens each evening, events far from home have a meaningful effect on all of us as Americans. So let's talk about it and give a big welcome to Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo.
Secretary, we are sitting just a few hundred feet from the place where Secretary Hamilton did his original work on the public credit. I've heard you mention him in several of your talks. Do you reflect much on his legacy as you are working in the building that bears his name?
Well, Josh, let me start out by saying thanks to you for having me today. I'm disappointed I can't be there with you in person, but appreciate the opportunity to talk to you virtually. And yes, I think everyone who works at the Treasury Department reflects back on what Secretary Hamilton did and how it continues to influence the way we think about monetary policy and economics in our country and to try and celebrate that legacy.
So I listened to the commencement address that you offered probably about a year and a half ago at Cal Berkeley. Mr. Secretary, you relayed a story to graduates of the way so many administrations end. And this is probably early 2017, President Obama is calling members of his staff in for individual pictures and chats as people who've served him for so long head off into the rest of their lives. And he said this to you. He said, "Even though your mother was pretty skeptical," he said, "With absolute certainty, you are going to be just fine, Wally." And given the current climate and the concern that all of us in the room probably feel, can you say with equal certainty what President Obama said to you? Can you say it to all of us, "We're going to be just fine"?
I think we're going to be better than fine, frankly. I just got back from a trip to Asia that I did last week. And one of the things that is always helpful when you go abroad, you see how people think about the United States. And people... My counterparts in Asia wanted to ask about how they could get involved in some of the investments around the Inflation Reduction Act, talk about the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill and what that meant in terms of US investment and economic growth. So my views were going to be better than fine, largely because of the decisions we've made here in the United States to invest in our future. So I feel good about where we're headed and I feel better about America than my mother felt about me than when President Obama said that I was going to be just fine.
So I want to drill a little bit into your trip to Asia that was just concluded last week because on the matter of events far from home having a meaningful difference in the lives of Americans, which you told Senator Shelby as you sat in the committee room, we have been tracking all of the movements that you've been on over the last week. You were in Bangkok for the APEC Finance leaders ministerial. We watched also, after you got back over the weekend, the 20th party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing where President Xi Jinping was appointed the day after the conference to really an unprecedented third term. How would you rate the United States's relative position as regards Asia as we head into 2023?
I'd say that our relative position is stronger today than it was two years ago, largely because of what we've done in the country to both get past the COVID pandemic, which in many ways is still impacting China as they're dealing with COVID-Zero, both because the economic investments we made but what we've done for a public health standpoint. But in addition to recovering from COVID, as all of you know, we've closed that output gap. We've also made selective investments in the future of the country, be it the Bipartisan Infrastructure law, the CHIPS Act, which was also passed on a bipartisan basis, and also the Inflation Reduction Act, which included historic investments in climate. All three of these bills, what they do is they expand the productive capacity of the US economy and put us in a better competitive position vis-a-vis other countries, including China going forward.
So often what happens after a senior government official like yourself attends one of these conferences is that your communication staff will type up and distribute what's called a readout, which is to sort of report on what happens in the conversations behind the scenes as people like the Deputy Secretary and his counterparts meet and talk about major issues in the region and really on the world. And I'm just going to quote a little bit from this published readout. It says, "The Deputy Secretary joined other APEC members in condemning Russia in its illegal and brutal war on Ukraine, which has created needless suffering and a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and negative spillovers across the global economy and the Asia Pacific region of these shocks, especially high energy and food prices have been particularly harmful to low-income and emerging markets."
So Wally, I also listened to your Pod Save the World podcast with Tommy Vietor and Ben Rhodes about how Secretary Yellen really has tasked you with spending more than 50% of your time on national security issues, how the work that you did to both create, impose, enforce, and continue to monitor the sanctions process against Russian... Given how the war is going, given how energy prices are fluctuating, how would you grade their effect six months on? And would you do anything different if you could bring us back to March?
I think the first thing I'll do, Josh, is thank the talented people at the Treasury Department who work on these issues day in and day out. One of the things that we're privileged to have a treasury is thousands of employees who have been working there through Democratic and Republican administrations working on issues like implementing sanctions and economic policy more broadly. What the secretary has done is brought together a cross cutting team across entire department that's focused on the set of issues that have been created by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including sanctions, but also how do we provide financing to Ukraine in order to make sure their economy continues to function as well as dealing with some of these negative spillovers.
When it comes to the sanctions in particular, they're only a tool and they're part of a larger foreign policy strategy. And what we've done with this tool is to, one, is deny Russia of revenues that they can use to prop up their economy and also to help buy the weapons they're using to continue their unjustified war, and the second piece is going after Russia's military industrialized system, which is reliant on supplies from the West. As you know, Josh, one of the most important lessons we've learned from COVID was that supply chains are vulnerable. A lot of what we're doing is trying to strengthen our supply chains domestically. But what we've done as part of our effort with sanctions, go after Russia's supply chain, go after the things they need to build, things like precision missiles, taking away their ability to get access to semiconductors, but also to heavy machinery that's key to building their weapons of war going forward.
And that has been truly effective as Russia is running low on ammunition; they've been unable to reproduce tanks. And what we've committed to doing with our allies and partners is to continue this effort to ensure that Russia has less vulnerability to continue to prosecute their war on the Ukrainians.
So let's geek out for just a second on semiconductors because I heard you talk to Ben and Tommy about that for quite a bit. I mean, talk a little bit about the steps that the US government, the Treasury Department have taken to bring the ability to manufacture semiconductors back home and at the same time deny semiconductors to an adversary like Russia because even a T-72 tank can't operate without this tiny little chip in it.
Yeah. And I think to just say what I know you know to be true is this is a team sport. A lot of the leadership on what we've done and we're doing on semiconductors in the US government is being driven by our colleagues at the Department of Commerce with our active support. But in addition to the CHIPS Act, which was passed in a bipartisan fashion by Congress, we've done a lot of things to try and strengthen the domestic production of semiconductors. We've seen announcements from companies like Micron and Intel who have said that they're going to build new foundries in the United States and invest capital here in places like Ohio and upstate New York, which will mean that over time we will have a more secure supply chain for semiconductors in our country.
But when it comes to Russia, one of the things that we know is that Russia needs advanced semiconductors, not only to build tanks, but to build the precision missiles that they're using in Ukraine. What we did in the early days working with Commerce was we denied Russia access to the most advanced semiconductors; semiconductors that are only made by countries in the West and some of our Asian allies, which meant that even if Russia were to go to other countries like China, they would be unable to get access to these semiconductors because countries can't give Russia what they don't have themselves. So by doing this, it's made it hard for Russia to build the things they need, not only to conduct their war in Ukraine, but to project power into the future.
And speaking of stories that are literally screaming off of the headlines, I want to read the names of the last four chancellors of the Exchequer, because all of them have served in office since July. Rishi Sunak, Nadhim Zahawi, Kwasi Kwarteng, and Jeremy Hunt. Now that Mr. Sunak is at 10 Downing Street, Wally, do you envision more stability in London? But do you also, you and Secretary Yellen, President Biden, take lessons from what Great Britain has been going through the last few months?
So I want just state how I'm happy are, and we want to congratulate Prime Minister Sunak who has been a close working partner of Secretary Yellen's for the vast majority of her time as Secretary of the Treasury. We've worked closely with him when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and we look forward to continuing that strong working relationship. But I think the President's made this clear. For the United States, the UK has been a reliable and steadfast ally. And that's going to remain regardless of who the Prime Minister is. But we know that Prime Minister Sunak brings a great deal of experience dealing with economic challenges and we think that he's up to the task of dealing with challenges that the UK faces, but frankly we all face when it comes to high levels of inflation.
You said it earlier, but when you look at the UK and you look around the world, today high rates of inflation, largely that are being driven by global shocks, one being a global shock that is COVID-19 that continues to roil the global economy. And while we're past lockdowns here, as I mentioned earlier, China is still experiencing heavy lockdowns. And the second shock being Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has driven high levels of headline inflation. I think what we've seen over the course of the last several months is that markets are paying a great deal of attention to how fiscal policy supports or doesn't support the work that monetary policy is doing to bring down inflation.
I think that's what speaks to the logic of the Inflation Reduction Act where we're making targeted investments in expanding the capacity of the economy, but also taking steps to reduce our debt and deficits in order to make sure that we're working in combination with the work that the Fed is doing to try and bring down inflation over time. I think it's going to be critical that we also take steps over time to put ourselves on a more sustainable path. That's why the President's called for modest increases in taxes for the wealthiest Americans in order to make sure that we have the money to pay for the things like the great military that we have in this country while making our debts and deficits more sustainable over time.
So then talking about higher levels of inflation and the efforts that you and Secretary Yellen and the administration have done through passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, I wanted maybe to pivot a little bit to one of the other aspects that you try to balance on the scale, and that is how and whether and when the United States may go into recession. Between the Biden and Obama administrations, you worked at a company that has very close relationships with ICE. We work with them all the time. And that's BlackRock. You worked as Interim Chief of Staff to its CEO, Larry Fink.
Larry was one of the first guests of Jim Cramer on Mad Money just a few weeks ago in July when Mad Money moved its home to the New York Stock Exchange. And he told Jim on the set, he said, "The Federal Reserve's tool is to tighten. And through tightening they limit demand. So is there a risk of recession? Sure there is. And even if there is one, it's going to be quite mild. The Financial foundation of America is as strong today as ever." Do you concur with what Larry said?
What I will say is that I agree that America is well positioned going into what I would say is a number of headwinds, many of which are coming from abroad, to deal with them. And I think part of that strength comes from the fact that consumer and corporate balance sheets are far stronger than they've been in a long time. We also have unemployment picture that is quite healthy with unemployment being at historic low levels. And we also entered this period with momentum in the economy that's being driven by corporates which have done quite well in terms of demand. So I do think that we are coming from a position of strength as we go into a period where we're dealing with headwinds, both continuing from COVID and also from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Another topic that Larry brought up and he's never shied away from, despite so much pushback from 19 state attorneys general across the United States, is his view on ESG issues and climate change initiatives. One of the initiatives, Wally, of the Inflation Reduction Act is to help the Biden administration meet its goals of cutting US carbon emissions by half by 2030 and getting to net zero by 2050. What is the role of the Treasury Department in mitigating climate change when considering that its central mandate is to really operate and maintain systems that are really critical to the nation's financial infrastructure?
I think the goal of the Treasury Department since Hamilton has been to support broad based economic growth in the United States, and that's exactly what the climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act help to do. They both bring down emissions, which is critical to meeting our climate goals, but the more than $300 billion of investment that is part of the Inflation Reduction Act targeted towards climate and creating a clean energy economy, private sector and university estimates say that it will knock up to $3 trillion of investment in the United States and help support more than a million jobs going forward.
So the reality is that we think that we can do two things with the climate provisions, both meet our climate goals, but also support our economic growth over time. And today, more than ever, we should think about these not only as climate goals, but as energy security goals, given the importance that moving away from fossil fuels has to putting us in a better position to deal with challenges like the one we're facing now as Russia weaponizes energy in the context of Europe when it comes to natural gas.
You mentioned the Biden administration's focus somewhat on gradual tax increases in some areas, but Treasury said earlier this month that it's seeking public input on how to implement $270 billion in new federal tax breaks for electric vehicles, clean manufacturing, energy efficiency. Why is the department soliciting public input on it and what are you hearing from them?
So a big part of this for us is that given the record amounts of money that are being invested in creating a clean energy economy, and to put this in context in inflation adjusted terms, this is almost twice as much money as was invested in the Marshall Plan in Europe. And the reason we're taking in public input is because we want to make sure that the stakeholders who are trying to incentivize, help us in understanding how best to design these tax provisions in a way that will help incentivize the type of behavior that we want to see, both the job creation but also helping us meet our climate goals.
But after we've solicited the input, the goal is to make sure that we provide clarity and certainty to participants in the economy so that they can go forward and make the investments that are needed to bring these things into fruition. And then finally to do it in a way that is mindful of the fact that these are public dollars and we want to make sure that we're securing them in a way that is beneficial to the American people. But the key here is that these are investments that hopefully will unlock greater investments by the private sector and help to expand the productive capacity of our economy going forward and put us in a better position to meet our climate goals, but also make the US economy more competitive in the future.
Cybersecurity is a topic that really is top of mind on a lot of folks in this room, Wally. You visited Israel about a year ago to establish a bilateral partnership to protect critical infrastructure in the financial sector and also recognize the importance of cooperation on cybersecurity to protect the integrity really of the international financial system. You signed just a couple weeks ago a memorandum of understanding with the Israeli government saying, and I'm going to quote you here, "This partnership has already resulted in the sharing of real-time cyber threat data to prevent the spread of ransomware and other cyber attacks from impacting the US financial sector." On a broader level, Wally, how would you rate our efforts to harden all of our infrastructure against the intrusion from financial exchanges to voting systems?
So like many things we do in this country, this requires a public private partnership just because, as all of you know, most of the infrastructure that we're talking about is owned by the private sector. One of the things that I'm encouraged by is how deeply we have formed a relationship with the financial sector in particular to make sure that we're better at hardening not only our systems, but really exchanging information and real-time information in order to protect us from state actors but also cyber criminals who are attempting to take advantage of our systems going forward.
I think the thing that I'll say is that while I think that our efforts have improved our security, it's a everyday task that we have to undergo. Each CEO that represents the companies in your room I know is spending more money and more time on this set of issues every day because that's what it requires. And our goal in government is to make sure that we're helping to support you in that work by providing you with real-time information and helping you better understand how you can protect your systems going forward. And we're going to stay engaged on this because we know that it's not only critical to your businesses, but it's also critical to the US economy.
When you walked into the Geithner Treasury Department in 2009 when you worked in the Obama administration, just coming out of the financial crisis, Wally, unemployment was about 9% or 10%. If you look at the numbers today, they're about 4%, about half of what they were in 2009. How do you see the unemployment rate being affected by this effort on Secretary Yellen, the government's behalf, President Biden to combat inflation?
So as you know well, the people with the lion's share of the responsibility for dealing with inflation as a federal reserve, but as I mentioned earlier, the President's made clear that this is his top priority. We're taking a number of policy steps to grow in the same direction, including through the Inflation Reduction Act. You're right that unemployment today is at a historic low levels. And I think one of the things that we're hoping is that as we deal with inflation and bring it down, we're also in a place where we can also have a healthy labor market coming out of it.
Part of the challenge we face today is that labor force participation is too low. So we're hoping that over time we'll increase the amount of people who are entering the labor force in order to make sure that for the companies I talk to, they have more people who they can hire. But we also know that right now we have a record level of job openings and a record high level of quits. I think we've seen the job openings and quits rates come down time. And I think those things happening as well as getting more people into the labor force will help us end up in a place where we could bring down inflation while also having a healthy employment outlook for the country going forward.
One other topic before we begin to wrap up, Wally, on the minds of a lot of people here, certainly the New York Stock Exchange and in the room, is the matter of digital assets and cryptocurrencies. The latest trend in sustainable investing is New Green Crypto, which has tremendous projections at about 50 times by 2023. What is the Treasury's current view on the viability of cryptocurrency?
So as you know, Josh, the President issued an executive order. They called on us to do a great deal of work on cryptocurrency. We've provided a number of reports that summarize where we stand on the set of issues. Overarching this is the idea that having a regulatory framework that helps to allow innovation, but make sure that we protect consumers, investors, financial stability, and prevent against the illicit use of tools like crypto is critical to us going forward.
I think the thing that we all know about innovation is that innovation moves very quickly. And the use cases we see today for crypto may be different two years, three years, five years from now. So the key for us is making sure that we create a regulatory framework that is flexible and able to deal with the changes that not only happen to crypto, but in various innovations that are happening in the financial sector. Ultimately, we think innovation is a good thing for the financial sector because it reduces costs for consumers and improves efficiency. But the key is to make sure that we're doing it in a manner that's consistent with our other goals, which include protecting consumers, investors, financial stability, and preventing illicit financial flows. We think that's possible and that's why we're excited about taking forward the work that the President called in his executive order.
One other topic before we let you go, Wally, very much in the mind of ICe, given its focus on the real estate industry and the mortgage space as well as everyone else in this room, is what is happening with interest rates, the affordability of homes in this country, the homelessness rate. What initiatives is the Treasury Department taking to help Americans bridge this gap and be able to afford a home if they want to buy one?
Josh, as you and others know, one of the challenges we face is that we just have too few homes in America today. Since the global financial crisis, we've built too little housing in America, especially affordable housing. And one of the things that we're focused on is making sure that we do everything we can to increase the amount of affordable housing that's built in the country and make that easier using the various tools we have from the federal government, including things like the New Markets Tax Credit, which goes towards providing financing to places like community development, financial institutions, which help to build in mostly low-income communities, but also thinking about what other tools we have to better encourage the construction of housing.
Affordability is a major issue I know in communities throughout the country, and this is going to require us to partner with the local governments and state governments where a number of the decisions are made around permitting of the construction of multi-family housing units. But fundamentally the challenge we're going to face is that we need to make sure that we have more housing in the country at a moment where we have a number of Americans who are in need.
To bring this conversation full circle then, sir, we began our conversation with you reflecting on the readout of your trip to Bangkok and your conversations with your fellow APEC foreign ministers. The full APEC summit is going to happen in Bali in November. President Biden has announced, or at least it's reported so far, that he may not make the summit due to family reasons. I was there for the first US hosted APEC Summit in Blake Island, Washington. We've hosted it as well in Honolulu in 2011. We are set to host it again in 2023. And you will be in office as well at that time, as will President Biden. Where do you put America's leadership across the Asia- Pacific Rim and really across the world as we get ready to welcome the world back to the United States for the third time in the APEC Summit?
I think one of the things that I appreciated about my time in Asia last week were the number of conversations I had with Asian counterparts who were excited about a renewed sense of US leadership in the region. People wanted to talk to me about the Indo-Pacific economic framework that the President had introduced, where we would go from here in terms of making sure that we deepen our economic relationships in the region. Fundamentally, what I found during my trip and during my conversation was that these countries want America to be engaged not only strategically but also economically in the region because it is in their interest, but fundamentally, it's also in our interest in the United States given that Asia is the fastest growing region in the world. We want to be in a position where American firms and workers are able to sell more goods and more services in that region, and they want to be in a position where they can connect with American innovation and ingenuity going forward.
I think we are going into 2023 in a position where there are a great deal of global headwinds. But given both the determination of the American people and the investments we've made in the United States, we're well positioned to take advantage of our relative strength in the global economy and look forward to hosting APEC in the country next year and to working with all of you because ultimately one of the most important things in America that gives us the strength is the strength of our private sector and the flexibility of that private sector and the fact that countries want to engage with you. So I look forward to 2023 and look forward to hosting APEC. We also look forward to working with all of you. Thank you so much for having me, Josh. It's great to see you.
Thank you very much, Wally. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo.
Thank you again to Wally Adeyemo, the Deputy Treasury Secretary of the United States. And if you like what you heard, please rate us on iTunes so other folks know where to find us. And if you've got a comment or a question you'd like one of our experts to tackle on a future show, email us at [email protected] or tweet at us @ICEHousePodcast. Our show is produced by Isabella Bizon and Pete Ash with production assistance from Ian Wolf. I'm Josh King, your host, signing off from the library of the New York Stock Exchange. Thanks for listening. Talk to you next week.
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