>> Hello, everyone and welcome to "Amanpour & Co.." Here's what's coming up -- Tiktok is a weapon, by the Chinese communist party to spy on you, and exploit for future generations.
>> A confrontational hearing on tiktok as tensions rise between the U.S. and China but is the social media app the real th threat?
Perspective from facebook former chief security officer, then -- >> The assault on tin man square is underway.
From has been gunfire.
There are people wounded in various places around Beijing.
>> As China grows in assertiveness around the world, our correspondent has seen and covered it all.
>> On this latest round of fed increases, they got it just right.
>> In the U.S., the fed raises ranks as the U.S. banking system face a new crisis of confidence.
William Cohen joins Walter Isaacson.
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>> And welcome to the program, everyone.
I'm Michael sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
Now, the intense competition between the United States and China boiled over in congress in a hearing over the social media app tiktok and how it handles data and information.
Tick tock is the most downloaded app in the world with 150 million users in the U.S. alone but on this issue, at least members of congress agree, voicing their concerns over its ties to China and its impact on America's youth.
>> Tiktok has repeatedly chosing the path for more control, more surveillance and more manipulation.
Your platform should be banned.
>> I still believe that the Beijing communist government will still control and influence what you do.
>> They say U.S. officials who want to ban tiktok are part of a zen phobic tiktok.
He defenderred he is country's awe Tommy and security.
>> We've been building what amounts to a firewall that seals protected U.S. data from unauthorized foreign access.
>> Here's someone who knows all about global online threats.
Alex Stamos is the chief security officer at facebook and now runs a team at Stanford reserving all of this.
Welcome to the program.
Were you at all reashired by the reinsurances officered talking about firewall control and so on.
How much of this is about data security and how much about the U.S.-China political rhythm?
>> I have to give him credit for showing up to a hearing that united Republicans and Democrats yelling at him about a variety of things.
He talked about project Texas, a multiyear version of tiktok that runs in cata centers hosted by the American tech giant Oracle and to build a variety of controls they say would protect American users.
The fact that really hurt tiktok yesterday is that they were caught having Chinese employees spy on American journalists.
This was revealed several months ago after they denied it over and over again and the fact that they had denied that folks in Beijing could get to this data and it was proven not true makes it very hard for people to trust them now.
It's hard to build that kind of system to protect against the engineers who are writing the actual code.
Tiktok hasn't documented any of the technical details so folks like us on the outside can be an opinion.
They've shown some of this stuff to the American committee but this is not a technical group so nothing he said yesterday makes me feel like the challenge they've set out to protect data from Beijing is something they could live up to.
>> So when the political leadership of China says we're not doing any of these nefarious things.
And as we heard earlier, saying it's a zen phobic witch hunt.
Do you buy that for a minute?
>> Not fall.
Wherever believe of tiktok, oillet believe the people's republic of China when they say they respect data in the United States.
The intelligent services inside the people's liberation army are in a constant cyberwar against western companies and the U.S. government.
Over and over they have broken into large American companies to get access to either intellectual property to make China dominant in 21st industry such as seems to me conductors or mass amount of user data from Americans.
They took databases of starwood and Marriott hotels, travel information from the saber system.
They stole the clearance information for millions of Americans, including my information from the office of the personnel management of the U.S. government.
That is why people don't believe when the Chinese government says this.
They have a history of gathering up all this data.
The risk to an individual, not that big.
Tiktok doesn't know a huge amount of people compared to other apps they might use but aning a gate to have access on 150 million Americans and over a billion people globally, there's no way the people's republic would be able to resist using it.
>> Cata is a massive issue but there are other fearers about tiktok too, particularly propaganda spread, manipulation of opinion and so on.
What is the worry that China has information to push disinformation, shape narratives, elevate some views, suppress others?
>> You do have to look attic tock in the context of what is going on in the information war between China and the west.
Over the last four years or so, the people's republic has massively invested that they overseas property capability.
Driven first by Hong Kong where the Chinese government found themselves outmatched by teenagers and students who were very Internet savvy and then because of Covid-19 and the embarrassment of covid coming from the Wuhan area of children, that is something the Chinese have fried to drive the conversation around.
The overt means are state media and the sponsorship of all these different media outlets that sometimes are part of the Chinese government, sometimes much more subtle and then covert, the fake accounts and identities where they push this propaganda.
Both these you can find on tiktok.
More than on facebook or other platforms?
There's no proof but certainly that possibility will be treated different lited.
>> It was interesting that he was trying to distance himself yesterday but going back to the hearings, let's play one exchange where republican Debbieless co-as an example of that races the treatment of China's Muslim minority.
Let's have a listen.
>> Do you agree that the Chinese government has persecuted the eager population?
>> If you find our app and use it, you'll find all kinds of -- >> That's not my question.
Do you agree that the Chinese government has -- the wegar population?
It's a pretty easy question.
Do you agree that the Chinese government has persecuted the wegar population?
>> Wongwoman -- congresswoman, I'm here to talk about tiktok and what we do as a platform.
>> Three questions and they're pretty much avoiding it all together.
Does that concern you when you look at what the platform might do with something as sensitive as wegars?
>> That was a very telling exchange and demonstrates that tiktok is technically a Singaporean affiliate but it is controlledded by Beijing.
The key executives to run it are in Beijing.
Mr. Xi himself is Singaporean but he must go to Beijing all the time to talk too his bosses.
Over the last several years, the Chinese communist party has brought to heel the domestic tech Alitys of China.
Some have dispeered and not seen by their families for months because they had tiny criticisms of the Chinese communist party.
Yakima is an example of this.
One of the biggest investors in Chinese industry right now no one knows where he is.
I think that it's not his fault and not the people of the fault who work attic tock and honestly not the fault of the employees of bite dance who work in Beijing.
I don't think they want to be spies for China or manipulate the algorithm -- algorithm.
They've built a really fun product that people like but they live in an author Ontario system where they don't get to choose without also serving the desires of the party.
>> Eloquently put.
I wanted to go back and broaden this out.
I know you've written that these concerns, the sort of things we heard in congress are bigger than one company and perhaps the Biden administration for the moment is missing ran opportunity to address the big picture that I think as you wrote, tiktok is only one chess piece in a global struggle in control of information.
>> Yes, it is a little silly we've spent three years fighting about one company and there's all this bipartisan agreement to try to ban tiktok and it looks like that might happen and the day after that happens, they can slap each other on the back and say we worked together but -- to make America safe but the truth is, nothing has been solved.
If you look at your apps, most of them are from Chinese companies.
Or they're using ad networks and sell it only the open market to anyone who wants to buy it.
That is the core problem.
Unlike almost overrer developed frizzed country in the world, the United States does not have a federal previewcy law.
It is not illegal to take most user data and store it in China.
Crazily enough, congress has never said in the law that you're not allowed to do that.
The way to address this is not just to punish tiktok, which does pose a risk.
It's to look attic tock as amp exemplar and use that as what kind of previewcy policy do we want to build and now apply to all companies equally, including American companies and two, where can -- where can data flow around the world?
My suggestion would be that the U.S. and its European allies come up with agreements and then have neutral countries have slightly different rules.
Bad October -- about Iraqis or cybercrime in the past.
China and Russia at the top of that list and then say you cannot have American data flow to those countries.
If by spend three years per app, we'll never have this problem solved.
>> That's a good point.
When it comes to China.
Bite dance and tiktok, China considers technology like algorithms to be critical to its national security.
Do you think Beijing will accept any deal that removes direct control over tiktok's algorithm?
I think you described that as almost creepily smart.
Do you think that tiktok would prefer to be banned or hand over that access?
>> So I think tiktok the company and bite dance are trying to walk the tightrope between the U.S. and the people's republic.
The whole idea of project Texas was that they would have have -- be able to have intellectual data exist here but in a way that they still felt like they had control of it.
That is the crux of the problem.
It's an interesting proposal.
There are no technical details.
I don't think it's going to work politeically.
In the U.S. there's no political will to defend tiktok or China.
We're once again in a political season and both parties are going to try to outhawk in China.
You saw that in congress.
It was almost a ratcheting up of who could say the crazier things about tiktok and China doesn't really care about the economic outcome.
I think if bytedance spun it out into its own publicly traded company, they'd make a fortune.
Partially because they could re-enter the Indian public where they're current banned.
They would never allow the precedent to be set that pressure from America could cause a spinout so I think we're headed towards a collision course where, if the U.S. gives the Biden administration to shut this down, and that's what the current proposal is, not just to kill tiktok but give the president is choice and the president decides to ban tiktok, there's going to be a big legal battle and then there will be a showdown between Beijing and Washington with bytedance and tiktok in the middle.
>> I have two children who are young adults who are super smart people, I'd like to think.
When I talk to them about data, they're like, too late, it's gone.
When it comes to cata, do you think it's a reality that people under 40 don't care about that anymore as long as there's a payoff?
Do you think they're looking at congress and going OK, boomer?
>> Certainly, you didn't see a lot of young people with really vigorous young questions being asked yesterday.
I have to -- two teenagers and a preteen and yes, there is a certain amount of nihilism among young people regarding data privacy.
They also seem to care a lot more about their impact in the world and if you explain this is what their participating in and how they're getting manipulated, young people are more resistant.
Young people are better at spotting online disinformation than boomers or people our age.
And I think there is some hope from just because gen-z doesn't care doesn't mean it's not our responsibility as the older folks, to pass a law here.
That's what I said.
You listen to me, I said to me.
Alex Stamos, appreciate your expertise on this fascinating discussion.
>> Thank you.
>> In China, tiktok is banned but its sister app is a huge hit despite being heavily censored.
Correspondent Shurina wang with the view from Beijing.
>> China is slamming the U.S. for considering a ban on tiktok and China's congress ministry says it firmly opposes a sell of tick tock.
Beijing has ultimate approval over a sale so Beijing my prefer it to get banned than to fall into U.S. hands but China does not even allow tiktok at home.
Pressure is building again in Washington to ban tiktok, all because it's owned by a Chinese company, byte departments dance.
In China, tiktok isen bad, in fact, it never existed.
Instead, there's a separate variety of bytedance in China.
It was already a viral sensation in China before tiktok launched overseas.
I have tiktok pulled up on my U.S. phone and the Chinese version.
They have very similar home pages and interfaces.
This one has a card inivity and something do get around the Chinese firewall.
But dohi has features.
And users under 14 can only use the app for 40 minutes a day and see kid-safe content.
Plus, they automatically put on this heavy Ba'ath filter when I open up this function.
Media is heavily censored.
So if I time in something like tiananmen19 9, I get a text that says no search results available.
Vs. on tiktok, a bunch of videos pop up about the massacre.
One of Washington's concerns is that because of its Chinese ownership, Beijing could use its propaganda and censorship methods on tiktok too.
The other fear is that tiktok could be forced to hand over data to the Chinese government.
Beijing says the U.S. government has been abusing state power to suppress over country's companies but the irony is that China has outright blocked countless foreign apps.
Including what's up, Netflix and more.
On doing, Chinese company has been shielding it from angry Americans.
>> If the Chinese want our data, they can buy it on the free market we love so much!
>> I'm Joe Biden, I'm 0 years old, not a teenager.
There are quite a few million people on tiktok who are not going to vote for you if you ban this app.
>> Flewers on doing are accusing the Americans as annex accuse to clamp down on tiktok.
But the big question is whether tiktok is just start.
How are lawmakers going to deal with other Chinese apps?
Four out of the top 10 apps are owned by Chinese companies.
Including video editing app cap cut.
How much can the line be drawn and how much can that influence politics in the future?
>> My next guest, Mike served as a senior correspondent.
He spent more than 30 years helping western audiences understand China.
In his new book, he focuses on the often tense history of U.S. journalists reporting from the mainland.
I asked Mike about the tiktok question and China's growing influence.
Mike, welcome to the program.
Before we get to the book and the incredible stories in it.
We've been talking about tiktok.
Its data collection, potential security there it and so on.
I'm curious in your own experience, how interested would China be in the data that tiktok collects and how likely would it be to use that data in the influence of its algorithms to further its own interests?
>> The way the Chinese system works, it vacuums up huge amount of data on its own citizens and whatever else it can collect but that doesn't mean that the Chinese are going through every little teenage girl's dance performance but it does mean that if the ministry of state security or other security officials in China say to tiktok's parent company, we want information on such and such, the parent company bytedance doesn't really have a choice.
So the potential is there but the notion that somehow everybody's data is being made use of by the Chinese is unrealistic but they do have the capability to focus in if they feel they have a political need to.
>> Yeah, a good summary there.
There was that meeting between the Chinese president xi jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin.
Let's listen about how the U.S. sees that relationship.
>> It's important to remember that this is a marriage of convenience, not offererfection, not of love.
Where they intersect is pushing back on the United States and our influence around the world.
They'd like to change the rules of the game and in each other, they see a useful foil, a useful friend.
They're basically trying to use each other to challenge U.S. leadership and the west, particularly from Europe but elsewhere around the world.
>> Mike, would you agree with that assess yes.
What do you make of the relationship between xi and put season in particular the tightrope Mr. Xi walks perhaps in wanting to leverage that relationship in a geographical power context while at the same time needing U.S. and Europe in an economic sense.
>> I think that's a very good description that xi jinping is walking a tightrope.
On the one hand the assessment that both Beijing and Moscow see each other as useful in countering the United States is absolutely accurate.
In the late 1960's, the Soviet union and China almost went to war.
But if Vladimir Putin really need China.
It's his only big, meaningful supporter and for xi jinping it is a tool to push back against the United States but China is facing serious economic problems exacerbated by the way they handled covid.
First with zero lockdown and then abandoning those.
The relationship with the U.S. is still extremely important everyone though the two economies are very interconnected so he has to be careful how far he can go.
That does constrain him somewhat.
If it looks like the war in Ukraine where it looks like the Russians are lucky going to lose or pout season going to be overthrown, it might modify the Chinese calculus but at the moment, they want of prop up Putin while not being so much in the embrace of Russia that it deeply messes up economic ties with the U.S. >> Your book is called "assignment China: An oral history of American journalists in the people's republic."
What made you want to write it?
>> I began this project about 15 years ago and the idea behind it is that, the way in which the journalists who covered China do so is really important in shaping how Americans and people around the world understand China but very few people know how journalists do their job.
What it means to go out and the -- in the field and report so I thought it was be interesting to tell the story of the people who have told the China story over the decades.
What was it like to have the life correspondent in Shanghai in 1949 when the red army rolled?
What was it like trying to watch China in the 1950's and 1960's when you couldn't go from?
Being with Nixon in 19 2 or being in tiananmen judiciary in 1989 as I was for cnn.
People who consume news, if they understand the way in which journalists on the ground gather it, they'll have a much more sophisticated appreciation of the information they're getting and a better sense of the people who are out doing that job on the front line and that's the idea behind the book.
>> Chairman mao started that in tiananmen square in 1989 and not a single American journalist was there to cover it.
You later wedge as cnn's correspondent.
What has been the theme just to report news out of China?
>> I think the central theme which comes through in my book, "assignment China," has been this constant battle of American and other foreign journalists to try and penetrate the veil of secrecy, to get beyond the restrictions that the Chinese communist party as put up in its effort to control the narrative.
There have been periods like in the 19 50's and 19 sixth and much of the 1970's where American jabble journal journalists weren't allowed to be based in China or even to go there.
It's ebbed and flowed based on the political climate and the China-U.S. political relations.
When I was there for cnn in 1985, there was, of course, the crackdown on tiananman square.
Things got easier but now it's gotten back to where it's extremely tough for American and foreign correspondents.
>> You write about a golden age of reporting on the ground.
If golden age is the right term.
At which tiananma en square brought that a halt.
Let's listen to your reporting.
>> From has been gunfire.
There are people dead and people wounded in various places around Beijing.
The soldiers became on both sides of tiananmen square but there is a breach lull after an hour of absolutely wild activity, including nearly 45 minutes of virtually nonstop fu.
From my advancage point I can see flames from an armored carrier overturned and set alight by the protesters.
>> A remarkable reporting of a remarkable event.
You became cnn's first Beijing correspondent.
That was in 1987.
What was it like reporting after tiananmen?
>> In the year or two after it was very tough.
You couldn't get permission to really go anywhere or do very much.
But in the early 1990's.
The then leader of China, moved to restart the economic reforms that he'd begun in the 1980's while not doing anything in terms of political reform and as the Chinese economy grew, as the boom took shape, it became considerably easier.
There were still all sorts of problems and suspicionings but increasingly places in China, officials in China wanted coverage.
They thought it would bring foreign investment.
They thought it would help.
At the time I left the Beijing bureau oin 1995.
It was kind of the end of what some called the golden age.
There was greater access and greato receptivity and that climaxed with the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Kind of the highlight of press access and after that as the political climate in China has changed and particularly since xi jinping has become the top leader, it's gotten much more pre.
>> Repressive internally and emboldened externally including its treatment of the foreign press.
Just a handsful of American journalists are very constrained in what they can do in China.
>> You write the climate for China-based reporters is more restrictive than at any time since it embarked on that program in the late 1970's.
Do you feel the doors have closed and look to be remain closed for the foreseeable future?
>> The doors are not completely shut.
Most major American news organizations are still able to keep one or a couple of correspondents on the ground in Beijing and I think the Chinese government craves the legitimacy that comes from being able to say we have a "New York Times" correspondent in our capital.
We have Wall Street -- journal core responsibilities covering our economy.
The conditions on the ground are much harder.
It's much harder to travel around.
All sorts of obstacles to meeting and interviewing people and also a steady diet in the officially run Chinese press that describes journalists, American journalists as spies.
Correspondents will often encounter people who are not only necessarily afraid to talk to them but openly hostile and there have been a lot of ugly incidents.
So the result is that, while there are still some folks on the grounds in China, increasingly coverage in China as, in an odd way come full circle from the stories I recount in my book where more and more coverage is being done from add the -- outside the country.
People are dusting off the skills of the old China watchers, which is what I was when I first began my Hong Kong career in the mid 1970's.
Scouring the Chinese press for clues, trying to determine who's up and who's down so it's a different kind of journalism that hearkens back to the way in which the country was covered decades about that journalists are now being forced to do because of restrictions and being on the ground and being able to see it for yourself which is the central thing you want to do as a correspondent.
While the west often plays the short game, China plays the very, very long game.
What do you think the west misunderstands about China, it't wants?
>> That's a really good question.
I think -- we're certainly seeing a dramatic tighting in China but I think this perception of China as the existential threat is overblown.
I think xi jinping wants to make the world safe for the Chinese communist party.
That means increasingly tight controls at home, throwing China's weight around wherever they can towards that goal and increasingly they've had the economic cloud to use that leverage, for example, when they were angry at Australia because the Australian government suggested an independent inquiry into the origins of covid.
They imposed all sorts of tough economic measures and done the same with Lithuania because it's close to Taiwan.
It's important in the discussion of China to be absolutely clear headed about the need to push back in certain areas but to not sort of overhype the threat and to not make the discussion -- the public discussion about China be one where, like in the states, politicians are falling over themselves to show who can be tougher on China and there's this ugly undercurrent of ra racism, suspicion of people of Chinese origin and so on.
So the need now is for even more careful and precise reporting and discussion about China and avoiding the kind of o one-dimensional caricature.
>> It's a fascinating book and that was a fascinating discussion about it.
It's always a treat to see you, Mike.
>> Thanks very much.
>> Now, banking stocks have been getting hammered again in week from anxiety we haven't seen since the 2008 global financial crisis.
Confidence crumbling since two regional U.S. Banks collapsed, putting greater scrutiny on financial system and last-minute emergency measures being taken to stop credit suisse from failing.
The U.S. federal reserve called the impact of the crisis uncertain as it nudged interest rates higher on Wednesday.
We asked if the fed was doing enough.
>> Thank you, Michael.
Welcome to the show.
>> Great to be here, thank you.
>> So the filled just raised another quarter of a point.
They have to worry about fighting inflation but now they have this banking crisis.
Do you think they got the Goldilocks soup right?
It's just the right temperature?
>> I think on this latest rounds of fed rate increases they got it just right because if they had not raised rates, it would have signaled to the market that this national crisis, this banking crisis is worse than it probably is at the moment.
If they had just kept rates flat they would have been giving in to those who are concerned that perhaps this thing is spiraling out of control.
And if they'd raced it 50 basis points, they would have, in effect, ignored this "banking crisis."
So 25 basis points is perfect.
Goldilocks is right.
>> And you say it's because in banking crisis is not spiraling out of your -- control in your opinion and in general Powell's opinion.
>> I think in each case, in each bank that has failed in the last few weeks, has a -- generous aspect to it.
Silicon valley bank was a unique ecosystem catering to venture capitalists, providing them with all sorts of special deals on various pieces of financing and then many of those, depositories there had more than $250,000 so they were a vastly uninsuranced group of depository.
They started talking to each other, telling each other to take their money out.
No bank can survive that signature bank in New York was also different.
I'm not sure we know exactly why that bank was declared to have failed and to be shut down.
Something to do with crypto-related loan portfolio.
Something to do with the management team that's not exactly clear.
I find it fascinating that Barney frank, the author of the Todd-frank law was on the board of signature bank.
That's still a bit of a mystery but not connected to the main banking system.
And of course, credit sw -- suisse, a sad end to that institution.
But they had been failing for years.
>> Silicon valley bank.
You and the banking industry have a technical term for it which begins with a.
Explain to me what that theory is.
>> The "a" theory, shall we call it, is frankly, again, getting bark to who the climate of this bank were.
This bank was at the center of the silicon valley ecosystem, hence the name silicon valley bank.
It had about 25 branches.
Most of which were in California.
A few on the East Coast because they had bought a private bank there but this was a bank that catered to extremely wealthy venture capitalists and their portfolio companies and I think this was also a bank that was usedded to catering to these individuals by Viving them sweetheart deals and their portfolio companies.
Pre-revenue, pre-profitability and still managed to get very favorable loans.
That just became a portfolio that isn't all that attractive.
>> You mean it was sort of a fear of missing out crowd out there that made people want to cater to them?
>> Exactly and if your name is silicon valley bank then you better be catering to the silicon vale crowd or else somebody else will.
>> What was the underlying problem?
That people invest in the bank didn't realize that rates were rising and got caught short?
>> I think it was a combination of factors.
On the one side you had this whisper campaign by the bank's clients.
The bank is in trouble.
We have to get our money out and fast.
No bank can survive a run on bank like that.
>> Was that sort of happening on social media as well?
Do you think twitter contributed to this?
I borrow -- my second book was "house of cards" about the collapse of bears-Stearns.
In this March of 2008.
Bears Stearns collapsed in about a week and that was considered lightning fast.
This happened in about 24 hours, make 3 and I think the effect of social media on the situation was exacerbating and ultimately devastating.
People would have had time to get their mind around what was happening but now it's too fast.
>> Congress passed a de-reg act in 2018.
To what extent did that deregulation restrict to this problem?
>> Incrementally because silicon valley bank was one of the Banks that got effectily exempted from careful and detailed oversight but the fed as a result of that change in 2018, which raised the testing on these Banks from 50 billion of deposits to 250 billion of deposits.
Silicon valley bank at the end had about 215 billion of deposits so had the level for higher scrutiny remained at 350 billion then there's a great -- 30 million, then there's a great degree of possibility that the failings of silicon valley bank -- the clientele concentration.
Its portfolio concentration.
Its buying bonds at the top of the market.
That would have been picked up by the feds testing and stress testing and I think we probably would have avoided this, quite frankly but that's a hypothetical you'll never know.
Signature bank also was exempted they had about 100 million in deposits.
Had the limit been kept at 50 million, they would have all been caught up in the stress testing and they didn't want that because it's too vigorous and probably very annoying but it would have revealed to the regulators the riskings inherent.
They should have seen it anyway.
I don't know why they didn't.
Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, it's obviously -- obvious the mistakes they were making.
>> Don't we have to put these regulations back on?
>> I would say, Walter, that, because of the deposit limit, the no limit on insured deposits that in effect we've nationalized the Banks, or federalized the Banks.
I'm not even sure why we necessarily need to pay C.E.O.
's and C.F.O.
's and risk managers at Banks to do their job because they essentially are being backstopped by the federal government now.
Now, it's only for a year so hopefully it will remain temporary unless we are in effect -- Banks like Mitterrand did in the 1980's.
>> Should we be doing that?
What do you think?
>> That's not our system.
That's never been our system.
We've never had -- well, we probable have had in history -- history, very -- various central Banks but now we have the fed.
The fed is our federal bank.
We have private Banks.
A capital system that is the envy of the world.
Even post the 2008 financial crisis, our big Banks are the envy of the world.
They were intellectual leaders, they are capital leaders.
For better or worse, maybe for worst, the best and brightest minds in this country often want to work either at the Banks or private industry or hedge funds.
It has really created a capital market system that is the edge have I of the world.
And if the Banks are owned by government or run by the government and there's no reward for taking risks properly or incentives for creative financing or to be innovative then I think our Banks are wither on the vine and we will lose what is essentially a national champion and the envy of the world.
We could do that and we maybe have inched closer towards doing that in the last couple of weeks and I'm not sure that's a good thing but if we're going to do that, we need to have a discussion about it.
Right now we haven't had that discussion, it was just decreed and I think we want our Banks to still be the envy of the world.
>> For 17 years, you were a banker yourself.
I think you were at will discard and J.P. Morgan, Merrill lynch.
>> How have things changed?
>> When I was at lazard Walter, who was founded in New Orleans, you'd probably be glad to know.
It was a private partnership and the kinds of risks that we saw at silicon valley bank, they weren't taking.
We were slowly in the business of providing M.M.A.
advice to important clients, as we like to say.
And so the kinds of risks that bankers take today were not the kinds of risks that we were taking back at lazard in the old days and I think m and a bankers, generally, people who give advice to C.E.O.
's about buying and selling companies, they don't take those risks but traders take those kinds of risks and a lot of Banks, of course, that's a big part of their business.
But the question is, you know, obviously 15 years ago we had a major financial crisis because -- even much worse than this, knife.
Because the Banks then, at the center of that crisis, bear Stearns, leemon brothers, Merrill lynch, were literally in the left ventricle of capitalism, responsible for providing the capital that we basically take for granted and use all around the world every day.
Again, silicon valley bank was catering to a very special clientele and not at the center of our financial system.
But I think banking has always been a very dangerous place, Walter.
And I'm afraid that the well-compensated management teams at these Banks forget just how dangerous banking can be.
The business of borrowing short and lending long is a formula for financial disaster every hill?
We forget that but we just saw it again.
We could not have had a better example of that danger than we had in the last few weeks between sill Connell vail bank, signature bank and credit suisse.
>> Calvin, the great humorist said that when he went to Yale, the -- were the ones who went into banking and it made it a much better system.
Have we allocated too many I.Q.
's to Wall Street and they're all trying to outdo each other?
>> I've always said that the moment the M.B.A.'s started going to Wall Street, that's the moment it became even more risky than it is.
Creating products that people don't understand.
Whether they're credit defaults.
Mortgage backed securities.
All of that has made what is already a very complicated and dangerous environment even more so.
I'd been a journalist for many years before I went and got my M.B.A. and the next thing after I got my M.B.A.
I was doing leverage buyouts and financing them.
How I went from a guy at public schools in wake county, North Carolina, to leveraging buyouts is the alchemy of what was going on in 1 80's Wall Street when they needed bodies and something like an M.B.A. gave you a credential that you didn't, really, frankly deserve.
You didn't know what you were doing but ahead to do it anyway.
I learned and hopefully did a good job but if you don't understand the risks you're at risk of having the whole thing blow up on your watch.
>> Ever since S.V.B.
started melting down, a lot of normal consumers have started moving to the bigger Banks.
People putting Department of sits in bank of America, Citibank and chase.
Do you think we're entering an era again of some really big Banks that are too big to fail dominating?
>> I think we've been in an era of systematically important financial institutions post 2008 financial crisis.
We've been in that era now for 15 years and it's OK.
This crisis did not start with those Banks and there's a reason for that.
And I think Todd-frank is the reason.
And the tighter regulation of these Banks.
Now they come up up the -- under the purview of the fed.
The truth is, these big Banks -- J.P. Morgan chase does not want these deposits.
You know how we know that?
Because you look at what they're paying people who deposit there, including me.
They pay me one basis point or two basis points.
People who want your deposits pay awe lot more than that I don't think we're inny danger of those Banks becoming even more systematically important.
We have a lot of Banks in this country.
I don't know the number.
We could do with some more bank consolidation, frankly.
The fed has not allowed any of the Banks to do any consolidation since the financial crisis and that's for a reason.
They've don't want from to be too much concentration among these Banks.
That's why you don't see J.P. Morgan chase buying silicon valley.
Maybe they would but they'd have to get a special waiver from the fed.
The fed hasn't given any waivers since 2008 and I think that's OK.
I think our central banking system is probably as safe now as it's ever been.
I'm not just saying that because I don't want people to panic.
I think that is the real truth.
There are isolated case was special eco systems and rather poor choices made by management teams that've made them vulnerable to a run on the bank that caused these bank failures.
Knock wood, Walt every but I think our banking system is in pretty good shape despite the events of recent weeks.
Walter: William, thank you so much for joining us.
>> Thank you, Walter.
>> And finally, Lionel messi mania showing no signs of diminishing Florida Argentina.
A full three months after he was on the cord -- world cup side in Qatar.
Have a listen.
[cheers] >> If you thought he could slip out for a quick dinner with the rest of his team this week, you had another thing coming.
He was mobbed by hundreds of fans clamoring to get close to their Argentine aid -- idol.
He had just scored his 800th career goal for club and country in what was Argentina's first match since being crowned world cup champions.
The final score in Thursday's friendly with Panama was 2-0.
Messi assisted on the first goal and then found the back of the net off a free kick all his own in the 89th MLB.
That will be our program.
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