COMPANY VIEW-U.S. business on government policy and the economy

NEW YORK, Oct 22 (BestGrowthStock) – With the U.S. Nov. 2 mid-term
elections approaching, business leaders are speaking out about
what government needs to do to jump-start the U.S. economy and
keep it humming. Here is a selection of comments by top
executives compiled from interviews and public statements:


“The recovery is weaker than we’ve seen historically,
particularly given the depth of the 2009 recession,” Oberhelman
said in a statement released with third-quarter results.

“To drive economic growth, we encourage government policy
makers to advance pro-business initiatives and a growth
agenda,” he said. “In addition, they should avoid policy
decisions that may create trade tensions between the United
States and other key trading partners and avoid tax policy that
puts U.S. multinationals, like Caterpillar, at a competitive


“No. 1 — reduce, rather than increase, government
spending,” Anderson said in an interview. Current forecast
growth rates in the federal budget, he said, are “frightening,
when you look at it. That’s got to be addressed.”

“Ultimately, taxes will have to go up on both individuals
and corporations, but I think now is not the time to do that. I
think the saber-rattling along those lines is counterproductive
to the current recovery. If the administration gave some
clarity that for ‘x’ period taxes would not be increased, that
would be received well by the investment community.”


“We, like a lot of companies that are part of the
commercial construction cycle in the U.S., look for a latter
2011 recovery, probably skewed toward the fourth quarter.

“What would (accelerate) that is some movement here around
jobs and less volatility or concern about policy. The tax rate,
not only can it not go up, it needs to go down. We need to
renew R&D tax credits, and even at that point we have the 17th
or 18th highest plan relative to R&D investments.

“Fundamentally, it’s lowering corporate and individual
taxes and just getting people back to work and investing back
into the economy. That’s fundamentally the first step.

“You’ve got to match cutting taxes with a reduction in
spending. I don’t think additional stimulus is going to make a
difference. I don’t think it really has made a difference, at
least in our business, over the last two years.”


The council, which represents CEOs of the top 150 U.S.
companies, said a survey of its members showed that deficit
reduction should be the government’s top priority.

“About 70 percent support deficit reduction as the first
priority of fiscal policy while an equal number disagreed with
the notion of a second round of fiscal stimulus to jump-start economic growth,” the council said.

“Even when asked if they would support more stimulus if it
were structured as all tax cuts, a bare majority said yes.
Correspondingly, the survey respondents were cool to the notion
of more Federal Reserve asset purchases with more than 50
percent disagreeing outright with the proposal and another 40
percent neutral on the idea.”


“The president said he wants to build runways, roads and
railways and that’s great,” Defoe said in an interview.

“We’re delighted he’s talking about it. It’s the right
topic. We need a methodology to pay for it, and I hope that the
new Congress will see that economic prosperity is directly tied
to the health of our infrastructure and come to grips with the
need to pass the new highway bill.

“I think there will be a sentiment against tax increases
and so any substantial increase in funding is going to be hard.
So I think we’ve got to see some progress on spending
reductions in other areas first. But I think generally every
politician knows that we can’t avoid dealing with this topic.”

Asked if he agreed with comments by Caterpillar’s
Oberhelman (above), Defoe said: “I couldn’t agree more.”


“Business can pretty well operate in any environment — as
long as it’s a certain environment. The problem is that with
the uncertainty that’s gone on for the last few years, a lot of
businesses will sit on their hands or go elsewhere.

“From a taxation perspective, we have half our operations
in Canada, half in the United States. The differential in
corporate tax rates is 10 percentage points. Not 10 percent —
10 percentage points. By 2012, the corporate tax rate (in
Canada) is going to be 25 percent. Here it is 35 percent plus,
call it 5 percent, at the state level.

“That’s huge. That actually makes decisions about where we
put capital and therefore where jobs are created. A couple of
points difference in tax might not matter. But when it’s 10
percentage points plus? You can’t ignore that as a CEO.”


“I’m a true believer that government should create an
environment where people can flourish again instead of
asphyxiating,” Bulcke said in an interview with Reuters,
emphasizing that he was referring to all governments.

Fiscal stimulus and cutting budget deficits are both
important, he said. “The whole problem we have today, and had
before, is a debt problem. It’s not a housing problem, it was a
debt problem — living beyond our means.”

“I feel the government should do what quite a lot of
companies are doing … time-framing of their actions, and
really be responsible … for the future instead of going
short-term. I do believe politicians, many politicians, are too
(Compiled by the New York Company News Desk; Reporting by
James Kelleher, Scott Malone, Martinne Geller and Nick

COMPANY VIEW-U.S. business on government policy and the economy