What is the biggest threat to our country?
Is it Al-Qaida, China, Iran, moral decay?
It’s none of those according to a large sampling of CEOs from some of the major U.S. companies.
Rather, it is the massive federal debt which has increased $1 trillion or more for four consecutive years.
In a joint statement issued two weeks ago, the business leaders argued the uncertainty caused by the deficit is dampening businesses’ hiring and investment and stifling the fragile economic recovery.
What is the solution? The CEOs said the solution requires a combination of higher taxes and reduced government spending, including on entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
They also argued forcefully that the federal government cannot forego investment in infrastructure and math and science education as it curbs spending. The CEOs endorsed the proposals of a special bipartisan commission that called for about $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases which would save approximately $4 trillion.
So just who are these CEOs who are calling for higher taxes? They head a diverse array of corporations, including Aetna, Inc., Microsoft Corp., JP Morgan Chase & Co., AT&T Inc. and AllState to name just a few. They are Republicans and Democrats.
In political speak, these are the revered “job creators” that politicians have cited over and over in campaign speeches and advertisements as the people our government should be supporting. And they are asking our government for higher taxes and less spending to head off what they view as the most potent threat confronting our nation.
We thought we would mention this the day after the election when many of you will be reading this because whoever is elected should heed the CEOs’ warning.
Our government is currently borrowing 31 cents for every dollar it spends and that is unsustainable. Smart business people appreciate this sober fact. They also understand it is going to take more than just cutting spending to eradicate the debt.
Tax increases and cuts to entitlement programs are not popular campaign themes. But the election is over. Time to get down to business — no pun intended. Reducing the debt should be the top priority of government and whoever wins the election.
Why? Because the job creators said so.