More than 80 big-name CEO of U.S. Corporations are banding together to pressure Congress to reduce the federal deficit with tax-revenue increases as well as spending cuts.
The CEOs, in a statement to be released on Thursday, say any fiscal plan “that can succeed both financially and politically” has to limit the growth of health-care spending, make Social Security solvent and “include comprehensive and pro-growth tax reform, which broadens the base, lowers rates, raises revenues and reduces the deficit.”
The business executives are stepping into a debate over taxes; President Barack Obama says tax increases on upper-income Americans, CEOs included, are an essential and fair element of any deficit-reduction program. Republican candidate Mitt Romney is against raising taxes, but backs a tax overhaul that he says would spur economic growth.
The executives do not support President Obama’s proposal to raise the marginal income-tax rates for the top 2% of taxpayers or any other proposal. Instead, they called for an overhaul of the tax code that would eliminate or reduce deductions, credits and loopholes, and one that also would bring the Treasury more revenue than the existing code does.
Notably absent from the Fix the Debt list are CEOs from big U.S. energy companies, some of whom fear that tax increases will fall more heavily on them, particularly if Mr. Obama is re-elected, and from Silicon Valley.
Most of the companies whose CEOs have enlisted in Fix the Debt have political-action committees that make substantial campaign contributions, usually to candidates of both parties and mostly seen as advancing their corporate interests. Concerns about the risk that mounting debt poses to the nation, the CEOs said, prompted their companies to contribute to Fix the Debt. The campaign has raised about $35 million for staff and, possibly, paid advertising after the election.