Goldman Sachs’s Lloyd Blankfein says he’d entertain higher taxes to break the budget impasse. “No one is so unpatriotic that they wouldn’t pay a little bit more to resolve it,” the firm’s CEO said Thursday on CNBC.
So does the CEO of Caterpillar. “I, for one, believe that revenue has to increase. I think every American would pay more if they thought spending was going to be cut and the budget brought to balance,” Douglas Oberhelman told The Wall Street Journal.
Both are part of a new “Fix the Debt” coalition of business leaders who are pushing for Congress to reach a grand bargain on the deficit that avoids the fiscal cliff through spending cuts, entitlement reform, and revenue raisers. Other members include JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, General Electric’s Jeff Immelt, and Honeywell’s David Cote, the FT reports.
The effort is being spearheaded by Maya MacGuineas, head of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and it’s tapped into the business community’s mounting concerns about the lack of a budget deal as the fiscal cliff approaches. The group has raised $30 million so far, with support from businessman Pete Peterson, CEOs, and other donors.
The campaign isn’t recommending a specific plan, but it’s embraced the recommendations of Simpson-Bowles as being “an effective framework” to move a deal forward. Blankfein, for one, said Thursday that the United States would be “booming” had Simpson-Bowles been adopted, as Bloomberg points out.
It’s uncertain, though, how much the outside pressure will have much of an impact. After all, business leaders warned Congress last year to avoid a standoff over the debt ceiling, to little effect. But should Congress move any closer toward a compromise, they might be able to give Republicans some political cover, at least, from the Grover Norquist wing of the party.