To strengthen its economy, the United States must take action on debt, entitlements and taxation, Boeing CEO and BRT Chairman Jim McNerney told CNBC today.
McNerney was at the Farnborough International Airshow near London, which kicked off with a major announcement, "Boeing and Air Lease Corporation Announce Order for 75 737 MAXs." That's a deal worth as much as $7.2 billion. Congratulations!
In an interview on Squawkbox (video), McNerney first talked about the health of the aerospace industry and demand for planes. The discussion then turned to the economy in general, as guest interlocutor Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin asked McNerney what economic changes would help his company. McNerney identified the European debt crisis as a trouble point, but did not see slowing growth in China as a long-term problem. He continued:
I think the United States is recovering better in my judgment than is often portrayed by people observing the U.S. but I also think that the U.S. can create ... an environment that is more conducive to business and capital formation. I think dealing with a lot of the issues that you have brought forward in Wisconsin needs to be done at the national stage and that's resolution of the debt issues, the entitlement issues and the other issues, the tax issues that are plaguing our economy. These are all things that need to be addressed and if done properly can make a difference for a company like Boeing.
As for the threat of the "fiscal cliff" and sequestration, McNerney said, "I know that defense spending will slow down dramatically." He added:
Neither side of the political equation, I think, want this to happen. But they're both paralyzed. Both sides of the political equation in Washington paralyzed as they stare each other down. Hopefully common sense will prevail as we get to the end of the year. No matter who wins the election...I'm an optimist and I'm convinced no matter who wins the election, this thing will get solved.
The paralysis of the political process continues to be a point of great concern for CEOs, and it certainly contributes to Congress' low standing in the polls. On the weekend news-talk shows, a general consensus emerged among the commentators: No action until the lame-duck session.
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