CEO members of the Financial Services Forum are the latest business leaders to warn against the consequences of the "fiscal cliff."
In a letter to the President and Congress today, the CEOs -- many who also belong to Business Roundtable -- urged bipartisan cooperation to avoid the huge tax increases and automatic spending cuts that constitute the fiscal cliff. Excerpt:
At a time when economic growth is less than 2 percent, and with nearly 25 million Americans either out of work or underemployed, the still-fragile U.S. economy cannot sustain -- and the American people do not deserve -- the impact of more gridlock in Washington. We urge you to negotiate a bipartisan agreement as quickly as possible to prevent us from going over the fiscal cliff so that we can avoid the damage to the economy and the marikets that inaction will cause.
But merely avoiding the fiscal cliff is not enough. We further urge you and your colleagues to enact legislation that truly restores teh nation's long-term fiscal soundness.
Elsewhere on the issue, CSX's CEO, Michael Ward, spoke to Marketwatch:
CSX Corp.Chief Executive Michael Ward said Wednesday that the looming "fiscal cliff" of steep government spending cuts and tax increases could derail what he otherwise anticipates will be a continued slow-growth U.S. economy next year.
"Hopefully, once the election is over, cooler heads will prevail" and lawmakers will work to resolve the issue, Mr. Ward said in an interview.
But he said uncertainty regarding the issue among businesses and consumers has been a big contributor to a slowdown in the economy, and in his railroad's freight volumes, over the past few months.
Union Pacific's CEO, Jack Koraleski, made similar points even as the company reported record earnings today.
"As we look out over the next several months, the political and financial challenges in the U.S. and abroad have increased economic uncertainty. In this environment, we'll continue to be agile as we were in the third quarter. We'll adapt to changing market conditions and leverage our diverse franchise to provide excellent customer service and generate strong returns for our shareholders," Koraleski added.
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