Clouds, Davos and deals
America's debt and other fiscal problems remain "one dark cloud that sits over the U.S. economy," Dow Chemical's CEO -- and Business Roundtable vice chairman -- Andrew Liveris said today in a CNBC interview from the World Economic Forum in Davos. A good exchange followed with CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin:
CNBC: Is it a real cloud, though? Some of the comments you hear from CEOs now said we're just going to have to get used to all of these cliffs, and we're going to have to just keep going and maybe just forget about what's going on in Washington....
Liveris: That's the reality case which I live in. I live in that world, reality, and the reality is we're moving on anyway.
But, of course, uncertainty in the consumer is what drives us all. And the consumer needs to see some degree of political certainty, and let's hope that this is not a kick the can down the road, but a real deal will emerge. We have to solve this and tax reform, the two big policy items above and beyond energy.
CNBC: You think that's going to happen?
Liveris: Let me put it this way: I'm bullish but there's a better case of that happening in the second term than in the first term.
Liveris also referred to energy development, including the growth that has accompanied hydrofracking as a "game changer" for the economy, and reported surprisingly positive views from Europeans about the health of Europe's economy.
Also in Davos, CNBC interviewed Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, another BRT-member CEO. From "Jamie Dimon: Economy Could Boom With Grand Bargain":
Washington can reach a grand bargain to fix its fiscal problems, the U.S. economy could boom, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told CNBC on Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland.
"We need more facts and analysis and collaboration," Dimon said in an interview from the World Economic Forum. "It is not going to fix our system to scapegoat and finger point."
He said that rancor is not helping the economy to grow and that good policies will ultimately create jobs.
"If we had done the grand bargain that showed that Americans can make decisions," Dimon said, "I think we could have a booming environment. If we have a grand bargain America could take off."
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Business Roundtable is focusing its efforts on greater job expansion and economic growth – national priorities that are inextricably linked. Informing our plan is our collective business experience as CEOs of America’s leading companies, experience that tells us what it takes to build momentum for the United States in in 2016 and beyond.