President Barack Obama called a number of chief executive officers (CEOs) to the White House last week to discuss the looming fiscal cliff and economic growth. Some of the corporate executives who spoke with the President include Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) CEO Warren Buffet, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon, Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) CEO Craig Jelinek, The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) CEO Jim McNerey, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook. The President also met with General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) CEO Jeffrey Immelt and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) CEO Kenneth Chenault.
Some people in the technology industry observed that Cook seems to be one the first choices of leaders in Washington to discuss the current financial plight of the country. House Speaker John Boehner also met with Cook last May.
In an interview with CNN, a White House official said the conversations with the business leaders in the country were part of the Presidents “outreach on the need to find a balanced deficit-reduction solution that protects the middle class and continues to move our economy forward.”
President Obama’s top economic priority after his reelection is to prevent the automatic spending cuts, and tax increases, known as sequestration, as mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which will begin on January 1, 2013.
Immediately after the presidential election, Fitch Ratings released a report warning that the United States could lose its AAA credit rating if President Obama and the members of the Congress will not act immediately to put in place a balanced budget to address the sequestration, and to raise its $16.4 trillion debt ceiling as soon as possible. Fitch Ratings estimated approximately $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases, which could result in an increase in unemployment by more than 10 percent next year.
Fitch Ratings emphasized, “Avoiding the fiscal cliff and a timely increase in the debt ceiling would support the economic recovery and send a positive signal that agreement can be reached on a credible plan to reduce the federal budget deficit and stabilize federal debt over the medium term, consistent with the US retaining its ‘AAA’ status.”
President Obama needs the support of both the political and business leaders in the country to address an effective economic policy to move the country forward.