The top CEOs in the United States indicated that President Barack Obama and the Congress need to work together on important issues to create jobs and unlock the full potential of the American economy.
During a gathering at Washington D.C., the CEOs told CNBC that some of the important issues the government needs to address is reforming the corporate tax, immigration and improving the education system in the country. The CEOs is also hoping for less burdensome regulations.
CEOs said U.S. tax code is not competitive
Randal Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) said there is a general agreement among the corporate leaders the U.S. tax code is not competitive.
Stephenson emphasized that the U.S. government needs to change its tax code “if we want to move the economic growth further.” According to him, CEOs want to see President Barack Obama assign a point-person to push the Congress to work on corporate tax reform.
On the other hand, Doug McMillion, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) shared Stephenson’s view. According to him, “We are working against people from other countries that have an advantage.”
Meanwhile, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) also emphasized the need for corporate tax reform, which he believes should be revenue neutral. Fink said, “Some companies have to accept they do not get tax deductions they previously get.”
CEOs on immigration reform, improving education
Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) emphasized that there are approximately 4 million “simply open” jobs because they cannot find people who have the right skills to fill those positions. He pointed out that the government needs to improve the education from kindergarten to college to close the labor skills gap.
Douglas Oberhelman, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) said immigration reform is another way of finding skilled employees who will fill those open jobs.
“We educate [immigrants], give them internships, co-ops, we send them back home,” he said. “Five years later, we see these same folks across the table from us with our competitors. I’d like to keep them here,” said Oberhelman.
Oberhelman believed that the U.S. economy will become “healthier” next year, but he stressed that the country is till running on a 3% sub growth. He said the United States has a “high correlation of 3% growth and job creation. When we see 3% GDP growth, we are adding jobs.”