Tech execs tell White House IT can curb deficit
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top U.S. technology bosses met with White House officials on Wednesday to recommend how to use technology to cut deficits by $1 trillion over 10 years and offer advice on boosting the country's sluggish economy.
The Technology CEO Council said six chief executives led by IBM Corp's Samuel Palmisano would suggest ways to boost government worker productivity and save taxpayer money.
"America's growing national debt is undermining our global competitiveness," the council said. "How we choose to confront and address this challenge will determine our future environment for growth and innovation."
President Barack Obama is anxious to counter claims he is anti-business and has frequently invited corporate chiefs to the White House to pick their brains.
He also has voiced openness to lowering corporate tax levels and cutting red tape after criticism that his reforms raise the cost of doing business in the United States.
Voters, worried by U.S. unemployment stuck near 10 percent, are likely to punish Obama's Democrats in November midterm congressional elections, while Republicans have turned a record budget deficit into a potent criticism of Obama's presidency.
The technology executives will meet with top Obama advisers, including National Economic Council Director Larry Summers and White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee, as well as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
The other corporate bosses were Motorola Inc's Greg Brown, Intel Corp's Paul Otellini, Micron Technology Inc's Steven Appleton, Michael Splinter of Applied Materials Inc and EMC Corp's Joseph Tucci.
"By adopting commercially proven best practices to maximize operational productivity, government can save over $1 trillion by 2020, while enhancing the services it provides," the council said.
In a paper outlining their position, the CEO Council offered seven specific proposals to cut waste, while singling out targeted savings, as well as corporate tax levels, as key areas where productivity could be encouraged.
The council proposed saving money by consolidating government information technology, streamlining supply chains, reducing energy use, sharing more support services, curbing improper payments, moving to electronic self-service, and selling government buildings and other assets on the federal balance sheet.
"Few public policies have more of an impact on business decisions than taxation levels," the paper said.
At a top marginal rate of 35 percent, corporate income taxes in the United States are among the highest in the world and big business often complains that it hampers their competitiveness.
Obama said on Monday he was interested in finding a revenue-neutral way in which to bring this level down and cited closing tax loopholes as one route he favored.
(Additional reporting by Ross Colvin; Editing by Bill Trott)
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