BOSTON Feb 6 The United States might be better
off allowing the across-the-board spending cuts of the so-called
sequester to take effect as a first step in cutting its debt,
even if the move slows the economy, Honeywell International Inc
Chief Executive Dave Cote said on Wednesday.
"We need the reduction," said Cote, whose company sells
systems to the U.S. Department of Defense and would feel a
direct hit from the $85 billion in cuts that could take effect
on March 1. "You could argue that the reduction would make more
sense if we did it thoughtfully and spent a lot of time on it.
I'm not sure that's a real option, though. The options seem to
be let it happen or take it away."
After several months of lobbying the Democratic White House
and Republican lawmakers to reach a deal to reduce the national
debt through the Fix the Debt group that he was a lead voice of,
Cote said even painful steps may be better than inaction.
"While there could be some economic impact, to me it looks
like $100 billion on a $3.5 trillion government spend," Cote
told reporters after addressing the Boston College Chief
Executives' Club. "So yeah, there's some impact but at some
point we have to start working to get our debt under control and
if this is the only rational step they could seem to take to do
it then they ought to do it."
"Fix the Debt" is an ad-hoc lobbying group of CEOs who
banded together late last year to urge the White House and
lawmakers to reach a deal to cut the nation's debt without
allowing the U.S. economy to go over a "fiscal cliff" of
spending cuts and tax hikes that could have sent the economy
back into recession.
As it was, worries about the standoff hit confidence and
corporate spending in the final weeks of 2012, contributing to
an unexpected 0.1 percent decline in U.S. gross domestic product
in the fourth quarter.
A new standoff is brewing between President Barack Obama, a
Democrat, and the Republican majority in the House of
Representatives over another, $85 billion round of
across-the-board spending cuts that could take effect on March