In two separate advertising campaigns, American chief executives
are seeking to influence Washington as a battle gets under way on
how to address the U.S. budget deficit.
As Democratic and Republican leaders stake out their positions in the coming fiscal showdown in Washington, corporate executives are starting a political campaign of their own.
The chief executives taking part in two separate advertising campaigns that were set to begin Monday and Tuesday are walking a delicate balance. They plan to press Congress to act quickly, even as they publicly steer clear of the political firefight surrounding the details of any far-reaching deal to cut the U.S. budget deficit.
Behind the scenes, however, the effort by business leaders could play a crucial role in shaping decisions on U.S. tax policy, including whether corporate tax rates go down even as individuals pay more. By framing the issue as an attempt to balance the U.S. government's budget, the plan also offers some political cover to congressional Republicans who fear that voting for a tax increase could make them the targets of powerful fiscal conservatives.
But a question remains over just how far the business groups will go. In the past, corporations have joined the call for fiscal responsibility, only to resist giving up specific perquisites and programs that benefit their businesses or offering other suggestions for deficit reduction.
The Campaign to Fix the Debt, a new group with a $40 million budget whose backers include Jeffrey R. Immelt of General Electric and David M. Cote of Honeywell, will run more than a million dollars' worth of advertisements. The spots take their cue from campaigns by companies like Nike and Dunkin' Donuts and feature slogans like "Just Fix It" and "Time to Fix the Debt."
Mr. Immelt and Mr. Cote also feature prominently in a more traditional campaign by the Business Roundtable, which represents Fortune 500 companies and is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington.
The Business Roundtable effort, set to begin Tuesday, has a budget of close to half a million dollars and is focused on the news media in the Washington area, including outlets like Politico and conservative talk radio shows.
"America's C.E.O.'s have a message for Washington: Don't take our country over the fiscal cliff," warns a Business Roundtable commercial, referring to the package of tax increases and automatic spending cuts set to go into effect in January if Congress and President Barack Obama cannot agree on a deficit reduction plan.
Experts say that combination would amount to a half-trillion- dollar blow to the economy that could cause a recession in the first half of 2013 -- a threat the Business Roundtable has made the centerpiece of its campaign. "If Congress does not act, growth will stall, jobs will be lost and our nation's credit will be harmed," the radio ad says.
The debut of the advertisements in Washington coincides with the return to work of Congress on Tuesday to take up various issues, including deficit reduction.
John Engler, the president of the Business Roundtable and a former Republican governor from Michigan, said that whatever solution emerged, "the tax code changes have to be permanent, and the budget cuts have to be real."
"Even the president has said the corporate tax rate is too high
Most Popular Stories
- SEO Traffic Lab Celebrate Wins at Digital Marketing Event 'Internet World 2013' in London
- Social Media Initiatives Should Follow Customers' Lead
- Apple CEO: Offshore Units Not a 'Tax Gimmick'
- U.S. Senate Accuses Apple of Large-scale Tax Avoidance
- UTEP Water Recycling Project Wins Venture Titles
- Marketo Makes a Mint in IPO: Stock Shoots Up More than 50 Percent
- Bieber Booed at Billboard Awards
- Crude Oil Up, Gasoline Down
- Austin Startup Compare Metrics Raises $3.5 Million for Expansion
- Why So Many Top 'Car Guys' Are Actually Women