America Must Compete; We Can’t Tax Our Way Out of Recession

By October 22, 2010Taxation, Trade

Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman was in the news Thursday thanks to an excellent third quarter financial report, which announced a quarterly profit of $792 million, 96 percent higher than the same three-month period in 2009.

Neil Cavuto interviewed Oberhelman on Fox News (video here), asking important questions about China, competitiveness, and the political climate. Oberhelman observed that Caterpillar was a net exporter to China.

We’ve hired year to date, 15,000 people worldwide. About 45 percent, almost half of those are here in America, good manufacturing jobs, good office jobs. It’s great to do it. I’m happy to do it. I love those kind of announcements.

For some reason in this country, the debate has changed from hiring in America to, if …any American company hires one person outside the United States, it’s a bad thing.

In fact, when we hire people in Belgium, or in China, Australia, wherever it is, likely there’s somebody back here in America supporting that job in some form or fashion. Those are markets we have to penetrate. Our competition will get them if we don’t. Then what we do we do with our workers, when we say, we don’t have an export, thus we don’t have a job, then what do we do? We have to learn to deal with this.

And on tax policy, Oberhelman said:

What I worry about is gridlock going into January 1 and tax rates going up for all of us. The last thing we need is a huge tax increase on this economy in this country. I have never seen a recession – and we’ve studied them all the way back – where you tax yourself out of recession. And if that happens, our risk of going big-time slow down next year is much greater…

Oberhelman was elected vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers at the NAM’s board meeting earlier this month. He takes office for a two-year term in January.

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