The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 10/25/12, 8:00 PM ET

CEOs try to rewrite congress

A group of America's business leaders have a message for Capitol Hill. Get your fiscal house in order. In tonight's Rewrite, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell looks at the effort from big business to affect this nation's policy of deficit reduction.

CEOs to Congress: OMG, fix the deficit!


Today’s Wall Street Journal ran a front page story focusing on a group of American CEOs and business leaders who are calling on our politicians to fix the nation’s deficit problem. They implore lawmakers to look to a model like the Simpson-Bowles plan, which would include both spending cuts and…  (gasp!) revenue from higher taxes! From the Journal:

The CEOs who signed the manifesto deem tax increases inevitable no matter which party succeeds at the polls in November. “There is no possible way; you can do the arithmetic a million different ways” to avoid raising taxes, said Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna. “You can’t tax your way to fix this problem, and you can’t cut entitlements enough to fix this problem.”

The CEOs all put their names to a letter as part of an effort by the Fix the Debt campaign. It’s not surprising that the campaign’s recommendations take a deficit reduction path similar to the Simpson-Bowles commission’s recommendations, because the co-founders of the Fix the Debt campaign are none other than former Senator Alan Simpson and former Small Business Administration director for President Clinton, Erskine Bowles.

In tonight’s Rewrite, msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell took a look at this effort by CEOs of some of America’s biggest corporations.

“The CEOs believe that the Simpson-Bowles framework of three dollars in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax increases is quote, ‘an effective framework’ for a deficit reduction plan,” said he said. “When AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was asked about the seemingly unbridgeable gap between his position on deficit reduction and Mitt Romney’s anti-tax position on deficit reduction, Mr. Stephenson simply told the Wall Street Journal, ‘This is bigger than any one political candidate.’”

As for the Obama campaign, spokesman Ben LaBolt told the Journal, “There’s a strong and growing consensus that the only way to reduce the deficit while also growing the economy is through a balanced approach that includes both tough spending cuts and increased revenue.”

For more, check out the full segment above.

CEOs to Congress: OMG, fix the deficit!