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General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt discussed the fiscal cliff, his trust in House Speaker John Boehner and his disappointment after slashing the GE dividend in an interview with co-host Charlie Rose that was broadcast today Dec. 10, 2012, on CBS THIS MORNING on the CBS Television Network (7:00 AM – 9:00 AM). Watch the interview in its entirety below!
Below are excerpts from the interview:
ROSE: So the President is right in asking for more revenue and therefore not extending the Bush tax cuts to those more than $250,000?
IMMELT: Look, at Bowles-Simpson, there's not been one commission that says we can do this just on spending cuts. There's going to have to be revenue. I think Speaker Boehner is the only guy that can lead us in that. He is the only guy that can lead us–
ROSE: He's got to take the Republicans in the House of Representatives and make the deal.
IMMELT: He's got to take the heat-he's got to take the heat, and I trust that he can do it.
ROSE: And for those who say we can go over the fiscal cliff and it might not be such a bad thing, you say?
IMMELT: I say they're people that don't have anybody that works for them. You know, in other words, we haven't been on this for two weeks or two days or two months, we've been working on this for two and a half years. What happened in July of 2011 was ugly. You know, I read – I read stories now that say, you know, 'The President lost,' or 'He shouldn't have done this,' or 'Speaker Boehner done that,' they both failed. You know, nobody won. On that moment in time, it made us-it hurt us inside the country, it hurt us outside the country. So I would say that if this goes into next year, we ought to consider that failure, we ought to-we ought to get these guys to do a deal that they know they can do and we got to get it to-get them to do it now. And this is not just Jeff Immelt of GE speaking, this is really, I would say, the business community almost universally speaks with one voice that this needs to get done and needs to get done now, and moving into next year is just failure.
ROSE: I don't know of any CEO who knows more about the world, because of how much you travel and how many countries you have business in. What's the impression of the United States in those countries? Because you meet with the leaders of these countries as well as their establishment. What are they saying about us? Now, clearly they're saying, 'Get your financial health in order.'
IMMELT: I think people look at that and say, 'This is a country that's so admired. Why can't we do-you know, why can't people just compromise and get along and things like that?' And I would go beyond that to say we are-the dollar is the reserve currency. Every American benefits from that, every American, 300 million plus, all benefit from the fact that we're the reserve currency. Now, you know, you default on your debt or you lose your ratings a few times, that's not going to be the case. And you lose that in a minute; that isn't something that erodes over a decade, you-and so we can't take that for granted. That is an important aspect