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Liveris On The Debt Ceiling

Dow CEO Andrew N. Liveris put out a press release on July 14 regarding the debt ceiling negotiations in Washington. Here it is in its entirety:

MIDLAND, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s chairman and CEO, stated today, with reference to the bi-partisan impasse on raising the debt ceiling:

“Business doesn’t have a seat at the table in these talks, but we sure have a stake in the outcome. All Americans do – we are all in this together. There’s huge opportunity for our nation if both parties reach a meaningful agreement, and huge consequences if they do not. We need a resolution as soon as possible and urge all involved in the negotiations to continue to work towards a solution that eliminates uncertainty and puts stability into our economy.”

Whenever anyone uses the phrase “We are all in this together”, you can rest assured that the speaker isn’t saying much and is relying on someone else to get down to the business of hammering out the particulars. This is surprising from someone who wrote an entire book about about corporate taxes, bureaucracy, many other topics directly related to what is being negotiated in Washington.

Liveris isn’t alone, GE’s came out with a dramatic pronouncements before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week where he didn’t say very much at all either. Via a WSJ Blog:

“I just think we need certainty about the debt ceiling and we need it now. That really can only happen here. Let’s do it now.”

Do what, Jeff?

But a little perspective might make for a more fair assessment of these two executives. Both are involved with the Obama Administration. Liveris last month was named co-chairman of President Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. Immelt is the chairman of The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. It might be significant that Immelt and Liveris aren’t backing particular Obama proposals.

And probably more than anything else, these executives could be worried that the far-left and far-right activists in Congress will scuttle an agreement should it be made. If that sounds crazy, remember in September 2008 when the House of Representatives rejected TARP and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 700 points?

So what Liveris and Immelt said is probably better than saying nothing at all.

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