Wall Street to Washington: It’s Time to Lead, or Leave!

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Cote’s take on the whole situation might be fairly summed up by something he said to the 2010 Simpson-Bowles deficit-cutting commission. According to the Wall Street JournalCote recalls a day where, after digesting the scope of the country’s fiscal and political problems, he told the group, of which he was a member: “Who are you people? Is this the way you do the nation’s business? I’d fire all of you.”

His sentiments are likely in line with what a lot of people would say to policymakers in Washington right now.

Cote has helped lead a coalition of America’s top CEOs in the search for a solution through the “Fix the Debt” campaign, which was set up last summer. Cote is not alone in believing that the best thing for his shareholders is a healthy economy. Some other CEOs who are on the campaign’s leadership council include:

  • Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL)
  • Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)
  • Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)
  • Glenn Britt, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC)

The combined argument of some 450 CEOs who signed a letter to congress in the Summer of 2011 is clear and has not changed: If a solution is found, businesses will pour their energy and capital back into the market — if not, then expect more of the same.

“Everything they need to know, they know,” said Cote, according to the WSJ, referring to the policymakers in Washington. “I can keep talking about a market-credible fiscal plan… but it’s time to say, ‘You are the leaders–lead.’”

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