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Cardinal CEO: Time to act on 'fiscal cliff'
December 10th, 2012
DUBLIN, Ohio – Cardinal Health Inc. chairman and chief executive officer George Barrett is the latest pharmacy industry executive to urge policymakers to come to an accord on the so-called "fiscal cliff."
In a statement released Monday, Barrett warned leaders in Washington that "this is a critical time for our nation" and called on them to push aside their differences and reach an agreement.
"While last week's jobs data showed some encouraging signs, it is clear that consumer confidence remains fragile and the looming 'fiscal cliff' poses a serious threat to our economic recovery," Barrett stated. "We strongly believe that our leaders in Washington must come together to resolve this issue. We recognize that passions are strong and that perspectives vary, but it seems clear that getting our nation back on solid fiscal footing will require compromise on all sides."
Without a deficit reduction accord by the end of this month, January will signal the start of $7 trillion of tax hikes and spending cuts over a decade, threatening a return to recession and surging unemployment. Going "over the cliff" would involve cutbacks in defense and nondefense spending, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the end of a payroll tax holiday and extended unemployment benefits, as well as the onset of Medicare reimbursement cuts.
"We believe that any agreement should include increased revenues and serious steps to slow our spending on entitlements — necessary to ensure that our national safety net programs are sustainable for future generations," Barrett noted. "Now is the time to act. We urge our leaders to rise above political differences and act with speed."
Late last month, the chief executives of CVS Caremark Corp. and Walgreen Co. also urged Congress and President Obama to work together to reach a resolution on the looming fiscal cliff.
CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo and Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson said in statements that policymakers must come to an accord by the year's end or risk derailing the economic recovery and triggering possibly more dire consequences for already hard-pressed consumers and the nation as a whole.