Blankfein: Tax Me, If It Will Help

Photograph by Norm Betts/Bloomberg

Lloyd C. Blankfein says he would be willing to pay higher taxes if he felt the increase was part of a solution aimed at helping reduce the national debt.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein says he would be willing to pay higher taxes if he felt the increase was part of an overall solution aimed at helping reduce the national debt.

“No one is so unpatriotic that they wouldn’t pay a little bit more to resolve it,” Blankfein said in an interview today on CNBC. He added that no one would be willing to pay higher taxes unless they were sure it was part of a comprehensive solution to country’s budget.

In today’s discussion, Blankfein joined Erskine Bowles, a Democrat and former White House chief of staff, and Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, who led a deficit-reduction committee that failed to win congressional support in 2010. All three emphasized the importance of reaching a compromise agreement in Congress to cut spending, raise revenue and encourage economic growth.

If there were “some compromise laid out, what kind of a stimulus do you think that would provide?” Blankfein asked. “I’d be a buyer of the market.”

Blankfein and JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon, both of whom have been grilled by members of Congress in recent years about their own businesses, have turned the tables recently — publicly urging politicians to reach an agreement to reduce the U.S. debt. Dimon said yesterday the economy “would be booming” if Congress had passed the so-called Simpson-Bowles plan last year — a solution offered by the commission co-chairmen that included a mix of one dollar in new tax revenue for every three dollars of spending cuts. They couldn’t obtain the super-majority vote of the commission required to present it to Congress.

“We have a stake in this country like everybody else and I think we have the experience and the competence to let people know the consequences” of failing to address deficit spending and the national debt, Blankfein said. Blankfein, who endorsed  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president in 2008 and hasn’t revealed whom he supports this year, said he’s “on the left-center side of things” politically.

Employees of Goldman Sachs have been contributing in greater dollars to Republican Mitt Romney this year than to Obama .

 

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