The titans of Wall Street have a message for their counterparts in Washington: Knock it off.
Fifteen bank chiefs, including JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs Group, fired off a letter to President Barack Obama and members of Congress, urging them to put an end to the partisan gridlock that has gripped Washington and find a solution to eliminate the threat of the looming “fiscal cliff.”
The letter, spearheaded by the Financial Services Forum, a Washington-based trade group that represents Wall Street firms, urged the White House and lawmakers to find a bipartisan resolution to the combination of tax increases and spending cuts that are slated to hit the U.S. at the start of 2013.
“At a time when economic growth is less than 2 percent, and with nearly 25 million Americans either out of work or underemployed, the still fragile economy cannot sustain — and the American people do not deserve — the impact of more gridlock in Washington,” Rob Nichols, the president and chief executive officer of the trade group, wrote along with his member CEOs.
The letter comes less than a month before the presidential and congressional elections, which, for all intents and purposes, have shut down any negotiations on how to avoid the $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases looming at year’s end with lawmakers away from Washington campaigning for re-election.
When the elected officials return to Washington in November, they will have less than six weeks to delay the cuts and tax increases, find a long-term solution or take an economic hit that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned could push the economy back into recession.
The consequences of that, the CEOs wrote, “would be very grave.”