UPS Chairman and CEO Scott Davis called on leaders in Washington, D.C.,
to prepare a bipartisan debt reduction plan by January, saying the
nation's economy is being held back by its debt load and the uncertainty
of fiscal policy.
"It's not too late to act," asserted Davis, adding a debt reduction plan
should be drafted now for immediate consideration when the newly elected
Congress returns in January.
"I believe it's realistic to have it approved early next year," said
Davis. "If our leaders work together and can compromise, we can deal
with these problems and get our nation on a sustainable fiscal path."
In a speech prepared for delivery later today to a gathering of
Washington state business leaders, the UPS CEO described the United
States as having reached a crossroads.
"At this moment, our country's Board of Directors -- the President and
Congress - are facing not one, but two self-inflicted crises: the
impending fiscal cliff and the crushing trade imbalance.
"Because Congress couldn't agree on common sense fiscal reforms last
year, we now face a double whammy of potential shocks to our economy,"
he added, citing automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are
slated to kick in at the beginning of 2013.
Uncertainty about the looming "fiscal cliff" is causing many businesses
to delay spending decisions, he said.
"When companies don't spend and hire, the business engine driving our
country sputters along. And the economy stagnates."
Davis said the gridlock in Washington fosters doubt about the near term
future in the minds of business leaders. "We need a predictable
environment in which we can plan, invest, hire, grow, trade and prosper."
A former chairman of the Atlanta Federal Reserve's Board of Governors
and a member of the CEO Fiscal Leadership Council, Davis also is
supporting a new campaign called "Fix the Debt." The effort is being led
by former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson and President Clinton's Chief of
Staff Erskine Bowles.
Davis supported the work of a bipartisan debt commission led by those
two men that called for lower tax rates, fewer deductions and common
sense entitlement reform. While no plan will ever be perfect and agreed
upon by all, bipartisan compromise must be achieved to reach a deficit
reduction of at least $4 trillion, he added.
Davis also called on U.S. leaders to demonstrate stronger leadership on
global trade. He applauded recent deals with South Korea, Colombia and
Panama but added: "These recent trade deals should be the first of many,
not the last in memory."
The 19 trade agreements currently in effect are inadequate, he asserted.
"Trade has always been the world's most powerful engine of growth, job
creation and prosperity."
During his remarks, Davis told the story of Jim Casey's founding of UPS
in the Seattle area in 1907 as a small bicycle messenger service,
describing in some detail the company's evolution into a global
logistics leader that delivers an average of 15.8 million packages a day
in more than 220 countries and territories.
He contrasted the company's transformation over the past 105 years to
the federal government's rigid and ideological approach to dealing with
"I want our elected officials in Washington, D.C., to start running this
country the way we run our companies: with real leadership, courage,
discipline and foresight. Simply put, we need our representatives to
reach out more and to dig in their heels less. Our country needs
pragmatic leaders who work together to solve problems."
Kara Ross, 202-675-1725