T.J. Rodgers, CEO of Cypress Semiconductor

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, January 7, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Silicon Valley keeping a very close eye on the president's remarks today. We've got one of the biggest technology guns on the planet to weigh in with his thoughts. Joining me now is that always shy character, T.J. Rodgers, the man who runs Cypress Semiconductor.

T.J., good to see you, happy New Year.


CAVUTO: Is this is what you want to see?

RODGERS: I certainly believe accelerating the tax cut is the right way to go. That basically puts more money into investment and that's what creates jobs. And that is what we need right now.

CAVUTO: Now, with dividend taxes being cut as well, if the president has his way, would you change anything you are doing?

RODGERS: No. It turns out that if you want to look at the most important thing to high-tech is tax cuts for individuals so they can invest in the market. High tech companies rarely pay dividends. I don't get any high tech dividends back from other companies so it is pretty much a neutral thing for us here.

CAVUTO: But wouldn't that have to change T.J. if all of a sudden investors who are looking at other companies offering dividends that may be fatter dividends, and you are not, they might not be as disposed to your stock?

RODGERS: It is a possibility that reducing the tax on dividends could force companies into being more generous with dividends, or cause companies that don't give them have to give them. I doubt that for high tech that's just not the way we work. People investing in us are looking for a capital gain.

CAVUTO: So the fact that they haven't found much of a capital gain, no offensive to your company, but to the whole industry over the last few years, they might just wander elsewhere, right?

RODGERS: Absolutely. And they have. That's one of the reasons that the share price of high tech has gone down is that basically it's been a pretty much disaster area for year-and-a-half, and they are off investing their money somewhere else, which they ought to do.

CAVUTO: T.J., the Democrats have come out against this plan, saying it is class warfare all over again, that the fat cats are benefiting, and on and on. What do you make of that?

RODGERS: Well, anybody can read the statistics, we know that 5 percent of the taxpayers in the country pay 55.5 percent of all taxes. So obviously when you make a tax cut, the top 5 percent is going to get back more money. I think the limousine liberals ought to be thanking the people who paid for the roads they are driving on and the cars they're driving in.

CAVUTO: So this argument you think doesn't hold water. I mean, there are obviously sticking to that script pretty much to a man and woman, and that this doesn't boomerang on the president as a political thorn?

RODGERS: No. I don't think so at all. Again, for high tech, cutting the taxes that have already been agreed to, we are just accelerating tax cuts that already have been agreed to, is the important thing. I think politically the reason for the dividend tax cut is those aren't rich people at all, dividends are primarily between conservative utility, light companies and retired people, as a typical example. And he's cutting taxes for retired people. And I think he's enlarging the coalition that will support the tax cuts by doing that. That is not a move about high-tech.

CAVUTO: How do you think President Bush is doing?

RODGERS: I give him a mixed report card. I think economically he's doing pretty well. I don't like his protectionist policies or his putting terrorists on everything. And I'm getting more and more skeptical about Iraq. I think we are going to war and I'm not sure we should be.

CAVUTO: But for the kind of tax that he's proposing today, that you are OK with?

RODGERS: Yes, when you cut taxes and give money, let people keep the money they earn to begin with. The country will grow faster. Kennedy proved it in the '60s. Reagan proved it in the '80s. It's economically obvious that is the right thing to do.

CAVUTO: You ever going to run for office?

RODGERS: No, no, I have a real job, I like what I do.


CAVUTO: I've got a real job, ooh, that's a putdown. T.J. Rodgers, thank you very much.

RODGERS: Thank you.

CAVUTO: The man who runs Cypress Semiconductor. That is pretty good line.

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