Cypress Semiconductor CEO: Government Needs to Shrink

TJ Rodgers on effects of President Obama's economic policies


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: All right, meanwhile, the president holding yet another meeting today with business leaders, trying to get a handle on the economy.

Let’s see who’s there. We have got the CEO of American Express, U.S. Steel, Johnson & Johnson, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp, Xerox, BlackRock. I wasn’t there, but Silver Bridge, all of these guys were meeting with the president.

Now, the one guy I didn’t see on the list -- I wonder why -- it could be things he’s said in the past -- but, anyway, he is with us now, T.J. Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor.

T.J., good to have you.

I’m kidding about you not being there, but what do you make of the folks who were there and the message presumably they were hearing that the president hears them?

T.J. RODGERS, CEO, CYPRESS SEMICONDUCTOR: I don’t think the meeting can cause anything to happen.

The new problem is the -- the investors are starting to become worried and they’re worried enough about the uncertainty that they’re getting their money into a safe haven and they’ve hit the market. So CEOs of important companies can talk to the president and they can speak to each other until they warm up the air temperature in the Oval Office.

(LAUGHTER) RODGERS: But the fact is investors are going to do what investors are going to do. And as your last guest says, we look beyond the official word.

CAVUTO: Let me -- I would always love to see you in one of these White House events, because you’re known for being a little frank. But if you had the president’s ear, T.J., what would you tell him?

RODGERS: The government has to get smaller.

We’re -- we’re – it’s not -- the deficit is going to be $1 trillion this year, but the government has to get smaller. We have to take a smaller fraction of the money into unproductive government investments, where they are investing in green energy, which is a long shot investment which has a low return on investment, and we have put that money back with companies and people.

You know, let me just take myself. I’m one of those -- one of those wealthy people that they say should take more money. Well, OK, I have a lot of unused money. Ninety percent, 95 percent of my money is unused. I have it invested. The question is is the country going to get better off if the government, for example, takes $1 million from me in the form of taxes?

My money is invested in companies in Silicon Valley, battery companies that will make the next-generation batteries in the world, semiconductor companies and electronic companies that I know personally in Silicon Valley. So when the government taxes me and takes $1 million of my money, which is invested, and it goes to Washington, D.C., and I’ll just ask a rhetorical question.

Is that money, that $1 million, going to be better invested in Washington? And, therefore, if we raise taxes on the wealthy, as one of the suggestions, we will simply be moving money from productive investments, which the wealthy are wealthy because they know how to invest properly, to unproductive investments and pork barrel projects, and overall the country will be less competitive.

CAVUTO: Do you think in the end that the president will ever be in sync with the business community, because they seem to be talking past each other?

RODGERS: No, I don’t think so.

I -- the president as far as I can tell does not believe in free markets. He believes in the government controlling the economy. He’s shown that over and over by his action, regardless of what he says. And I don’t think he is -- I think he’s at loggerheads with many CEOs.

By the way, there are many CEOs who are not free market types. They like government control and they like the government keeping their foreign competitors away. They like government subsidies. So there are many CEOs who don’t really believe in free markets.

But I believe that the president will never be in tune with business. His philosophy is just at right angles to what business needs.

CAVUTO: All right, well, there goes your Christmas invite from the White House.

(LAUGHTER) CAVUTO: But, T.J., always good seeing you -- T.J. Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor. All right.

Content and Programming Copyright 2011 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright CQ-2011 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.