80 CEOs calling on Congress to take action to cut deficit

Verifone CEO Doug Bergeron explains


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 25, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Now to the guy behind this Microsoft bombshell, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer. Now he says he has been playing with Windows 8 for a while now and loves it. Well, that's not exactly surprising. Here's what is, signing off on a statement, along with scores of other industry titans, urging Congress to get its act together and avoid this fiscal cliff.

Just call it a bipartisan bash, as the titans of big business demand Republicans and Democrats work together. Because this statement spreads the blame and demands both sides stop playing games, will it hold more clout than recent letters from groups like manufacturers and financial titans that generally targeted just the president?

In other words, does the guy they call Mr. Softy demanding hard choices make a big difference?

To VeriFone CEO Doug Bergeron, who also signed onto this effort.

That is the feeling I got reading the letter, Doug, that you were -- you guys were making a bipartisan statement here, not just blaming the president.


CAVUTO: Blaming everybody, and demanding everybody get their duff off the couch and do something.

BERGERON: Well, to say that we're frustrated would be an understatement.

We're just exercising our roles as leaders of the community and saying, listen, get in the same room and figure this out. It is not that hard.

CAVUTO: All right, but you also leave open the possibility -- what I think distinguishes your group from others is that you are saying, revenue should be on the table. In other words, tax increases should be on the table. You do not attach a number, a formula, but everything should be on the table.


BERGERON: What we suggest is a broadening of the tax base, so that tax rates probably, as Governor Romney has suggested, can come down, some loopholes get closed, but with greater growth across the economy, more tax revenues will come in.

That is a part of the solution. The other part of course is a recut of these entitlement discussions, such that the long-term health and integrity and solvency of these systems remains in check.

CAVUTO: Doug, do a lot your colleagues, yourself included, feel that this is a cloud over your future plans, over the economy?

Others tell me, look, what happens in Washington, we cannot control, we just sort of go forward on our own. But you seem to be saying, and all these others seem to be saying, no, this is a big unknown and into this environment we keep cash tight.

BERGERON: Yes. Well, I signed on as an American and someone who is concerned about the future of the country, not to defend VeriFone's prospects, which are 75 percent out of the U.S.

But I'm worried. I started out with very little. Now I have a great company with a lot of -- 5,000 employees. And I just don't want to see this whole thing go up in smoke if we can't get our act together.

CAVUTO: Do you think that is likely? In other words, let's say they do something like this, Doug. At the end the year, they punt.

They decide, whether it is Barack Obama re-elected or Mitt Romney elected, that they extend all these coming spending cuts, all these expiring tax rates, extend them for another six months or so, let a re-elected president and Congress or a newly elected president and Congress do something more substantive in the new year.

BERGERON: Well, as much as I hate kicking the can down the road again, I think it is just infeasible to come up with comprehensive tax reform and a whole new deal for entitlements between November 7 and December 31.

So, practically speaking, that is the most likely and probably the most reasonable thing to do. But come the day after inauguration, when the House is back in session, we need to get going on this thing and solve this problem.

CAVUTO: Was there a political leaning one way or the other to you and these 79 others?

BERGERON: No. I think what Simpson-Bowles taught us is that there can be bipartisanship.

You have to able to get people on both sides of the aisle to do things that they haven't done before. The other thing that Simpson-Bowles teaches us is that the number of changes necessary in both the tax code and in terms of entitlements, if you do them now, are not overly substantial. They are not painful. And the effect of those somewhat painless changes over a 10, 15, 20-year time period do dramatic, positive results to the whole fiscal solvency of the system, so-called bending of the curve.

CAVUTO: Very good point.

BERGERON: So I think it could get done. I just think they have to get everyone sitting in the same room together.

These are a lot of folks that just do not even like being in the same room with each other.


CAVUTO: You know, you are right about that. But you're right. We have got to get the ball moving.

Doug, thank you very much. Very good having you.

BERGERON: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

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