CEO Series: An American Competitiveness Agenda with Honeywell’s CEO, Dave Cote
Thomson Reuters Digital Editor Chrystia Freeland interviewed Honeywell’s CEO, Dave Cote, in this morning’s CEO Series session at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Cote, a member of the Simpson – Bowles Commission, shared his proposal for an “American competitiveness agenda:”
“We need to recognize that we are in a different global economy than we were 20 years ago,” he said, and outlined six areas of focus to regain our competitive edge: debt reduction, energy policy, free trade and developing a different relationship with China, a new focus on math and science education, infrastructure development and torte reform.
“We need to address both tax reform and entitlement spending,” said Cote, and called for making these issues the focus of at least one of the presidential debates. On debt reduction he said, “Our current entitlement programs will crush us. He illustrated this point by saying, “If you spent a million dollars every day since Jesus Christ was born, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars.” On tax reform, he said: “We need to figure out how to extract 20% of the GDP from taxes in the least obtrusive, least annoying way possible… like a mosquito.”
Regarding China, Cote said, “China has demonstrated an ability to evolve… We must view China as a customer, supplier and partner.” Cote likened Cina’s growth and evolution to how the UK probably viewed the US 150 years ago.
“We should all ask ourselves, if we were to create a system today, from scratch, what would opt look like?”