Caterpillar exec assails US taxes, rules

MNS/ AJ Reynolds
Gov. Nathan Deal (right) answers media questions while Doug Oberhelman, the chairman and chief executive officer of Caterpillar (center), looks on.
Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 10:54 AM
Last updated 7:32 PM
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ATLANTA — American manufacturing is hindered in global competition by high taxes, burdensome regulations and aging infrastructure like its seaports, according to the CEO of Caterpillar Inc.

Doug Oberhelman, the chairman and chief executive officer of the machinery maker, told members of Georgia State University’s World Affairs Council of Atlanta Thursday night that the United States policies discourage companies.

“We’re finding in other countries a lot more business friendly atmospheres,” he said.

When he began his career in the early 1970s working on the company’s taxes, the United States had the lowest corporate income tax rate of any major country. Now, it’s among the highest, twice that of some competing countries.

“All I know is higher taxes will not bring more jobs,” he said, calling instead for cuts in entitlement spending. “... I worry an awful lot about that.”

He complained that regulations, like those on immigration, were troubling, noting that often Caterpillar executives have wound up across the table from their former foreign interns and co-operative students who had been hired by competitors when forced to leave the United States.

Oberhelman, who earlier in the day presided over the ribbon cutting of Caterpillar’s new plant outside Athens that will employ 1,400, said Georgia offers better taxes, worker training and infrastructure than most states, which is why Athens was chosen. But he still warned that America is investing too little in transportation infrastructure and that its ports are behind those in many countries in having modern equipment and ability to handle the world’s largest ships.

Developing countries are investing in roads, railroads and ports at the rate the United States used to.

“That’s going to come back to bite us in the not-too-distant future,” he warned, adding that American economic dominance would be eclipsed in the next decade.

Roughly 95 percent of Caterpillar’s customers are overseas, making it a major U.S. exporter. That compares to 99 percent of American companies that have no international sales, and most of those who do have foreign business are limited to Canada, notes David Abney, chief operating officer of Georgia-based UPS and chairman of the World Affairs Council.

“U.S. citizens need to find a way to compete,” Abney said. “For those of us in corporate America, we can’t wait for the day when the stars align to begin foreign trade.”

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Suomynona 11/01/13 - 08:44 pm
Complaining about corporate

Complaining about corporate taxes? So says THE guy who got a 60% raise in 2012 to $17 MILLION dollars (that's right, a single year's income). The SAME guy who argued in that same year, defending wage cut for his own company's employees. BRILLIANT!

JRC2024 11/01/13 - 10:18 pm
Suomyona, corporations are

Suomyona, corporations are owned by share holders of their stock. They expect to pay the top at the corporation a lot because they expect a lot from them. They have to produce a profit for the stockholders or they get fired. It will always be like that because this is a capitalistic country and hopefully never gets to a socialist country. And yes there are too many regulations that hinder corporations. We need to get busy on our infrastructure, quit giving other countries our money and get out of those countries where we are not wanted.

deestafford 11/02/13 - 12:23 am
The CEO is right on target. The USA is nowhere near the

business friendly country it used to be. If I remember correctly we are somewhere around 12th in the world as best country to do business. We have the highest corporate taxes in the world.

Democrats can't understand that companies don't HAVE to be in the USA anymore to be successful. It's a shame our politicians are so economically ignorant and hate the rich so much they have destroyed the business climate here. The founders of Home Depot says because of current regulations and laws they could not start HD today much less build it into the dynamo it is.

Wen have a president who has the lowest number of people in his administration with business experience, less than 4%, than any administration in modern times. When we have had a booming economy the figures were 35% to over 50%.

Riverman1 11/02/13 - 05:56 am
Ultimate Goal of Democrats

The truth is the goal of the Democrats is for unions to assume ownership of our corporations. After the bailouts of Chrysler and GM the unions came out with a 42% stake in Chrysler and a 10% stake in GM. That’s in addition to the government ownership and it will only increase.

It’s like a single payer for health insurance or, other words, government health care for everyone. Honest Democrats will tell you that’s their ultimate goal with health care. The ultimate Democrat goal for corporations is union ownership.

deestafford 11/02/13 - 09:56 am

The uninformed and the refused to be informed don't remember or refuse to believe what you point out. Ain't it kind of funny how the union takes on the attitudes of management when it comes to negotiations of companies they have ownership in?

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