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McD's chief: Cut taxes, curb fed spending

Nov. 7, 2011 at 4:30 AM   |   Comments

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OAK BROOK, Ill., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Washington must cut taxes and government spending to kick-start a U.S. economic recovery, McDonald's Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jim Skinner says.

"The question is, how can we get the ox out of the ditch?" Skinner told Britain's Sky News at the world's largest hamburger chain's Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters.

"In order to create jobs in America, you're going to have to cut taxes ... particularly in the business community," he said. "We pay some of the highest [corporate] taxes around the world. There needs to be some leveling."

McDonald's, which has delivered 100 consecutive months of same-store sales growth, is ranked No. 1 in the Dow Jones industrial average for total shareholder return over the past five years, with the share price rising to nearly $94 before trading Monday from $12 in 2003.

Skinner, a college dropout who began his McDonald's career as a restaurant manager trainee in 1971, also spoke about the federal debt and healthcare reform.

The public debt is "not a good story," he said. "The government has to spend less. We have to grow the economy, grow [the gross domestic product] ... and you have to be able to do it in an organic way and not through borrowings and increasing debt."

The $14.94 trillion U.S. debt almost equals the $15 trillion U.S. GDP.

Government debt has increased more than $500 billion every fiscal year since 2003, and increased $1 trillion in 2008, $1.9 trillion in 2009 and $1.7 trillion in 2010.

Concerning healthcare reform, Skinner said "until all of that is all defined and certain ... we're going to continue to have a fragile environment for consumer confidence."

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects will cost the government about $938 billion over 10 years but cut the federal deficit $138 billion over the same period, has been under attack in courts, in Congress and in many state legislatures.

The act suffered another setback Oct. 14 when the Obama administration said it would scrap its long-term care insurance program because it was too costly and would not work.

In September, the U.S. Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to hear its appeal of an Atlanta U.S. Court of Appeals decision that struck down the so-called individual mandate, requiring all Americans to buy health coverage or pay a tax.

Arguments before the court are expected by spring and a decision by June, around the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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