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Read our lips

Wall Street is willing to work with Obama—under these conditions

US President Barack Obama meets with business leaders today, but Wall Street will be conspicuously absent. Perhaps that’s why Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein ventured to The Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page today to lay out his wish list for fiscal-cliff negotiations.

Blankfein’s piece comes amid a flurry of business folk weighing in on tax cuts and government spending, through blog posts and opinion pieces, but also advertising campaigns and millionaires marching on Washington.

Blankfein concedes:

Relations between the Obama administration and large segments of the business community have been strained and unproductive. But the election offers an important opportunity to forge a more productive relationship. By electing a divided government, Americans didn’t choose two years of squabbling and inaction until the next election—and the country cannot afford that. Both parties will have to compromise to make progress.

Here’s what he wants:

An extension of tax cuts past Jan. 1. That would remove uncertainty about what to do with “trillions of dollars in cash.” Blankfein pledges companies will “increase their capital expenditures (currently at anemic levels), contributing to a virtuous cycle of jobs and growth.”

Reduce government spending. We’ll give up some if you do, too. He writes, “…tax increases, especially for the wealthiest, are appropriate, but only if they are joined by serious cuts in discretionary spending and entitlements. A number of CEOs and companies agree and support principles that call for a comprehensive and balanced solution to the debt problem—increased tax revenues and decreased spending.”

And while I’m at it… Blankfein also tacks on energy policy, freer trade, and immigration reform. To meet those demands, he says, “We are all ready to roll up our sleeves and work with the Obama administration.”

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