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Carroll School of Management

David M. Cote

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Honeywell International

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College’s Chief Executives’ Club of Boston

February 6, 2013

TAKEAWAY: Taxing the middle class

So, tax reform, saying broaden the base, lower the rate overall, but you can still end up collecting a little bit more. And by the way, I know everybody wants to say the middle class will not be affected. It’s tough to get the kind of tax revenue you need without people in the under $250,000 income range being affected. If you take a look at those Bush tax cuts that everybody likes to talk about, that was about a $4 trillion impact over 10 years. Of that $4 trillion, about … $800 billion … came from people making over $250,000. The remaining $3.2 trillion benefited people making less than $250,000.

So you can’t keep saying that I’m going to increase taxes, but I’m not going to get it from the middle class, because you just run out of places to go for the money. It just doesn’t exist. The top quintile today pays about 70 percent of the overall taxes collected from the government from individuals … You can’t keep doing that. It’s not going to keep working. But it’s another discussion government is loath to have. It doesn’t matter which party you’re in. Nobody wants to talk about it.