CEOs are springing into action to save the country, just as they did during World War II, according to the CEO of Goldman Sachs.
Lloyd Blankfein, the head of Goldman Sachs, compared CEOs' fight on Capitol Hill to avert the fiscal cliff to CEOs' contributions to World War II, in an interview with CNBC reporter Eamon Javers.
"There have been times in our history when I know the business community was very, very engaged in the affairs of our country and added a particular area of expertise that was valued at that time," Blankfein told Javers on Wednesday. "For example in the war, when it came time to increase production, of course the CEOs came down."
The comparison sparked jokes on Twitter, where people wrote hypothetical fiscal cliff/World War II movie titles with the hashtag #FiscalCliffWWIIMovies:
Fourteen CEOs of major companies, including Blankfein, met with President Barack Obama Wednesday to discuss their concerns about the fiscal cliff, a set of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to take place on Jan. 1 if lawmakers don't reach a deficit reduction deal.
"We and everybody else in the country have a lot of stake," Blankfein told Bloomberg TV on Wednesday. "Our interests are aligned with the success of the United States economy. That's what we're interested in."
CEOs including Blankfein have been warning that the fiscal cliff could hurt business investment, hiring and the economy as a whole, and they have been calling for cuts to the social safety net to avert it. Dozens of major CEOs, including Blankfein, are members of the CEO council of the campaign Fix the Debt, which calls for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and vague Social Security reform to address the deficit. More than 80 CEOs, including Blankfein, also signed a recent letter calling for deficit reduction.
Blankfein has said he supports long-term deficit reduction instead of immediate cuts. He said in September that "you can't austere yourself into a higher GDP" and that "it's not going to be very good if the medicine kills the patient."
Blankfein's World War II comparison may not have seemed so unusual to him. The Goldman Sachs CEO made a similar argument earlier this month in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, writing that Obama should channel FDR in repairing his relationship with the business community, which has become "strained and unproductive."