By Zachary A. Goldfarb, Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 –
The largest U.S. financial firms warned Thursday of dire consequences if Washington fails to head off year-end tax hikes and spending cuts, saying they could jolt the economy into recession and prompt a new and dangerous downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.
These projections come as U.S. business leaders have been escalating their lobbying on behalf of a bipartisan deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” pressing their case in a series of meetings with key members of Congress.
On Thursday, 15 of the nation’s largest financial companies warned President Obama and Congress in a letter that interest rates could spike significantly if policymakers do not agree to stop the series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts and replace them with a long-term plan to tame the federal debt.
In an interview, JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon said he would use all the power he has as head of the country’s largest bank to press lawmakers for a solution. Dimon is a major backer of a Washington-based campaign known as “Fix the Debt,” which is planning to spend $30 million to pressure lawmakers.