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CEOs Weigh In On Making Obama Jobs Plan Better

President Obama's jobs plan is a start, but many chief executives told CNBC it doesn't go far enough.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

Obama sent his plan to divided Congress Monday, urging quick passage to lower the nation's 9.1 percent unemployment rate. The Obama plan would extend unemployment insurance, modernize schools, invest in transportation infrastructure projects, and cut payroll taxes for employees and employers.

Lawrence Bossidy, former Honeywell CEO, told CNBC Monday that to make America more competitive in the long term, "you have to reform the U.S. tax code."

The plan's infrastructure project spending puts people to work, which is important in the short term, he said. Bossidy would also increase education for the unemployed.

"The government has 47 programs [and] spends $18 billion in education. I’d like to see that privatized and give the companies that do the education some benefit if they hire them," he said. "Also, you gotta stop this regulation. It’s killing the young, startup businesses. By virtue of the fact they’re being choked, they don’t grow the way they otherwise would."

Investor Wilbur Ross would go further to create jobs. He told CNBC he would eliminate corporate and individual income taxes entirely in favor of a value-added tax on all goods imported into the country and manufactured and consumed here, and then rebate it on exports.

"We need something that is very far-reaching, very dramatic," said Ross, the head of W.L. Ross & Co.

Mario Gabelli, the CEO of Gamco, said he would like something implemented that doesn't change from year to year.

"A business guy running a business needs more than year to year," he said. "You need to have the notion of tax reform: cut taxes, re-examine regulation. [Obama] said we’re going to re-examine regulation. That’s good. Now take an ax and not a light hammer, and then work on the vision of this country over the next several years."

— Jeff Cox contributed to this post.

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