Going Over 'Cliff' Will Hurt Investment, Jobs: Boeing CEO

Javier E. David | Special to CNBC.com
Boeing CEO Preparing For the 'Fiscal Cliff'
Boeing CEO Preparing For the 'Fiscal Cliff'

Failing to steer the U.S. economy away from the looming raft of tax hikes and spending cuts would be a drag on investment and jobs, and an event that would be best avoided, Boeing Chairman and CEO James McNerney told CNBC Friday.

Boeing's chief told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that should Washington fail in its negotiations over the "fiscal cliff," it would be a "big deal" for businesses. (Read More: It Could Get Hairy Before 'Cliff' Deal: Greenspan)

Going over the precipice would have "negative impact on investment and employment if you go over the fiscal cliff. It is a huge event that is to be avoided, and this is why the business community is trying to weigh in pragmatically here," McNerney said.

The CEO, who also sits on the Fix the Debt advocacy group, called for a "fiscally responsible solution" that put both new tax revenues and spending cuts on the table. (Read More: Obama Has 'Mandate' to Increase Taxes on Rich: Poll.)

"Yes there are going to be some revenues involved but there need to be multiples of that in entitlement cuts," McNerney said. "And so I've taken enough flack on both the right and left side of this equation to know that I'm in the right place."

Whether Washington succeeds or not in its ability to avoid the cliff, the defense industry stands to emerge as a major loser in budget reform. Many observers point out that defense contractors would take a big hit to their business, as reduced spending would cut into revenues.

McNerney, however said that was less of a concern than the prospect of Washington failing to rein in the deficit. (Read More: 'Cliff' Talks at Standstill: 'It's Getting Worse, Not Better'.)

"I'm not sitting here with you as the leader of the world's largest aerospace company, I'm sitting here worried about the US economy,worried about our political ability to function and its impact on our economy if we don't," he said. "It's a big deal."