NEW YORK (
founder Henry Kravis says regulatory uncertainty is holding him back from hiring and spending, and he prefers paying overtime to existing employees rather than hiring new ones.
"You tell me the size of the field I'm going to play on, but don't move it," Kravis said during the
Dealmakers Summit on Tuesday in New York, "regulation has gotten worse and worse and worse."
Particularly irksome to Kravis are proposals to raise taxes. President Obama recently proposed raising taxes on private equity earnings from their current 15% level. The issue, known as "carried interest," has long been controversial but got new attention following an editorial by Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett when he argued it was unfair that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
Kravis, a Republican, is not in Buffett's camp.
"I don't see what the incentive is in raising taxes," he said, adding, "we have a spending problem in America. We don't have a revenue problem."
KKR is one of the world's largest private equity firms and private equity firms employ four out of every 100 U.S. workers through its portfolio of companies, according to data cited by Bloomberg reporter Cristina Alesci, who interviewed Kravis at the conference. The firm and Kravis were made famous by the 1990 book "Barbarians at the Gate" which chronicled KKR's leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco.
Asked by Alesci which of he favored any of the Republican presidential candidates he favored, Kravis declined to respond, saying he is too busy running his business to think about politics.
Written by Dan Freed in New York
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