Derek Thompson talks to Eric Spiegel, CEO of Siemens USA, and finds that he'd like to see the government reduce uncertainty by ... passing activist legislation that he likes:
Siemens, which engineers and sells equipment for the new green economy (among a thousand other things), needs assurances that the government will take more action to tip the scales toward clean energy.
Spiegel mentioned three key areas where Washington's failure to act had created uncertainty. First, the failure of the climate change bill means the country could go years without a carbon price to advantage clean tech. Second, he lamented the absence of a national renewable energy standard. Third, he expressed concern about the future of the wind turbine investment tax credit, which expires in 2011.
"If you don't do anything on carbon and you don't have renewable energy standards or investment tax credit, every utility company would go out tomorrow and build coal," he said.
Usually, business argues for their legislative preferences "because it would be good for business." Right now, the preferred phrasing is that "it would reduce uncertainty." And I'm sure it would! If the government would pass the "Give Ezra Klein a Billion Dollars Act of 2010," my financial future would become a lot more certain. But I only support that legislation because I'd like the particular future it makes certain. The "Throw Ezra Klein in Jail Act of 2010" would also increase my ability to do long-term planning, but I'm voting against it.
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