This morning, I had a conversation with Eric Spiegel, the new CEO of Siemens USA, about his company's diverse portfolio of products and its post-recession performance. Naturally, the conversation turned to the current debate about business uncertainty freezing out the economy. Some folks say the Obama administration's pro-reform, pro-tax agenda toward health care, the financial sector, and the Bush tax cuts are scaring businesses away from making new hires or taking on new big investments.
Spiegel had the opposite take. 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 (FLASHCARD here) to advantage clean tech. Second, he lamented the absence of a national renewable energy standard (FLASHCARD here). 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.