Thursday, March 22, 2012

Don't stress it - press it, get your own Easy Button.

Yesterday, Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal interviewed President Obama in the desert of Nevada, as the President toured the country touting his administration's energy policy. I was struck not so much by his politician's campaign demeanor, as by the lack of understanding on both sides of the political spectrum of what it takes to lead innovation, build startups and create jobs and wealth for our society. It were as if President Obama has been shopping at Bain Capital's Staples. Excerpts from the interview are below.

Ryssdal: Uh, your administration has staked a lot on clean technology.
Obama: Yup.
Ryssdal: Green jobs. The m-, the biggest item most people know about that strategy is of course a company name Solyndra, which your administration gave loan guarantees to, that then went bankrupt, and has been the subject of many investigations. Uh, are you doin' your all-of-the-above strategy right, if that's what we have to show for at Solyndra.
Obama: We are doing the all-of-the-above strategy right. Obviously, we wish that Solyndra hadn't gone bankrupt. Part of the reason they did was because the Chinese were subsidizing their solar industry, and flooding the market in ways that Solyndra couldn't compete.
But... understand, uh, this was not our program per se, Congress, Democrats and Republicans, put together a loan guarantee program, because they understood historically that... when you get... new industries... it's easy to raise money for startups. But if you want to take 'em to scale, oftentimes there's a lot of risk involved. And... what the loan guarantee was designed to do, was to help... startup companies... get to scale.
Um... did our President just say "it's easy to raise money for startups"? Can I push that button?

Here's the full interview:

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