Tom Fanning, Southern Company's chairman, president and CEO, co-hosted CNBC's Squawkbox today; Southern is the largest electric utility in the counntry. In the closing segment, Fanning offered a prescription for a successful U.S. energy policy.
Fanning: People can see what's happening this year with the transition away from kind of coal and other fuels on to natural gas. But I really want to speak about the future. The future of the United States in terms of energy depends upon a commonsense approach to this very important part of our national fabric. That is, we're the only country, the United States, building out a full portfolio of energy products: New nuclear, 21st Century coal, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency.
CNBC's Becky Quick: Covering your bases?
Fanning: We need them all. Just as you own stock, you don't own just one stock. You've got to make sure that you don't chase short term fads and [instead] build for the long term. It is so important, when I mentioned before the demographics of our customer base, to represent their interest, to make sure no matter what happens in the nation's energy markets going forward, we're going to look after their best interests....
And the other thing we've got to do is promote energy innovation.
The video is here.
The opening segment of the day (video) had Fanning discussing his recent appointment to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the critical need to ensure the nation's fiscal integrity, and what it takes to create a pro-growth tax policy that encourages capital investment and employment: "What we should do at a minimum is keep linked the tax rates on dividends and capital gains -- at a minimum -- and then what we need to do is keep both of those as low as we can." Mentioning his membership in Business Roundtable, Fanning supported the goal of eliminating tax breaks to achieve a lower corporate tax rate.
BRT President John Engler was also a guest on Squawkbox this morning, appearing in a segment entitled, "Can America Avoid 'Taxmageddon?" (video)
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