“This is about the birth of an entire new industry in America.” Thus spake President Obama two years ago, in remarks about A123 Systems’ opening of a factory to make batteries for electric cars. It was, the president said, “an industry that’s going to be central to the next generation of cars.”
In pursuit of that belief, the Obama administration lavished a quarter-billion-dollar grant on the company.
The other day, A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy.
Add it to the growing list of other bad bets by the administration, such as Solyndra — which also went belly-up even though Obama had put his heavy thumb on the scale.
Electric vehicles might indeed be the wave of the future. That’s not the point. The point is that Washington has no business picking winners and losers in the marketplace. An industry that holds great promise doesn’t need government handouts. And handouts to industries that can’t make it are nothing but a waste.