Once again, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has taken to task the president of the United States. This time, it’s over the federal subsidies provided to A123 Systems, a manufacturer of batteries for electric cars. A123, report Bill Vlasic and Matt Wald of The New York Times, is supposed to be “a centerpiece of his administration’s effort to use $2 billion in government subsidies to jump-start production of sophisticated electric batteries in the United States.”
A123, despite the promise of a new technology it plans to reveal soon, has been losing money — and some of that money has been provided as a subsidy by the feds. There are reasons, of course: a weak economy, lukewarm demand for electric vehicles whose prices have yet to descend to the financial means of the masses, and difficult, complicated issues unresolved by engineers.
President Obama faced a political debacle after Solyndra stumbled and failed. So A123 failure coupled to his desire to use government funding to enhance a new energy economy has provided Romney with a chance to roar again about the power of the free market.