PRESIDENT OBAMA recently visited a factory in Newton, Iowa, that builds wind-turbine blades, contrasting the industry of the past — Maytag left the town in 2007 — with a vision of a future with middle-class green manufacturing jobs. Who could be against that?
One problem: According to Mr. Obama, that future apparently requires a clumsy array of expensive federal subsidies. The wind production tax credit (PTC) devotes more than $1 billion a year to support wind-power projects, rewarding them for every kilowatt-hour of electricity they generate, not for providing electricity inexpensively or devising cheaper ways to operate. But the president has nevertheless put reauthorizing the tax credit, which expires at year’s end, on his “to-do list” for Congress. In Newton, Mr. Obama pointed to the progress in renewable energy sources; their use has nearly doubled since 2008. The government, he argued, should not imperil such progress by cutting off the subsidy spigot.