And it’s not just Europe. U.S. bureaucrats appear determined to make sure that nearly every appliance in your home A) costs more and B) works less effectively.
Spurred by President Obama’s climate action plan, the Department of Energy is pumping out new standards for refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, furnaces, boilers, water heaters, lamps and many more appliances.
The administration says the standards will not only help the planet but also stimulate the economy by saving consumers money on their energy bills that they can spend elsewhere.
But industry groups argue the standards, which will apply to both commercial and household appliances, could slow the economy, and that the Energy Department is rushing the new rules while overestimating the savings. Other critics argue the push to regulate household appliances is evidence of a nanny state.
Can a country still be said to be ‘free’ where citizens are not even allowed to choose their own appliances?
The rules will affect nearly every household in the country.
“We all have a microwave or a refrigerator or a dishwasher, so these rules do affect basically every American household,” said Sofie Miller, a researcher at The George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center.
We notice that our new dishwasher, thanks to existing regulations, does not clean as well as did our old one, manufactured some 25 years ago. We can hardly imagine how bad dishwashers will get after the next round of regulations.
Government keeps saying it’s on the side of the ‘little guy.’ But as usual, government regulation hits the poor the hardest.
Business groups say the new rules will be expensive for industry to comply with because it will require them to buy new technologies to develop appliances that emit less energy. That will raise the retail prices of household appliances, they say…
Lower-income consumers, however, will be at a disadvantage, [Miller] said. They will have a tough time paying for the more expensive appliances, and are likely to keep using older ones.
She also said that could defeat the environmental reasons for pushing the new rules.
“If you can’t afford a dishwasher, you’re stuck washing your dishes by hand,” Miller said, “which actually uses more water.”
Not everyone stands to lose from the new regulations, however. At least some producers will benefit.
While many of the efficiency rules target household appliances, others focus on business appliances, such as commercial ice-makers, commercial refrigerators and walk-in coolers and freezers.
The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute is challenging the later two rules in federal court. Yurek argues the rules could force as much as 40 percent of the industry out of business.
Ah, but eliminating that 40 percent of the industry would benefit the remaining 60 percent. As the Roman lawyers used to say, if you want to know why a law exists, ask yourself: Cui bono?, Who benefits?
This report appears in The Hill, a mainstream outlet that has neither a conservative nor a libertarian ideological allegiance. Yet in the online comments, scores of readers expressed opposition to the regulations. At the same time, we noticed only one troll (a government employee, perchance?) who supported the regulations.
Despite the public’s opposition, we would bet that most of these regulations get implemented.
Power to the People?