Here's yet another example of big government overreaching itself. The Wall Street Journal reports:
It might not have been the most stylish, but for decades the top-loading laundry machine was the most affordable and dependable. Now it's ruined - and Americans have politics to thank.
In 1996, top-loaders were pretty much the only type of washer around, and they were uniformly high quality. When Consumer Reports tested 18 models, 13 were "excellent" and five were "very good." By 2007, though, not one was excellent and seven out of 21 were "fair" or "poor." This month came the death knell: Consumer Reports simply dismissed all conventional top-loaders as "often mediocre or worse."
How's that for progress?
The culprit is the federal government's obsession with energy efficiency.
. . .
When the Department of Energy began raising the standard, it promised that "consumers will have the same range of clothes washers as they have today," and cleaning ability wouldn't be changed. That's not how it turned out.
In 2007, after the more stringent rules had kicked in, Consumer Reports noted that some top-loaders were leaving its test swatches "nearly as dirty as they were before washing." "For the first time in years," CR said, "we can't call any washer a Best Buy." Contrast that with the magazine's 1996 report that, "given warm enough water and a good detergent, any washing machine will get clothes clean." Those were the good old days.
. . .
Now Congress is at it once again. On March 10, the Senate Energy Committee held hearings on a bill to make efficiency standards even more stringent. The bill claims to implement "national consensus appliance agreements," but those in this consensus are the usual suspects: politicians pushing feel-good generalities, bureaucrats seeking expanded powers, environmentalists with little regard for American pocketbooks, and industries that stand to profit from a de facto ban on low-priced appliances. And there are green tax goodies for manufacturing high-efficiency models ...
There's more at the link. Recommended reading.
Would someone please explain to me how it's even remotely Constitutional for the Federal Government to mess around with my washing machine? Furthermore, why are my tax dollars being wasted on such puerile pursuits, when there are so many important matters needing attention - not least of which is our trillion-dollar-plus deficit, caused in part by precisely such wasteful expenditures?