Thursday, 30 September 2010

Stealth Socialism: The EPA Takes Aim At Home Appliances

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Your car and your light bulbs were not enough.The Environmental Protection Agency needs to throw its considerable weight around some more, in an end run toward the finish line to impose a socialist America. The EPA, apparently the agency of choice to enforce a Nanny state, is now taking aim at everyone's home appliances -- vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, refrigerators, high-definition televisions, microwave ovens, residential and mobile home furnaces, fluorescent light fixtures, residential clothes washers and dryers, room and central air conditioners, and battery chargers. (Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore and the rest of the elite ruling caste, of course, are exempt.)

But industrial and trade outlets are by no means off the hook, as the EPA plans to include in its scheme commercial clothes washers, electric motors, water heaters, direct heating equipment and pool heaters.

Phony-baloney human-caused climate change; green jobs; carbon footprints; sustainable communities; noisy, spewing recycling trucks, complete with ugly barrels; and nonstop vehicle emissions testing all seemingly have failed to sufficiently browbeat the middle classes into submission, so the Obama Administration has decided to go for broke. And broke is exactly what most of us will be certainly not upwardly mobile if Americans fail to react to this latest usurpation of their right to freely create, market, and select products that work best.

Make no mistake. All this energy-efficient merchandise will work about as well as the energy-efficient toilets introduced in the 1990s; that is, they wont do the job, will require additional cycles, result in higher and lower thermostat settings, etc., to which the government will react with punitive fines or worse.

Young people under the age of 25 do not remember what life was like pre-1980, so don't expect any help from them. Their idea of choice is the number of apps on their cell phones. They've also been privy to a skewed view of history, having received nothing but social studies and politically correct propaganda during their school years and oh, yes, surveillance. In short, they're acclimated.

The EPA was established in 1970 under the Richard M. Nixon Administration, purportedly to address the noble purpose of highly visible pollution in certain localities, such as peculiarly situated towns in Nixon's home state of California. Such initiatives, of course, typically cite noble causes confirming the adage that no good deed goes unpunished.

But leftists had long had other intentions for a cabinet-level environmental agency, as far back as 1962 when Rachel Carson wrote her best-seller, Silent Spring, on the indiscriminate use of pesticides. While a few salient scientific points were made in the book, the Left picked up her banner, merged itself with the antiwar movement of the Vietnam era, and moved to supplant mankind with Nature, the new god, and the Founders' ideals with Mental Health, the new goddess. In May 1969, U Thant of the United Nations gave the planet only ten years to avert environmental disaster; the following month, he blamed the bulk of planetary catastrophe on the United States.

With the subsequent massive infiltration by the Left of educational institutions and government itself at all levels, the perfect platform finally existed to launch a nightmarish series of policies that would serve to greatly empower the state, compromise U.S. sovereignty and redistribute the wealth all with the blessing of the American people under a crisis-disaster mentality. The crisis approach proved so successful that it was exploited ad infinitum, promoting one leftist cause after another for the next 45 years. Anyone who didn't go along was said to have mental health issues, which effectively ended the subject.

The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) was first chartered under George H. W. Bush's administration. It was wisely disbanded by his son, President George W. Bush, thanks to his Energy Secretary, Samuel Bodman. But Steven Chu re-established the SEAB this past August, and soon announced: Were going to make people save money for themselves.


Steven Chus Assistant Secretary, Cathy Zoi, served as environmental adviser to President Bill Clinton and was the founding CEO of former Vice President Al Gores Alliance for Climate Protection. A rabid liberal-leftist, Zoi has been hot to jump-start alternative energy efforts for years, but not exactly under the auspices of science. She attended the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth with a specialty in systems analysis, but like Al Gore, her resume appears a bit thin on science.

The 12-member SEAB now includes former government officials and corporate executives, all of whom know on which side their bread is buttered: Clinton-era Director of Central Intelligence John Deutch; Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry; former Clinton Labor Secretary Alexis Herman; and former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine.

Zois brainchild (which catapulted her to her present position) is the now-ubiquitous Energy Star label, promoted through the Energy Department and plastered onto the various appliances you see when you look for big-ticket items like a washing machine or dryer. An Energy Star label supposedly indicates that the appliance in question is more energy-efficient than even the minimum (government) guidelines.

But guess what? Purchasing an Energy Star-labeled product apparently does not always translate into the most energy-efficient option. For example, Wikipedia sources information explaining that dehumidifiers rated under 25 U.S. pints (12 L) per day of water extraction receive an Energy Star rating if they have an energy factor of 1.2 (the higher, the better), while those rated 25 to 35 U.S. pints (17 L) per day receive an Energy Star rating for an energy factor of 1.4 or higher. Thus, the higher-capacity, but non-Energy Star-rated, dehumidifier may be more energy efficient than an Energy Star-rated one, even if it is a lower-capacity model (Green Energy Efficient Homes, Energy Efficient Dehumidifiers). The Energy Star programs savings calculator has also been criticized for unrealistic assumptions in its model for tending to magnify savings benefits to the average consumer (Belzer, Richard Energy Star Appliances: EPA's Savings Calculator Exaggerates Savings, Regulatory Economics, 5 March 2008).

So, with this background in mind, our friend Ms. Zoi is now in a position to have a sitting President launch a program of government subsidies, tax incentives, and low-interest government (tax)-backed loans for green energy projects. Her motivations? They came through loud and clear when she described yet a fourth prong in this stealth plan to coerce Americans into a socialistic mindset: The fourth one, which the secretary [Steven Chu] and I love is where we have a mandate. Where we can actually just issue regulations and do market transformation.

Say what?

Were going to update [the standards] more frequently said Zoi. We have the power to do that in the statute, Zoi announced. She was referring to authority the department has under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, as amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. That law gives the DOE the power to set efficiency standards for energy-consuming products, which of course now fits right into the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. Zoi sees this as a mandate, and shes probably right unless, perhaps, someone launches a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of it.

But perhaps the ultimate reality check came when asked White House Science Czar John P. Holdren yesterday (Sept. 29), in reference to Zois earlier announcement with which he apparently concurred, about his own advocacy of wealth redistribution, he responded with, Im not talking to you. Bye bye! Have a nice day. In 1973, Holdren wrote in a book coauthored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.... The reader may recall that Paul Ehrlich authored none other than the famous 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb, a scientific crisis bomb that turned out to be a dud.

Maybe thats all we need to know.

Photo: AP Images

Beverly K. Eakman is a former educator and retired federal employee who served as speechwriter for the heads of three government agencies as well as editor-in-chief of NASAs newspaper (Johnson Space Center). Today, she is a Washington, DC-based freelance writer and columnist, the author of five books, and a frequent keynote speaker on the lecture circuit. Her most recent book is Walking Targets: How Our Psychologized Classrooms Are Producing a Nation of Sitting Ducks (Midnight Whistler Publishers).

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