Our dishwasher broke just after Christmas. The timer stopped working, and a new one costs about $100. My wife suggested that since the dishwasher is nineteen years old, we should buy a new one. Up until now it was working very quietly and efficiently, washing and drying a full load in about an hour.
We visited the appliance shop where we had recently purchased a new clothes washing machine a few months earlier. I mentioned to the salesman that our new washer was very slow, taking nearly two hours to finish a large load compared to our old one, which took about 35 minutes. With a bright smile, he explained that that was because of the new federal energy efficiency standards for clothes washers enacted by the Obama administration’s Department of Energy in May 2012.
(I later looked this up on the Energy.gov website, and found that this new regulation was only one of over 40 new onerous energy regulations on products and appliances already enacted, with many more to come, including for Christmas lights. According to the website, these are “sensible steps” that will save consumers “billions on energy bills”. This is a highly suspect claim. When energy consumption decreases, utility companies typically raise the price per kilowatt hour to make up for the loss in revenue.)
And by the way, our salesman interjected, this standard also applies to new dishwashers. They now take as long as three hours to complete the wash and dry cycle. Oh, about your nineteen-year-old dishwasher…don’t expect the new one to last that long. No matter which one you buy, from $250 to $1000, the average expected life of the new washers is five to seven years.
At about this time, I started hearing a song in my head. It was “Aquarela do Brazil”, the theme song of Terry Gilliam’s 1985 movie, Brazil. Gilliam’s film is a “dystopian satire” of a totalitarian society where all of the appliances have been designed and built by mindless bureaucrats.
The protagonist, played by Jonathan Pryce, haplessly tries to use a telephone that has wires and plugs like an old-fashioned operator’s switchboard. Computer screens are so tiny they need to be read with magnifying glasses. Pryce’s air conditioning system is a monstrous contortion of smoking tubes and wires. When it breaks and he tries to get it fixed, he is trapped in a government-controlled nightmare of endless forms and apathetic repairmen.
Robert De Niro plays a “terrorist” rogue engineer who zip-lines himself into people’s apartments and fixes their air conditioning systems without government permission.
Our country is becoming Brazil. The ever-increasing barrage of regulations being unleashed by Obama’s DOE, EPA, and myriad other agencies have spurious and unproven “benefits” to Americans, but many potential unforeseen consequences. We only need look at the Affordable Care Act (a name that could only be dreamed-up in Brazil) as a textbook example of the results of releasing massive amounts of regulations without adequate controls or review.
21,000 new regulations have been enacted under Obama, and 2,375 are scheduled so far for 2015. Congress does not have the power to stop this avalanche, and can do very little to slow it down.
The sad and frustrating part of this “government gone wild” scenario is that it is highly doubtful any of these regulations can be rescinded or fixed before they potentially cause significant permanent damage to our individual freedoms, to say nothing of how they will negatively impact our day-to-day lives. This is how Obama’s “fundamental change” of America is accomplished.
As I write this, I am ordering a new timer for my old dishwasher. I just hope De Niro shows up to help me install it.
as published in American Thinker