FILE – President Joe Biden speaks at the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Legislative Conference at the Washington Hilton in Washington, April 6, 2022. The U.S. economy faces plenty of threats: War in Ukraine, high grocery bills, spiking gasoline prices, splintered supply chains, the lingering pandemic and rising interest rates that slow growth. The Biden White House is betting the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand these threats, but there are growing fears of a coming economic slump among voters and some Wall Street analysts. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Once upon a time, the mantra of the libertarian Left was “keep the government out of the bedroom.”
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi want to regulate any gadget or appliance with an electric switch that turns on in your house or your driveway. New Department of Energy rules will dictate the amount of water that comes out of your showerhead, how much warm air comes out of your heater and how much cool air comes out of air conditioners. There is even talk about gadgets monitoring your home’s temperature in the winter and summer months.
How is any of this the government’s business?
The latest shower regulations are especially aggravating. The new water-efficient heads make you stand in the shower much longer to get wet and wash your hair because the water pressure is low. It’s a drip, drip, drip policy.
This is all reminiscent of the low-flush toilets mandated during the Bush and Obama years. These were designed to save water, but there was so little water flow that you had to flush two or three times. So it ended up not saving water at all.
Light bulbs, swimming pools, refrigerators and freezers are all subject to the same regulatory schemes.
Last week, the Biden regulators announced fuel efficiency requirements for cars, minivans and light trucks of 49 mpg by 2026. New cars are already more fuel-efficient than ever before, and the Trump rules had the requirement rising to 32 mpg over four years. That wasn’t enough progress for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Mayor Pete” hates any car with a combustible engine. At his press conference announcing the strict mileage rules, he assured us this would save motorists money.
But if it’s such a great financial benefit, Pete, why do you have to mandate it?
But here’s the other part of the story that the greenies won’t tell: The new rules won’t reduce pollution levels much. This is because the higher fuel standards can raise the price of a new car by $1,000 to $3,000. So to save money, families keep their older gas guzzlers on the road longer. Congrats to the White House: Your new pollution standards may actually mean higher, not lower, tailpipe emissions.
It gets worse. The primary way auto companies comply with strict fuel standards is by making cars lighter. Get the family out of a minivan and into a Ford Fiesta. But our friends at the Competitive Enterprise Institute note that lighter cars are more dangerous and lead to more fatalities. So the Biden administration is willing to spill more blood on the highways to save gas. What humanitarians!
The new draconian fuel standards are higher than what former President Barack Obama requested and even higher than what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency recommended. And under the rules, auto companies that fail to meet the standards can buy emission credits for tens of millions of dollars from other auto companies — like Tesla.
What’s the real goal here? Obviously, make fuel standards so unachievable that everyone has to buy an electric car. But, of course, many low and middle-income families can’t afford the higher costs for Tesla, so they will henceforth ride on one of Pete’s electric buses.
How is this progress?
These rules are designed to save the planet, but most people just want to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and they want to choose their car rather than having Biden choose for them.
If it seems like Big Brother is watching you, you’re not paranoid. He is looking over your shoulder. So keep your showers short and your air conditioner off, and stop driving around in that gas-guzzling family car.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at Freedom Works. He is also author of the new book: “Govzilla: How The Relentless Growth of Government Is Devouring Our Economy.”