Household appliances use a lot of energy, which is why for the past several years policymakers have tried to mandate energy efficient standards on washing machines, refrigerators and other products. Energy efficiency can be beneficial for consumers, but rarely when the government tries to force it on the public. Energy-efficient appliances and mechanisms will not painlessly lower electricity bills. These measures also impose costs, and consumers benefit only if the energy savings outweigh the costs. For one thing, mandatory improvements in efficiency usually raise the purchase price of appliances; sometimes the increase is more than enough to negate the energy savings. In addition, the forced reduction in energy use can come at the expense of reduced product performance, features, or reliability. There’s also the problem that many of these “green products” are making false claims.
Now Washington is using a new tactic to pick on the electrical equipment and appliance industry: cap and trade. But this time they’re going straight to the industry workers. Not only do these products use a lot of energy, but they take a lot of energy to make.
And since the goal of cap and trade is for people to use less energy, the only way policymakers can make that happen is if they tax energy high enough people will reduce consumption. By raising the cost of production, the electrical equipment and appliance industry will suffer and companies will be forced to shed jobs. The Waxman-Markey bill would destroy 23,000 electrical and appliance jobs on average, with peak years seeing unemployment rise by almost 70,000.
It’s worth noting that the job losses come after accounting for the green jobs policymakers are so adamant about creating. But don’t worry, because the architects of the bill built in unemployment insurance; too bad it will only help 1.5% of those losing their jobs from the bill.