Back in February Obama started putting the heat on the Department of Energy to put into law tougher energy standards for appliances. Those standards would drive up the cost of appliances, but supposedly it would save us all money in the long run.
Now, with money appropriated in the “stimulus” spending spree, the federal government is running a “cash for clunkers” style rebate program for energy efficient appliances. Because there is no part of your life that these people don’t want to manipulate.
A $300 million cash-for-clunkers-type federal program to boost sales of energy-efficient home appliances provides a glimmer of hope for beleaguered makers of washing machines and dishwashers, but it’s probably not enough to lift companies such as Whirlpool (WHR) and Electrolux out of the worst down cycle in the sector’s history.
Beginning late this fall, the program authorizes rebates of $50 to $200 for purchases of high-efficiency household appliances. The money is part of the broader economic stimulus bill passed earlier this year. Program details will vary by state, and the Energy Dept. has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for states to file formal applications. The Energy Dept. expects the bulk of the $300 million to be awarded by the end of November.
Cash for clunkers went over budget, has been a bureaucratic nightmare and has accomplished the exact opposite goals as the proponents of the program intended. I don’t really expect this program to be any different.
What’s more, why is the federal government deficit spending on a program like this when it’s completely unnecessary? If these energy-efficient appliances were worth their salt we’d be buying them already. If they have to be subsidized by the federal government to be sold, then why are we subsidizing them at all?