Appliance Regulations Are Bringing Back Dirt, Filth, and Disease

Published February 27, 2020

The more President Donald Trump does extemporaneous speeches at rallies, the better he gets at perfecting their sheer entertainment value. He has a fine sense of comedic timing, and he connects with people like a great entertainer. He speaks about regular, unfunny, problems people confront in their lives, in the comedic way the show Seinfeld did.

Unfunny Appliance Standards

Trump’s latest target of dark humor—and it gets funnier each time—concerns how government regulations have wrecked our home appliances and bathroom experiences. This is a serious matter that fundamentally threatens the quality of our lives and health.

Lights aren’t bright. Toilets don’t flush. There is precious little water coming out of faucets. The dishwasher doesn’t clean dishes. Clothes washers use as little water as possible, so clothing comes out dirty. Our showers are unsatisfying because the flow is artificially restricted. The water pressure in our homes is so awful the pipes get full of lime and muck, forcing people to call a plumber. The hot water heater only warms the water to a temperature that delights bacteria and fungi. Blech!

We keep having to replace appliances because warm, slow-moving water breaks down, rather than cleans, the operations of our drains and toilet tanks.

Many households have to work hard to fight the stink. Whole cities have dealt with sewer problems because not enough water flows through to keep the place clean.

It’s a huge mess!

‘Dirt, Filth, and Disease’

The nation that perfected indoor plumbing and emancipated women from household toil has forced a reversion to a time when we had to handwash everything, keep basins for washing hands, and slog to the outhouse. This is not hyperbole: the pro-misery crowd has turned against all flushing in favor of composting toilets.

We thought the bad old days of dirt, filth, and disease were gone forever, but now they’re coming back, gradually, regulation by regulation.

Trump is right to note this all traces to preposterous government regulations designed to save water and energy that end up using more of both.

Trump’s comments concerning appliance standards connect with people because we all know they’re true. We’ve all experienced and paid for the problems they cause. He’s just the first big-time U.S. public figure to discuss it openly.

Topic Off-Limits

What is most fascinating to me is how Trump intuits he’s crossing a line in talking about this subject, even though he clearly enjoys it. He points out the elite media say he shouldn’t be doing this. He says he can’t, for example, talk about harmful appliance standards in his State of the Union address.

Clearly it is on his mind. He loves good reviews, which means he has to be “presidential” and speak to a big vision of the place of America in history and the world order and so on.

I would like to suggest that we have this all wrong. The State of the Union should be about the quality of life of the American people. The mandated changes in water and energy use have dramatically diminished the quality of life in every home and business in this country. It has affected appliances and plumbing fixtures essential to our daily lives.

That is why a genuine State of the Union should address the regulations that affect our dishwashers, hot-water heaters, light bulbs, refrigerators, washing machines, water pressure, and, yes, even toilets.

Cold, Dirty, Embarrassed

For goodness’ sake, this is a generation forced to supply every single bathroom with a ready-to-use plunger, lest house guests find themselves in the mortifying position of having to ask for one. This is a generation that buys vast numbers of laundry products simply to make clothes look as clean as all clothes looked 20 years ago. We keep buying dishwashers, and they grind away for hours and hours but never quite get the dishes clean, much less free of spots.

That we can’t even get a hot bath anymore should cause every American to curse every bureaucrat involved in forcing manufacturers to ship hot-water heaters that only heat to a tepid 110 degrees.

‘Condemned by Government Agencies’

We should not be condemned by government agencies to have dirty clothes, dirty dishes, tepid baths, pathetic flow in our sinks and showers, and filthy toilets that have to be plunged and plunged until we have to replace the tank’s gears because not enough water flows through them to keep them clean and functioning.

This whole thing is outrageous!

Trump knows well from the cheers he gets from the crowds how well this topic connects with people. He knows he has tapped into a hugely important dimension of life in America today. He complains that he can’t even get a good shampoo. He is right. This is true for 300 million others, as well.

Let Trump act on these issues and act now. He could work for a repeal of all the restrictions that are wrecking our lives. Government controls have spread vast misery. This misery can come to an end.

Then manufacturers at home and abroad can get busy making new, effective, and efficient dishwashers, light bulbs, showerheads, toilets, washing machines, and everything else.

American consumers will be happy to shell out for clear, warm light, a good shower, and an effective flush.

Jeffrey Tucker ([email protected]) is the founder of