Incoming President Donald Trump thwarted a last-minute attempt by the Obama administration to place a new restriction on an obscure consumer product: swimming pool pumps.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a rule on January 18, two days before President Trump officially took office, requiring manufacturers to reduce consumer pool pumps’ energy consumption, starting in 2021.
On January 20, Trump issued a presidential memorandum calling for a freeze on new federal regulations and for regulations undergoing public review to be delayed to face additional scrutiny.
The presidential memorandum delays the regulation’s enactment indefinitely.
Bureaucrats Know Best?
H. Sterling Burnett, a research fellow at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Budget & Tax News, says the pool-filter rule demonstrates government bureaucrats’ belief they always know what’s best for everybody.
“The federal government has not developed products for commercial sale on the market in a competitive marketplace and has never had to make a profit, yet here it is telling companies that have to make a profit every day what their products have to do,” Burnett said.
“Government researchers, scientists, and bureaucrats are sitting there going, ‘Oh, we think pumps can do this.’ Then they set a rule, but they’re not the engineers,” Burnett said. “They’re not manufacturers. They set the rules and don’t ask manufacturers whether they’re feasible, realistic, or really wanted or not. The manufacturers have to comply, and the consumers pay the cost.”
No Effect on Climate
William Yeatman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says the government should get out of the business of designing consumer products.
“When the government dictates product design on behalf of companies and you begin the pursuit of dictating what consumers must buy, it’s not an outlandish thing to say, ‘When the government dictates product design, it tends to be crummy.’ So, you know they’re basically telling the company, ‘Hey, don’t design it the way consumers want it.'”
Yeatman says the rule’s publishing date would have made its prospects for final enactment unlikely, even without Trump’s memorandum.
“This is a climate measure, and it is part of former President Obama’s second term and his attempt to achieve a legacy based on climate policies,” Yeatman said. “That makes it tenuous.”