Does a “gasoline-powered alarm clock” qualify for the EnergyStar label, the government stamp of approval for an energy-saving product?
In a nine-month study, four fictitious companies invented by the accountability office also sought EnergyStar status for some conventional devices like dehumidifiers and heat pump models that existed only on paper. The fake companies submitted data indicating that the models consumed 20 percent less energy than even the most efficient ones on the market. Yet those applications were mostly approved without a challenge or even questions, the report said.
Auditors concluded that the EnergyStar program was highly vulnerable to fraud. – NYTimes
My favorite – pictured – is an “air room cleaner,” which turns out to be an ordinary space heater with fly strips and a feather duster attached.
This is your government’s expertise on display, bestowing its solemn blessing on non-existent products, submitted by non-existent companies, based on non-existent data. Who’s in charge here? Did some Federal factotum actually look at that photo and not immediately see he was having his chain pulled? If so, that’s who I want to review my tax filing.
It gets worse. To obtain EnergyStar status, all that manufacturers of such big-ticket items as air conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators, etc. have to do is check a box on a form to get certified. No independent study is required. Then these same products, carrying the EnergyStar logo, command a higher retail price on the grounds that consumers will save money over time for the life of the energy-efficient product.
And in another twist on the scam, Senator Susan Collins of Maine noted that “the recent economic stimulus bill included hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for people who buy EnergyStar products and that many government agencies were required to choose EnergyStar products if they were available.” So taxpayers are cheated twice, on both ends of the deal.
Can you read a story like this and not wonder about the government’s capacity to regulate financial institutions and health care? If these bozos see a picture of a space heater wearing a feather duster and can’t spot the joke, what CAN they do besides cash a paycheck?
Don’t worry. It’s only money. Your money.