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Di Leo: A Burning Hot Agenda in a Chilly Economy



By John F. Di Leo - Thermostat clip art

Reflections as Joe Biden takes on the furnace manufacturers…

Regulator-in-Chief Joe Biden's latest demands on the manufacturing community include attacking the makers of furnaces and other household heating appliances for using too much energy (which is only so expensive because of their policies), and for producing too much carbon dioxide (you know, the stuff we all exhale every day of their lives, without ill effect). The Biden-Harris regime is therefore "proposing" new efficiency standards for manufacturers and distributors of such appliances, requiring the use of much more expensive manufacturing and operating processes.

If we had a divided government, with either the House or Senate in Republican hands, there might be some chance of slowing or halting such costly, foolish regulations, but with Biden, Harris, Schumer, and Pelosi all drinking from the same pitcher of Kool-Aid, once these plots are proposed, they usually go into effect a few months later, remaining on the books, causing costly problems in the marketplace for years and years, until some future administration can dial them back.

What do such regulations do? Objectively speaking, assuming the technology required is achievable and not some fantasy, they require all manufacturers across an industry to redesign all or most of their products, and obsolete and dispose of their existing stock. Obviously. But what does that really mean?

A product redesign means a companywide effort to change the components and assembly of each unit. Product by product, each company's engineering, purchasing, quality, and production departments must experiment with alternate materials, alternate components, alternate processes, and alternate vendors. This comes at a great cost.

Once the new design is achieved – this alternate design, never requested by the consumer, but one that makes Joe Biden and his micromanaging bureaucrat allies happy – the company must find a way to somehow order those new components (from a vendor base that must now develop these new parts for them), and must then retool or re-organize their manufacturing plants to incorporate these changes into their assembly lines.

Quality, distribution, and marketing must then manage the profusion of new product SKUs that they now have to keep straight. They have to find a customer base to accept the existing stock of the old version, and work on release plans to introduce the new version into their customer network. Legal and warranty departments must sort out a plan for coverage of all these now-obsoleted products, working with purchasing and distribution on a plan to stock the massive numbers of "old" parts for future repair needs, potentially as much as doubling the stock of necessary replacement parts for a decade.

This is an incredibly costly process. If done for a good reason, it may be necessary… but even then, it is still an incredibly costly process. There is simply no way to make such changes easy, cheap, or painless.

Furnaces, water heaters, and similar household appliances are typically manufactured here in the United States, because their size and relative cost makes importation unattractive. The burden of all these new regulations will therefore fall primarily on American manufacturers.

Read that sentence again, another way. The burden of these new regulations will therefore fall primarily on American employees, American factories, American distributors, American stockholders in American companies.

After months of denial, the Biden-Harris regime is finally just beginning to acknowledge the economic calamities that surround us. They don’t acknowledge how bad unemployment is, but they acknowledge that it exists. They don’t acknowledge how bad inflation is, but they acknowledge that it exists. They don’t acknowledge how incredibly costly energy has become under their policies, but they are at least finally acknowledging that energy costs have risen.

And in this environment, the Biden-Harris regime has decided to turn yet another entire industry upside down.

The American economy is in freefall, primarily because of the policies of the current regime and the current Congress. This is no time for more unforced errors, but still, they don’t stop, do they?

Let's think back on the job of our national, "federal" government. The Founding Fathers didn’t precisely anticipate the modern supply chain, the modern energy industry, the modern assembly line. But they didn’t need to.

The Founding Fathers were fully aware of the fact that supply chains change over the years. Alexander Hamilton was an import export clerk in the Caribbean in his youth…. John Hancock operated merchant ships in the North Atlantic.

Similarly, while the Founding Era pre-dated the industrial age boom of the 19th century, many of our Founding Fathers were involved in manufacturing and knew how manufacturing changed as well. George Washington’s plantation manufactured steel fasteners and clothing. Ben Franklin invented bifocal eyeglasses and the Franklin stove. Paul Revere made copper sheathing for cargo ships.

So, the Founding Fathers did understand that the free market will always be a changing panoply of products, vendors, manufacturing methods, transportation networks, and sales systems.

Even without reading Adam Smith’s classic (published the same year as our Declaration of Independence), our Founding Fathers knew that the Invisible Hand of the marketplace would always be an infinitely better manager of these changes than any governmental rule or regulation.

And so it was that the Founding Fathers gave us a government that left the market alone to handle these matters. They wrote a Constitution, and designed a framework, in which government would not meddle in any of these areas.

The limited government approach of the American system simply did not, and legally still does not, allow federal bureaucrats to take an industry and turn it upside down on a whim.

Looking at it from a jaded perspective, it may hardly seem to matter. American manufacturing is suffering anyway; what’s one more industry stabbed in the back by its thoughtless government?

But looking at it another way, with an eye to history, and an eye to the Constitution that they all swore to uphold, this does matter, and it is in fact a perfect example of the key problem we suffer from today:

A thoughtless government, regulating by whim, without regard for the workers, communities, and investors who depend on the industries that this government attacks with abandon on a daily basis.

This continual illegal assault on the American economy must be stopped.

2022 is an election year. If everyone who has been stabbed in the back by this regime can only take off their blinders and realize how severely they have been wronged, the results will be unanimous.

But, unfortunately, that is a big if.

Copyright 2022 John F Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer and transportation manager, writer and actor. A one-time county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party, he has been writing regularly for Illinois Review since 2009.

 A collection of John’s Illinois Review articles about vote fraud, The Tales of Little Pavel, and his 2021 political satires about current events, Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes One and Two, are available, in either paperback or eBook, only on Amazon.

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  1. Over-regulation has been the hallmark of Democratic administrations since the Clinton Administration, but it became exponentially worse under Obama and even worse under Biden. Biden’s war on energy is making it ore difficult for Americans, especially those in the lowest income brackets to pay for natural gas and electricity. Food inflation is making it difficult for those same people to put food on their table, that is if they can find it in sparse grocery store shelves. Biden also said he favors California’s AB5 law that put millions of gig workers and freelance workers out of work.

  2. Congress is infamous for making vaguely worded laws, then turning them over to un-elected bureaucrats to interpret them as THEY see fit, then to regulate and enforce them.
    That’s how elected congressmen and senators escape responsibility for their own actions.

  3. Which is why the upcoming SCOTUS decision on West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is so important for those of us who oppose unelected, incompetent bureaucrats making laws