How the Federal Government Killed a Perfectly Good Washing Machine

I'm for the environment and all, but why are front-loading washing machines so dang expensive? Sam Kazman of The Wall Street Journal investigated and came up with the (usual) culprit: the government!

It might not have been the most stylish, but for decades the top-loading laundry machine was the most affordable and dependable. Now it's ruined—and Americans have politics to thank.

In 1996, top-loaders were pretty much the only type of washer around, and they were uniformly high quality. When Consumer Reports tested 18 models, 13 were "excellent" and five were "very good." By 2007, though, not one was excellent and seven out of 21 were "fair" or "poor." This month came the death knell: Consumer Reports simply dismissed all conventional top-loaders as "often mediocre or worse."

How's that for progress?

The culprit is the federal government's obsession with energy efficiency. Efficiency standards for washing machines aren't as well-known as those for light bulbs, which will effectively prohibit 100-watt incandescent bulbs next year. Nor are they the butt of jokes as low-flow toilets are. But in their quiet destruction of a highly affordable, perfectly satisfactory appliance, washer standards demonstrate the harmfulness of the ever-growing body of efficiency mandates.


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Alex, it's not whether or not I agree/disagree, it's this article has a clear agenda without making a well reasoned argument and I'm pretty sure you know that. It's not enlightening, informative, or neat. In fact it is corrosive to honest, well intentioned discussion. But keep defending it, it's good to know where the posters stand on things...
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I would say maybe you're buying cheap, crappy front loaders. My front loaders work beautifully. This article does seem to have a bias.
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The washing machines at my apartment complex were recently switched from top loaders to front loaders.

In general, the new washer does an adequate job of cleaning, though probably not as good as the top loader it replaced. It does not do nearly as good a job of rinsing the detergent out of the clothes, however. It also has had problems washing flannel bedsheets, because they became wadded up and triggered the unbalanced load cutoff. I wound up having to wring the sheets out by hand, which was a huge pain.
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How dare Neatorama links to liberal/conservative article that is obviously wrong because it's different from my point of view. Because it's unscientific left/right wing propaganda, it can't possibly be right/have any merit whatsoever.

Neatorama is obviously a liberal/conservative mouthpiece!
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