Congress is all set to pass a $1.1 trillion budget this week. The massive spending bill, which has already cleared the House and is likely to pass in the Senate, affects every federal agency there is. Yet in the midst of a trillion-dollar omnibus law that reaches into every aspect of our government, there is controversy. And over what enormous issue might such controversy exist, you might ask?
Does an EnergyStar label change your perception of a product? Maybe it shouldn’t. Last year, an audit showed that Energy Star gave its rating to products that misrepresented their energy usage. This time, auditors posed as companies and submitted completely absurd appliances for EnergyStar ratings, like a gasoline-powered alarm clock the size of a portable generator, and a space heater with a feather duster on top claiming to be an “air purifier.” Is the study meaningless because no actual products were sold, or a warning that the program is sloppy and susceptible to fraud?