Among the more puzzling cuts in the Trump administration budget proposal is the one that eliminates all funding for the popular — and cost-effective — Energy Star program, which awards its vaunted label to products and properties that utilize the most energy-efficient technologies.
The voluntary program is credited with saving consumers billions of dollars on their electricity bills, curbing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging companies to innovate. The plan to eliminate it reflects the substantial influence in the administration of a small group of advocates in free-market think tanks who argue that even the voluntary measure reflects too much government interference in industry.
But it turns out those think tanks are not the only organizations that have an interest in seeing the program disappear. Trump’s businesses do too. A report on CNN details how Trump’s buildings consistently receive low Energy Star ratings, which diminishes their value. If the program goes away, so does that business problem.
Conflict of interest? “You bet your life that it is,” Norman Ornstein, a political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute, told CNN. The Trump Organization and the White House did not respond to the network’s requests for comment.