Joe Biden has signed an executive order giving farmers the right to repair their own tractors.
This is something that always seems to founder the rocks of the McConnell reef, and it is good policy, the right of people to what they own should be sacrosanct, and it shows the farmers, and the independent repair shops who serve those farmers, that it’s not all talk.
Tractors, with John Deere being a particularly egregious c%$# about it, have increasingly been locking farmers out of their own equipment, to the degree that older tractors actually have a higher resale value than newer models.
President Joe Biden will direct the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to draft new rules aimed at stopping manufacturers from limiting consumers’ ability to repair products at independent shops or on their own, a person familiar with the plan said.
While the agency will ultimately decide the size and scope of the order, the presidential right-to-repair directive is expected to mention mobile phone manufacturers and Department of Defense contractors as possible areas for regulation. Tech companies including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have imposed limits on who can repair broken consumer electronics like game consoles and mobile phones, which consumer advocates say increases repair costs.
The order is also expected to benefit farmers, who face expensive repair costs from tractor manufacturers who use proprietary repair tools, software, and diagnostics to prevent third-parties from working on the equipment, according to the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the action ahead of its official announcement.
The Biden Administration effort comes as the European Commission has also announced plans for new right-to-repair rules that would govern smart phones, tablets, and laptops. Environmental activists have said that restrictions on repairs encourage waste by making consumers more likely to throw out damaged items because of the high cost of repair.
But tech companies and manufacturers have warned that opening access to underlying software and services could endanger Americans, from improperly installed batteries on tech devices to modifications on tractors and other heavy equipment that could bypass environmental and safety systems.
By, “Endanger Americans,” the tech and agricultural equipment companies mean, “Endanger our monopoly rents.”
Now get to work on laws that prevent manufacturers from doing this, though one would think that the anti tie-in sales provisions of the Magnuson—Moss Warranty Act should already cover this.