When Republicans took back control of the House in 2010 they were able to push back the default ban on incandescent light bulbs, but it was too little too late. Soon you won’t be able to buy them.
The free market operates by offering incentives to consumers to change their behavior. Cutting prices, advertising and developing new products redirect the public’s impulses in a natural, painless way. The government, on the other hand, has no passion or patience for this sort of thing.
Words like “must,” “shall,” and “mandate” pepper the texts of laws like Obamacare. The incandescent light-bulb ban, which goes into effect in March, is another case in point. The bulbs aren’t officially banned, just artificially obsolete. As part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Congress mandated that light bulbs have 25 percent greater efficiency, phased in starting in 2012 and continuing until 2014. The law also includes a slew of mandates on appliances and energy use in federal buildings.
A 310-page masterpiece of micromanagement, the law was promoted heavily by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Democrat, and signed by President George W. Bush. The bill was driven by a consortium of manufacturers that stand to profit from forcing people to buy more expensive bulbs and fixtures, plus the environmental lobby, which likes to pretend government regulations can lower the planet’s temperature.
Alarmed at the prospect of being forced by law to purchase expensive, squiggly compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs instead of cheap, warm incandescent bulbs, Americans complained loudly. In the face of a popular revolt, Congress pushed the start date back to October 2012 and defunded enforcement of efficiency standards as part of the 2012 and 2013 appropriations bills.
However, seeing the writing on the wall, manufacturers began phasing out incandescents. The last major General Electric factory that made them closed in Winchester, Va., in September 2010, putting 200 people out of work. One hundred-watt bulbs are already gone in some stores. (Read More)
This is just a small example of what happens when we elect buffoons who think they know better than us, or the free market, or the Founders.
Renowned lighting designer Howard Brandston, a retired Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute adjunct professor associated with RPI’s Lighting Research Center, is leading a crusade to save the incandescent light bulb.
From his farmhouse in the Columbia County hamlet of Hollowville, Brandston is almost singlehandedly trying to preserve Thomas Edison’s iconic invention so it is not relegated to the dustbin of history.
Brandston calls it a misguided energy conservation effort by the federal government to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with compact fluorescent lamps, known as CFLs.
He said CFLs are far more expensive, their energy savings is insignificant and they pose potential health and environmental problems because they contain mercury, a toxic heavy metal.
“The New York Times called me the Paul Revere of this cause, but I still feel like Don Quixote,” Brandston said. He has launched a Save the Bulb campaign on his website, testified against CFLs before the U.S. Energy Committee last year and encourages consumers to join the fight by writing letters to members of Congress and hoarding incandescent light bulbs.
“Edison created a time-tested light bulb that is still the best option for its price,” Brandston said. “Consumer choice is an all-American right. The government has created a light bulb cartel, has crammed the CFL down our throats and the citizens have no antitrust protection.”
Here comes the science.
Ever the professor, Brandston offered an experiment for a reporter and photographer set up in his garage that involved diagnostic testing equipment, including a spectrometer hooked up to a laptop computer. The tests confirmed that the light spectrum of the incandescent light bulb was full and complete and resembled natural daylight. By comparison, the thin, gap-filled light spectrum of the CFL did not come close to natural daylight.
“That’s a 50-cent bulb, an Edison bulb, and it’s beautiful,” Brandston said of the incandescent. “Now, look at the CFL. It costs nearly 10 times as much and it’s incomplete, dull and flat.”
All the government has done with their banishment of the evil incandescent bulbs is to prove that they are the dim bulbs. The fact is, and this is one the Left will never acknowledge, is that the market will do a better job deciding than any government mandate. The fact is the American people are not fools, Congress on the other hand…….
The details are murky, but it appears that our incandescent light bulbs are safe for another year. The House and Senate agreed late last night on a $1 trillion dollar omnibus spending bill to avert a government shutdown. And it includes a House-Republican-backed provision suspending implementation of the incandescent light bulb ban!
The legislation, which would avert a government shutdown, prevents funding from being used for the implementation of certain Energy Department light bulb standards. The standards would begin phasing in next year.
Hopefully, we will soon have some common sense Republicans in the Senate majority, and a real president, who has actually read the Constitution in the Oval Office, so that Americans are safer from the Nanny Staters.
As an aside, let us all applaud Chris Wysocki for smacking down a light-bulb banning hypocrite on Twitter! Well played sir!
An alert Twitter follower pointed me at a recent op-ed by GOP Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan entitled “Obama’s Regulatory Burden.”In it he excoriates the Obama Administration for regulatory over-reach with regard to electricity markets and generation.
And I said to myself, “Self, isn’t this the same Fred Upton who enacted the incandescent light bulb ban?”
Ah, yes, another politician who cannot stay consistent for anything. But Chris reminds Upton that bloggers are smarter than politicians
Aha, the new message on the Left will be, Rick perry cannot possibly win, since he is a Texan! Pathetic, and totally predictable. The fact is this. Perry scares the Holy hell out of Liberals because he,, unlike Obama, knows how to create jobs and grow the economy. In other words Perry will destroy Obama in 2012, so the media has to try and hamstring him early.
The measure, sent to Gov. Rick Perry for consideration [he subsequently signed it], lets any incandescent light bulb manufactured in Texas – and sold in that state – avoid the authority of the federal government or the repeal of the 2007 energy independence act that starts phasing out some incandescent light bulbs next year.
Texas wasn’t the first state to explore this kind of legislation: South Carolina has advanced a similar bill and, last year, the Arizona legislature passed a bill to the same effect — but Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed it.
Few issues illuminate the consumer will to choose — and the disparate faith in consumers of liberals and conservatives, as revealed by proposed policies — as clearly as the federal government’s light bulb ban. As Heritage Foundation energy analyst Nick Lorisputs it, “Consumers can make intelligent decisions on their own without the government forcing choices upon them.”
Perry trusts people to make their own choices, Obama, well, he trusts only the government.
My home state of Texas has to pass a law protecting our right to buy the light bulbs we choose
Texans have revived their independent streak and passed HR 2510. Thebill returns commonsense to the world of light bulbs, despite establishment opposition.
The bill allows incandescent light bulbs made in Texas to be sold within the state, working around President George W. Bush’s 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. The 2007 act would prevent the manufacture and sale of traditional 100 watt incandescent bulbs because they do not meet the new efficiency standards. HB 2510 reestablishes Texans’ rights to manufacture traditional light bulbs and sell them within the state of Texas. The bill stipulates that the light bulbs must have “Made in Texas” clearly stamped onto them, and requires the Lone Star State’s Attorney General to defend a Texan if he is prosecuted by the federal government for a supposed infraction of the Intestate Commerce Clause.
Texas, by passing HB 2510, is upholding its citizens’ Constitutional rights. The federal government lacks the authority to apply the Energy Security and Independence bill’s efficiency regulations to light bulbs made and sold exclusively in Texas, as they do not cross state lines and therefore cannot be regulated through the interstate commerce clause. The Constitution has not given the federal government the right to regulate light bulbs made and sold within Texas, so according to the 10th Amendment, it cannot legally do so. The 9th Amendment further strengthens the bill because although the right to make and sell light bulbs in Texas is not specifically in the Constitution, the United States government does not have the right to prevent it.
What would our Founders say? What would their reaction to this be? I would imagine they would be aghast that we have fallen so far from our principles as a nation. We are losing our libertiesleft and right