Monday, July 11, 2011

Some Members of Congress Are Finally Seeing the Light

Those in government who think they know what's good for everyone else have gotten away with a lot of silly things in recent years, and one of the silliest has been the effort to ban the manufacture of incandescent light bulbs, especially when a safe and cost-effective alternative has yet to be manufactured.

Leave it to a Texan, Joe Barton, to try to steer the nation onto a more sensible path. As Pajamas Media's Peter Roff reports in a column today,
On Wednesday, Texas Republican Joe Barton introduced legislation in the House to repeal the ban.

Barton’s bill, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, protects America’s access to the light bulbs of their choice rather than forcing them to purchase CFLs and LEDs by engineering distortions in the marketplace.

“Light bulb efficiency standards,” Barton’s office said, “could carry negative unintended consequences. For example, some mandates could only be met with bulbs that contain dangerous mercury. Rather than having the government limit light bulb options or appear to favor one type of bulb over others, the market should allow consumers to decide on the cost, type, and efficiency of the lighting that works best for them.”

There is considerable sentiment in support of Barton’s view, which is shared by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan and most if not all of the House Republican leadership.

Simply put, the mandate won’t work — and may create more problems and be more costly than leaving things well enough alone.
And here's the money quote, from former Federal Trade Commission head Orson Swindle:
The creativity of the private sector has brought us a long way from the days of darkness, kerosene lanterns and candles. Thank you, Thomas Edison. Now the government, despite failure after failure over the decades of government efforts to run the economy, decides to mandate to all consumers that the remarkable incandescent light bulb is no longer to be used. The “government light bulb,” like the government energy programs (anti-petroleum) and the government healthcare system, will be far more costly. In addition, reports are still coming in on the rather dangerous fire hazard qualities of the government bulb. Obviously, those responsible for this new government initiative are not the brightest bulbs in the box.
It seems like a lot of government actions come from these dim bulbs, doesn't it? And there's little doubt that those behind the bulb initiative acted before they did a lot of their homework, didn't they?

I have CFL's in my house, and it appears that my reading light has gotten worse over the past few years (it's not the fault of my aging eyes--I swear!). They don't provide heat like incandescents (for those who live in colder climes than here or want to run a cheap popcorn popper or Easy-Bake Oven). They're more expensive than incandescents, and you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to dispose of one, especially if it breaks. And while I tried these things in an effort to be "green," I would, if given the choice, go back to incandescents in a heartbeat. I'm happy to see that Rep. Barton and others would like to give me that choice back.

(And if there's anyone reading this who actually likes CFL's better I'd love to hear from you in the comments.)

UPDATE: And the bill fails in the House. It's time to find out who voted against this and send 'em packing in the next election. Ridiculous...

1 comment:

halojones-fan said...

A broken CFL bulb is no more hazardous than a broken incandescent bulb. You'll be hurt far worse by glass shards than the tiny amount of mercury will manage.

That it's considered a HAZMAT site says more about the unbelievable stringency of the regulations than about the bulbs.