Washington Post: Light Bulb Ban Is “Impressive”

by David Bier on July 14, 2011

in Blog

Post image for Washington Post: Light Bulb Ban Is “Impressive”

Few laws epitomize the belief that government should micromanage the daily affairs of Americans more completely than Congress’ ban on incandescent light bulbs.  It’s an intrusion into the most mundane aspect of our lives.  It violates the rights of both consumers and producers.   It forces Americans to buy a hazardous, mercury-laden alternative.  It sets a precedent under which almost anything in our lives can be controlled by bureaucrats.  Given one word for such an outrageous policy, what would you choose?

“Impressive,” says the Washington Post in an editorial released Wednesday.  “[It’s] an easy way to save energy,” the article continues.  “All Congress has done is set a national standard for how much power it takes to produce a certain amount of light. And there’s good reason to demand improved efficiency; about 90 percent of the energy that traditional incandescent bulbs use is given off as heat, not light.”

Consumers do demand efficiency, which is why light bulbs have improved so dramatically since the days of Edison.  The belief that government can simply mandate improved efficiency, however, is just fanciful.  Consumers know what is best for them, and they weigh their options accordingly.  No consumer thinks, “How much electricity can I waste?”  As long as consumers pay their own bills, they have incentives to save energy.

With huge profits to be had from more expensive alternatives to traditional incandescent light bulbs, it’s no surprise that companies like GE and Philips produce reports like the one quoted by the Post claiming huge consumer benefits from the policy. Consumers should be suspicious of such self-serving conclusions. After California utilities poured $550 million into CFLs, their benefits turned out to be wildly overblown—actually 73% less than those projected.  Americans are actually capable of thinking long-term without government help.

Even if the electricity savings were there, that would not excuse government mandates.  Consumers value things other than efficiency.  Many consumers prefer the more natural yellow light of the Edison bulb to CFLs’ “soft white light” that the Post extols.  Others would rather not have to deal with the lengthy EPA cleanup process for broken mercury-filled CFLs.   Others simply want to spend less (a lot less) on light bulbs.

The heavy hand of government is rarely defended or even discussed.  The Post calls the ban a “nudge to produce better.”  Never mind that the “nudge” comes with $50,000 fines.  Never mind that the “nudge “forces higher prices on Americans already struggling with a recession. Never mind the nudge violates our basic liberties. The regulatory “nudges” so readily embraced by the Post are nudging America’s economy off a cliff—it’s time voters nudge back.

John Hamann July 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Welcome to the United Socialist Republic of America where the old out-of-date U.S. Constitution has been religated to museum status. Where Christianity and freedom have been dissavowed by those that are more knowledgeable than the mere average citizen and know best what is good for us.

Amy Ridenour July 14, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Any self-respecting person would be embarassed to work at the Post, which in the article discussed here publicly claimed GE, Sylvania and Phillips lobbied for bulb restrictions in order to “nudge” someone to do more R&D. And who were they supposedly “nudging”? Themselves? Yep.

Plausible, no.

Try again for a theory, Posties.

NiiKFromNYC July 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm


Now moot is the gun barrel enforced religious symbolic act of mercurially sacrificing Edison bulbs while churningly turning remaining pristine winded hills and mountains and oceans too into power line and access path befouled support networks for monstrous bird-chopping industrial towers, shadow-casting bat lung blasting icons of the Church of Climatology, the swinging knives of The Green Bank Authority.

The stolen armor of science falls down before it, yet inertia of the fall itself of this giant of hypocrisy now carries a power grab along, re-energizing it in crucial moment, impossibly, birthing already tooth and claw clad green babes. Up until one century ago there lived, in the Zi Duang province of eastern country, a glass-like spider. Having devoured its prey it would drape the skeletons over its web, creating a macabre shrine of remains. Its web was also unique in that it had many layers, like floors of a building. At the top of this palace-like place, assembled with almost apparent care, were tiny shining objects, glass, beads, dew-drops. One could almost call it an altar. When the breeze blew thru this construction, it produced sounds of wailing, crying.

Tiny wails, tiny cries.

The baby spiders would get scared and search frantically for their mother. But the Glass Spider would have long gone, having known that the babies would survive somehow on their own.

Now that the fast track light bulb ban has garnered fleeted attention, it’s up for normal track vote, likely tomorrow, one that needs only majority instead of super majority support, attached to another bill, in the usual way. Here is a site for you that automatically determines who your representative is and allows you send an e-mail to them, specifically about the sacrifice of greatness to the false gods of falsified science:


It’s not likely to pass easily into Mr. Bill Becomes A Law, but this will make the GINO (“Green In Name Only”) Demagogues now adopt the prematurely birthed Bush Jr. bulb ban, after Climagegate and a dozen IPCCgates have revealed that all was not right in the state of Denmark, centered around Copenhagen, wherein Man deemed fit to control the weather.

We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget.



Version: 2.6


RankineCycle July 15, 2011 at 8:32 am

I don’t like any kind of micromanaging of people’s lives, but I do have a problem with the statement: “Consumers know what is best for them”

Certainly not the case, especially when it comes to the use of something as ethereal as energy. Unfortunately, consumers will believe urban legends, newspaper op-eds, radio entertainment, and infomercials before they will take heed to factual information. Engineering jargon about watts, lumens, color temperature, milligrams of mercury, and coal-fired electricity mercury emission rates never seems to hit home as good as Rush and Glenn telling horror stories about goulish, flickering light and hazmat crews to clean up broken fluorescent lamps.

Gas-discharge lighting has been proven and used for years in industry, with 75% lower electricity consumption per unit of light output compared with incandescent. Unfortunately the public hasn’t the intelligence (as illustrated by Rush and Glenn’s horror stories) to properly use it in their homes, even with a wild selection of cheap screw-in lamps.

peterdub July 15, 2011 at 9:07 am

How many politicians or bureaucrats should it take to change a light bulb?
How many citizens should be allowed to choose?
Updates on the 7 US state repeal bills http://ceolas.net
(legislated Texas June 17th) and on the Canadian Government’s 2014 delay plans

pjoe July 15, 2011 at 9:09 am

Updates on the 7 US state repeal bills on Ceolas.net
(legislated Texas June 17th) and on the Canadian Government’s 2014 delay plans

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