Wednesday, June 08, 2011

If choice is so great, how about choosing our own light bulbs

In yet another example about how liberals talk a good game about freedom of choice, but really support the government making all sorts of choices for our own good. The perfect example of this is the bipartisan law that will make it illegal to sell an incandescent light bulb by January 1, 2012. So we have only about seven months left of freedom of choice in our light bulbs. The government seems to know what is better for us.
The greens and the Obama Administration assert that the new light bulbs are good for the lumpen bourgeoisie because they will cut electricity use and save the average household $50 a year. Mr. Obama's Energy Department told Congress recently that to repeal the ban would "detrimentally affect the nation's economy, energy security, and environmental imperatives." Yes, and cause the seas to rise to swamp Miami and New York too.

This is maddening to millions of Americans who like incandescent bulbs. Some families are engaging in civil disobedience by stockpiling years of bulb supplies in their basements. Many find the fluorescent lights depressing because they are not as bright or complain that they can induce headaches. Sometimes the new bulbs don't fit into the ceiling or look good in chandelier fixtures, and they cost more at the store, though they last much longer.

Fluorescent lights also carry their own environmental risks because they contain small amounts of mercury and other toxic materials. The EPA website contains three pages of consumer directions about what to do if you break a CFL bulb in your home: "Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more. Shut off the central heating and air conditioning system. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with a metal lid.''
How many people are going to go to all that effort when they drop a bulb? They're either not going to know what to do or they're just going to ignore the recommendations.

How about letting people choose? If fluorescent light bulbs are so darn wonderful, than let people choose them. There is a bill in Congress, the "Bulb Act," to repeal the 2007 law. This could be a real winner for Republicans. They should get behind the bill.
In classic doublespeak, the Department of Energy explains that outlawing incandescent bulbs will "empower consumers with lighting choices." Unless your choice is to buy the light bulb the government doesn't like. If Republicans can't understand the appeal of sparing Americans from the light bulb police, what are they good for?
They should support the bill and carry the argument to the American people that we can be trusted to make our own light bulb decisions.