published Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Small win against federal dictation

The humble incandescent light bulb became a symbol in recent years of overreaching federal government.

Today, Jan. 1, a federal law was supposed to take effect that would essentially begin phasing out traditional incandescent bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient -- but more expensive -- fluorescent bulbs.

We're completely in favor of people being able to buy the costlier bulbs if they wish, but it plainly wasn't federal business to mandate that.

Fortunately, recent legislation passed by Congress to pay for the continued functions of the federal government included a provision that postpones until at least October the imposition of the new light bulb rules.

That is a small victory for freedom and personal choice and a small defeat for big government.

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EaTn said...

Where are these same folks upset over the light bulb replacement, which is a true energy saving rule, when it comes to ethanol? If they're upset over the light bulb, they should be marching in the streets to protest this ridiculous law dictating that we convert our food farmlands into energy inefficient ethanol and shoot the price of food through the ceiling. The light bulb smoke-screen is another right-wing attempt to distract us away from real issues like ethanol.

January 1, 2012 at 6:29 a.m.
conservative said...

It should never have gotten this far.I recently found and purchased 14w cfls at Home Depot for a mere 50cent a piece( 4pack for 1.97$). With the cost of electricity, they will easily pay for themselves. But this should be MY choice and not a dictate from an all powerful federal government. This was Socialist thinking and should be a wakeup call to the control they want.

January 1, 2012 at 8:32 a.m.

Here's the reason why it's not going to be allowed to engage in interstate commerce for inefficient bulbs.

Because the electricity consumers buy is produced in ways that impact others who did not get to make a choice. As long as electricity comes from coal power plants, it will be poisoning the air for others.

It's the same reason a company can't produce a car without emission controls, or that doesn't meet mileage standards. Or safety standards. And this is not just a national problem, but an international one. Other countries are concerned about what we're doing to their air, just as we are concerned about what they're doing to ours. That's right, this isn't just the federal government acting on its own, but a result of a diplomatic discussion among a host of nations.

How else would you have that problem be solved? War? Phase-out of all fossil fuel power plants? Much as I might consider those solutions desirable, for various reasons they aren't preferable.

But they aren't stopping you from buying the bulbs, just the bulbs from being sold if they don't meet the efficiency targets. Why did they set an efficiency target? Because of the impact of the pollution from power production. Don't like that? Then give us a better price to switch over electrical production to something far cleaner.

And no, opinion-writer, a CFL or LED is not costlier than an incandescent bulb. Don't believe me? Try buying all the incandescent replacements you'd need at once, AND the electricity.

There's a reason why they print a savings indicator on the efficient bulbs...because it is true. And that's not including the reduced costs of pollution which is imposed on others.

I certainly hope the libertarians among us don't believe that outright fraud should be allowed in advertising.

January 1, 2012 at 10:34 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

I use a lot of the new bulbs, but, happy, were they over-advertized? They last forever--unless you turn them on and off. The first one I bought was less bright than the incandescents whose brightness it was supposed to equal (I think they've fixed that.)

And efficiency isn't the only consideration. My son has a good throwing arm; I might want to use something that doesn't threaten mercury contamination. A spiral won't support a lampshade, and is too big for some fixtures.

Government's job is to terrorize evildoers so the rest of us can peacefully do whatever goods we choose. Who are those guys to pick our light bulbs for us? (Or starve people to save the world with ethanol subsidies.) Jesus is libertarian.

January 1, 2012 at 1:50 p.m.

I've never had a problem with rapid switching, if anything you're going to wear out the switch sooner. And so you bought some dim bulbs...that has happened to me with incandescent bulbs too. It's why I make sure to keep my receipts till I've tried the bulb and been sure it's appropriate for the task.

If you're worried about your son breaking bulbs, you should worry more about the glass injury than the mercury. Which is a problem regardless. I'd suggest several options ranging from the impact-resistance plastic to rough-service bulbs, (which are one of those exemptions provided for with the law, in case you didn't know) depending on your circumstances. Not that they aren't engaged in reducing the mercury content, because well, they are. And unless you break the bulbs all day, you're still going to benefit though, since the pollution reduction covers it quite adequately, and not just mercury, but other hazards in coal production. Also, if you haven't noticed, they do make the CFL's and LED's in such a bulb-type formfactor, so if you really want to use a clip-style holder, you can easily with one of them. I wouldn't suggest that style of shade anyway, I've found that they come off when the light tips over and that has a fire risk to it, so you'd really want to avoid the hotter incandescent bulbs with them.

As for the government? Sometimes it's better to not terrorize people, but instead to just keep them from doing evil in the first place. Especially when it's not necessarily conscious evil, but simply inadvertent harm. I do believe Jesus preferred methods other than the scourge.

Also, they're the people we elected into office. Who consulted with engineers, accountants, and other scientists before acting, and compiled quite a few reports on the subject. If you wanted to testify about it to them, there were some public comment periods. If you simply disagree with the form of the government in place, then I suggest taking up that discussion in a forum dedicated to that broader subject.

I am not averse to reform, but it'd a much more involved discussion than would belong here.

January 1, 2012 at 7:26 p.m.
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