Monday, July 14, 2008

Shining a Big-Watt Incandescent Bulb on Congress

Cross-posted by Maggie at Maggie's Notebook

Were you enraged the day you heard that Congress had banned our beloved Edison light bulb? I was and still am. By 2012 our 100-watt bulbs will be history, with the demise of all incandescents, incrementally, by 2014.

The so-called energy bill was passed on December 18, 2007 - when everyone but Congress was getting on with plans for Winter Holiday, and I and quite a few of us, were planning for a Christmas celebration of the birth of Christ, which, by the way, is the only reason anyone gets to enjoy a holiday in Winter, around-about December 25th.

Who would be paying attention to Congress in mid-December? Who could even imagine that Congress would ban our light bulbs?

Selected snippets from The Goldwater Institute Center Constitutional Government:

How many congressmen does it take to change a light bulb? 400.

That's how many members of Congress recently voted for a bill which will force American consumers to change the 50-cent incandescent light bulbs they're currently using and replace them with expensive new, $3 "energy-efficient" light bulbs. As Shane Cory of the Libertarian Party sarcastically put it, "If you outlaw light bulbs, then only outlaws will have light bulbs."

Following the vote, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid said he thought the light bulb ban was an appropriate exercise of federal power. Interesting company he's keeping. Because when the bill was originally introduced by Rep. Jane Harman (D-Ca.) last March, CNS News reported that two other countries had already taken similar steps to eradicate inexpensive incandescent light bulbs from the planet: Fidel Castro's Cuba and Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.
Do you remember the 1992 energy bill, in which Congress banned the 3.5 gallon toilet, mandating that Americans no longer use more than 1.6 gallons per flush? Of course, per the immutable law of unintended consequences, 1.6 gallons turned out not to be enough to, er, get the job done. So folks found themselves flushing two and three times per visit, thus using the same amount of water, if not more, than they did before Congress butted into our bathrooms.
The late, great Sen. Barry Goldwater famously declared in the early 1960s he would "not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible." That sentiment has all but disappeared these days in the halls of Congress.
The Goldwater Institute also tells us that a federal ban on top-loading washing machines and disposable diapers is under "active consideration." Diaper rash ointments were once plentiful in every nursery. It may be time to seek them out again and buy stock - and think of all the hot water it takes to keep a baby in diapers!

Remember when bagging groceries in a paper bag was considered societal suicide because it takes some trees to make some paper bags? Today, the paper bag is back because its societally- correct substitute, the plastic bag, just lives on, and on, and on, and on in a land fill.

Chicago Bungalow shines a bright light on the bulb-ban and has thought this whole thing through and put it all in a post dated June 30, 2008. Honestly, today, when I came across Constitutionality of Light Bulb Ban Questioned, I got mad all over again...and then I realized that there is, perhaps, some good news here, as well as some very clever analyzation. Read this piece. You'll be glad you did.

See update to this article: Compact Florescent Nightmares
Concerning the extreme danger if these bulbs break in your home!!!

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  1. Excellent article Maggie! It inspired me to do an update to this article: "Compact Florescent Nightmares" at

    Concerning the extreme danger if these bulbs break in your home!!!

  2. Mandatory lowering of thermostats is next.