Shedding some Light on CFLs

Folks on the left can have an inability to see from the right perspective.

The Dallas Morning News attempts to shed some light on why some folks might not be thrilled with the feds demanding what kind of lighting we should use in our homes.

“It isn’t just about light bulbs,” Wilson added. “It’s the mindset that says the government is going to come in and arbitrarily ban something that every single person in the United States uses.”

The pushback stems from a provision in a 2007 law that set efficiency standards for light bulbs, essentially phasing out the typical incandescent bulb starting in 2012.

Proponents saw it as a simple way to save energy with more-efficient bulbs. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that if every American household swapped one ordinary incandescent bulb for a CFL, consumers would save $600 million a year.

Republicans did not try to aggressively sink the provision and it got little notice when passed, save for a spirited House speech by Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, in 2008. Poe decried the “EPA light bulb police” and suggested the law was unconstitutional.

The issue is resurgent, Poe said last week, because the phaseout is imminent, and the last incandescent bulb factory in the United States closed in September.

“It’s one of the many examples of an intrusive federal government [saying], ‘We know better how to take care of you than you do,’ ” he said.

The new CFL bulbs are not made in the USA, but in Communist Red China. The price we pay for these rules is that we are closing factories and filling the unemployment roles. While some believe that there are advantages to phasing out the incandescents, what is unreasonable is forcing our hands and taking the choices away from the consumer. Forcing us to close American factories to the benefit of the Red Chinese, might be in the Obamian socialist agenda, but is a blow against freedom of choice, and free economics.  Some people don’t seem to understand this reasoning.

I guess I could start with this bit from Politifact that shows that at best (and as usual) these guys are being casual with the facts. Beyond that, I can only marvel at the mindset that there’s something sinister about the government providing incentives for socially beneficial behavior, and mandating (however slowly) the obsolescence of a technology that needs to be replaced. Basically, it all comes down to the idea that there’s no such thing as an externality. I just don’t get it.

The facts that Kuffner  believes that they are being loose with  are the costs of the bulbs vs the energy savings, but these figures change almost daily and are irrelevant. The real issue with conservatives and libertarians is that the banning of the lamps is another, albeit tiny, blow on our freedom of choice.  Let the free market decide. Let us decide on our own.  We don’t want our government deciding which technologies should be driven to extinction. 

Personally I am aggressive about using  available alternate lighting. Unfortunately I’ve found CFLs pretty much unsuitable. Our incandescent lighting is mostly limited to closet spaces and appliances.  We use a Lots of LED and  fluorescent lighting,  I have only found one place suitable for those CFLs and thats on my Garage door opener.  We have dimmable flood lights for my back yard.  There is no suitable alternate lighting for these guys.  The CFL replacements are simply not workable.  Make them illegal and some entrepreneurs will start smuggling them from across our porous borders.  That’s what we are forced into if we now want a new functional toilet.  Soon the Mexican drug lords may have a new product to distribute.

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