Sunday, December 18, 2011

Globular Objects

The Light Bulb Cops

The budgetary gridlock in Washington in the final legislative days before Christmas took on a farcical atmosphere when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to move a government-funding bill because, among several other features he objects to, it would overturn a de facto federal ban on incandescent light bulbs.

But late last night Mr. Reid and House Speaker John Boehner agreed to terms on the spending bill, and Republicans won on the light bulb issue. The ban is suspended for one year. The GOP also prevailed on its prohibition of funding for abortions in the District of Columbia, though most of their deregulatory policy directives were stripped from the legislation.

The fact that the light bulb ban even made the list of Mr. Reid's grievances indicates how captive Democrats are to the anti-carbon police. Fluorescent light bulbs are more energy efficient, and though they cost more they last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. But many consumers just haven't taken to the curly cue bulbs and prefer the older, cheaper kind. So Congress decided to take away the choice for consumers by requiring that all bulbs meet energy efficiency standards. This has meant that stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot have been clearing the shelves of the traditional bulbs.

The new "green" bulbs can cost as much as $40, which in these tough times is a financial pinch. It's also the height of global warming hysteria to think that letting a family screw a traditional light bulb into the bedroom lamp is going to melt the Arctic ice caps. For another year, at least, American consumers can still by the light bulbs they want. It was a rare victory for liberty on Capitol Hill.

-- Stephen Moore, The Wall Street Journal,  Political Diary, 12/16/2011

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