December 20, 2007, - 1:10 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
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How many politicians does it take to screw up a light bulb?
After all the rightful conservative opposition to the green and global warming crowd, you’d think George W. Bush who claimed to be a “compassionate conservative” would be both conservative and compasssionate on those of us who don’t want to pay more for ugly, substandard enviro-friendly lightbulbs. But you’d be wrong.
He’s making us buy the bad Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs. I hate these bulbs because 1) they’re ugly; 2) the light they give off is dim and substandard to that of traditional, standard light bulbs; and 3) you have to wait a while after you turn on the lights for these bulbs to work.
But, Bush doesn’t care about that or the big government/anti-free market factor. Or that CFL bulbs cost much more. Some conservative. Some compassion. This article was on the front page of Monday’s USA Today, but I couldn’t get to it until now. It details how Bush and Congress are mandating the phase-out of regular light bulbs (and they tried to sneak it into law):
Turn out the lights on traditional incandescent bulbs.
A little-noticed provision of the energy bill, which is expected to become law, phases out the 125-year-old bulb in the next four to 12 years in favor of a new generation of energy-efficient lights that will cost consumers more but return their investment in a few months.
The new devices include current products such as compact fluorescents and halogens, as well as emerging products such as light-emitting diodes and energy-saving incandescent bulbs.
“This will get us in line with the rest of the advanced industrial world in moving toward more efficient lighting,” says Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., chairman of the Senate energy committee and author of the Senate measure requiring the tougher standards.
The energy bill passed the Senate last week and is expected to clear the House this week. President Bush has said he will sign it.
Under the measure, all light bulbs must use 25% to 30% less energy than today’s products by 2012 to 2014. The phase-in will start with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014. By 2020, bulbs must be 70% more efficient.
Compact fluorescent bulbs already meet the 70% efficiency standard. A compact fluorescent costs about $2, vs. about 50 cents for an incandescent. . . .
Other bulbs are emerging. Home Depot (HD) has started selling a $5 Philips halogen that’s 30% more efficient than incandescents. Its advantage: It doesn’t emit the yellowish tints that can characterizes fluorescents, and it can easily be used with a dimmer.
General Electric (GE) says it’ll develop an incandescent that’s 30% stingier than today’s bulbs by 2010. Earl Jones, a GE senior counsel, says it likely will cost more than current bulbs but less than a fluorescent.
Who needs Al Gore, when you have George W. Bush?
If they can develop these bulbs and make them work better, great. But that should be done on the companies’ own initiatives, not the government’s interference and mandate.
Also, if they can magically do this with bulbs on the government’s say so, why can’t they find an alternative to oil and gasoline?
**** UPDATE: Reader Gabe writes:
There are a lot of dim bulbs in congress, and in the White House.
The compact fluorescent bulbs are a pain.
They can’t be used in ovens and refrigerators!
There are no “night light” compacts!
This law is a disaster.
Our Congress is a disaster!
He sees the (non-CFL) light. I second that emotion.
**** UPDATE #2: Reader Darrel says liberals will never use this kind of CFL bulb.
Tags: Al Gore, author, cent, Chairman, Congress, Debbie Schlussel, Earl Jones, energy bill, energy committee, energy-efficient lights, General Electric, George W. Bush, Home Depot, Jeff Bingaman, less energy, New Mexico, pain, Philips, President, Senate, senior counsel, USA Today, USD, White House