I’m still reeling from one of the most blatantly unconstitutional and amazingly stupid congressional acts of my lifetime.
That would be the ban on the sale of incandescent light bulbs by 2012.
The response, by the way, has been overwhelming. I guess it is because I am practically alone in raising this issue as anything other than a little joke.
It’s no joke. It’s also not an urban myth, as at least one consumer reporter tried to explain to her readers. Congress has actually voted to ban the incandescent bulbs you are currently using all over your home. And President Bush went along with the plot and signed the bill – in broad daylight, I might add.
This action makes no sense for so many reasons, it’s tough to list them all. But let me try:
- Like I said, the action exceeds Congress’ authority. Show me where in the Constitution it empowers Congress to ban a perfectly safe and useful product in use for 100 years?
- There is no manmade, catastrophic global warming – the reason this and other draconian actions are being taken by lawmakers and policy wonks.
- Incandescent bulbs are less expensive than the fluorescent alternatives.
- You can actually buy incandescent made in the U.S. by U.S. companies – not true of fluorescents, virtually all made in China.
- Fluorescents are dangerous and contain trace amounts of mercury, a highly toxic substance environmentalists have been complaining about for years.
- Fluorescent bulbs are hideously ugly.
- Fluorescents don’t last as long as manufacturers claim.
- The light fluorescents cast is offensive to many, and studies claim it can be harmful to some.
- Fluorescents don’t come in all the sizes incandescent do.
- Fluorescents can’t be used in all places incandescents can.
- Whatever happened to choice?
I’m sure I could go, but you get the point.
There is one other angle to this story I haven’t addressed before. The fluorescent CFL bulbs are the only alternative available at this time – but that is not likely to be the case much longer. Improvements in highly efficient LEDs (light emitting diodes) have come rapidly. Someday, consumers will be clamoring for these long-lasting, inexpensive alternatives, which contain no toxic substances. Why not just wait for technology to give us the alternatives?
That may be the most amazing part of this charade.
In all likelihood, the government won’t even have to force people off the incandescent bulbs when this emerging alternative is fully realized. There will be no tradeoffs – like mercury contamination.
So why did the government jump the gun?
I suspect it is because this is more than an effort to get us to use different light bulbs. It’s a power play. Let’s face it: If the government gets away with this, is there anything the government can’t do? Is there any substance or product the government can’t ban? Is there anything the government can’t tell you to do or not do?
That’s what this action is really all about.
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