American Elephants

How Much Corruption Does it Take to Change the Light Bulb? by American Elephant
January 6, 2008, 5:48 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Energy, Politics | Tags: , ,

Compact Flourescent Light Bulb

As Timothy Carney reports, Democrats have passed a law outlawing the sale of all traditional incandescent light bulbs by 2012.

Sylvania is the leading light bulb maker worldwide, and GE is tops in America. These two companies, together with Dutch-based Royal Phillips Electronics, concede they basically wrote the new light bulb law. It goes without saying that they stand to profit from it — at consumer expense.

As reported previously in this column, the energy bill was loaded up with all sorts of favors for energy companies, manufacturers and other corporate bigwigs. The light bulb law follows the same pattern: A regulation touted as an environmental boon that will have dubious benefits to the planet, real costs to consumers and guaranteed profits for a handful of well-connected corporations.

…the day the bill cleared its biggest hurdle and passed the Senate, GE’s stock jumped 8.8 percent, and Philips jumped 2.1 percent.

The deal for Americans and the environment is not so sweet:

  • The bill increases energy costs for Americans. The cost of the new bulbs is far more than the energy savings.
  • GE, Phillips, and Sylvania will be making a lot more profit.
  • This bill guarantees the outsourcing of American jobs. (GE makes the outlawed bulbs here in the states, but all the new bulbs are made in China.)
  • Instead of being manufactured under America’s tight environmental and labor regulations, new bulbs will be made in China where environmental regulations are virtually unheard of, and then shipped halfway around the world.
  • Compact Fluorescents contain mercury which is an environmental hazard all by itself.
  • Mercury also poses a health risk and Medical studies are also blaming fluorescent bulbs for seizures and  numerous other health hazards.
  • Americans don’t want the new light bulbs! The light is harsh and unattractive, the bulbs must warm up before reaching full brightness, and they don’t work with dimmers.
  • The new bulbs have been on the market for years now and despite a great deal of positive press coverage, only account for around 2% of the light bulb market  — thus the need for Sylvania, GE and Phillips to get corrupt Democrats to force them on Americans.

Carney reports the energy bill was packed full of similar corrupt deals for other industry giants such as Alcoa, Goldman Sachs and Archer Daniels Midland.

This is the type of corrupt shenanigans going on behind most “environmental” legislation. I encourage you to read the entire piece. As well as his longer piece in the Wall Street Journal.

2 Comments so far
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So, you write for the republican movement then. What proof do you have of corruption?None. You just don’t like Democrats, and your entire argument is based on this dislike. Anything sensible you may have had to say has been lost in your haste to discredit a party you clearly dislike intently.

Maybe if you switched off your light bulbs and other electrical equipment when not in use laws like this wouldn’t be necessary. Unless you find US dependence on imported oil from Venezuela and Arabia a benefit, of course.

A shame you didn’t add some more facts to substantiate your rant though, there were nearly some interesting ideas there.


Comment by fifthdecade

Thanks for responding, but apparently you responded before actually reading the post or understanding the issue. If you had read the post, you would have noticed I was talking about two columns, which I linked to, that are both replete with facts, many of which I repeated. Not the least of which is that lobbyists from Sylvania, GE and Phillips admit to writing the law themselves!

Now why is it that Vice President Cheney has been painted as corrupt for supposedly allowing energy companies to write his energy bill — with absolutely no evidence to corroborate such claims — but Democrats are not corrupt when industry giants Sylvania, GE and Phillips ADMIT to writing a law that profitted them greatly the very day it passed the senate, and is poised to profit them additional untold billions in the future at consumer expense?

I also showed how a so-called “environmental” law is of dubious environmental benefit if any…unless you think filling land-fills with mercury, mercury poisoning, increased pollution due to vastly increased shipping, and Chinese environmental policy are good for the environment?

How could you possibly claim to know that I don’t turn off my lights and electrical equiptment when they are not in use. The fact is that I do. But more to the point, it’s none of your business. Perhaps you should unplug and sell your computer (its using large amounts of energy even when its off, you know) before using the federal government to force your neighbors to use the amount of energy YOU determine they need.

Also, someone should probably inform you that Americans could unplug every light bulb and electrical device in the country and it wouldnt reduce our dependence on foreign oil one drop. Thats because virtually none of our electric power (approximately 3%) comes from oil! We use oil to make fuels to power cars, trucks, trains, planes and other vehicles. We dont use it to make electricity. We derrive our electricity mostly from coal, nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric and geothermal, with tiny amounts coming from inefficient wind, solar, and biomass. But even if consumers could put light bulbs directly into their tanks, this doesnt help Americans, because it increases their costs, not decreases them!

If you want to help America become less dependent on foreign oil, and that is a worthy goal, you would do much better to figure out how we can develop more of our own energy to help Americans get to work, to the store, the bank, the dry-cleaner, the piano class, the soccer game and everything else that Americans do to keep eachother employed, not how we can prevent them from doing so.

The answer is not by regulating what kind of light bulbs and other products Americans can and cannot use, and making energy more expensive for Americans (now we’ll probably need a big government program to help the poor afford light — just what Democrats want — more people dependent on them!), but by generating more affordable energy ourselves so that we require less from foreign sources and Americans can continue to do all the things they do that keep the economy going and keep Americans (and the rest of the world) employed.

The best way to achieve that is by increasing our own production of clean coal, nuclear (by far the cleanest most efficient power source), hydrothermal, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and yes, natural gas and oil.

Republicans know all this. Democrats are too busy demogoguing the energy issue and passing phony “environmental” regulations for personal gain.

If only their supporters werent too ignorant to fall for it!


Comment by American Elephant

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