American Elephants

Taking your Freedom Away, One Step at a Time! by The Elephant's Child

In just 5½ months, the 100 watt incandescent lightbulb will become illegal in the United States.  12 months later, 75 watt bulbs will become illegal, and 12 months after that, ordinary 60 watt and 40 watt bulbs will be illegal as well. Do most people know this?

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote:

The use of efficiency mandates to snuff out the standard light bulb was an exercise of unadulterated crony capitalism.  It came about after the big bulb manufacturers, frustrated by their customers’ refusal to switch from cheap throwaway incandescents to the far more profitable compact flourescents touted by Greens, decided to play hardball. 

Before Congress, a representative of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association testified in favor of the bulb ban scheme.  He said “the entire discussion of ‘phase out of least efficient general service light bulbs’ has been at the industry’s initiative.”

On the surface, the purpose of the law is to increase energy efficiency by requiring that bulbs produce more light per watt. By setting these standards higher than the cheap, easily replaceable, common incandescent, the real world effect is government control of the lights in your home. The real purpose is more profit for companies who make lightbulbs in China.

The normal process involves putting your product in the marketplace and if people like it, they will buy it. So they put their twisty compact fluorescents in the stores, and people didn’t like paying way more money for a bulb they didn’t like.So Phillips decided to partner with radical environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council to push for higher standards.  “We felt that we needed to …show that the best-known lighting technology, the incandescent lightbulb is at the end of its lifetime” said Harry Verhaar, the head of the company’s ‘strategic sustainability initiatives. You need to watch out when that word “sustainability” pops up. It’s a lie to begin with.

Liberals in Congress are claiming that they are “increasing consumer choice.” The Department of Energy has a Conservation Standards Enforcement division.  It has threatened companies like Delta Faucet, Hudson Reed, Maytag, Target and Westinghouse for attempting to sell products that consumers want. There were not dangerous products, they simply function too well.  So we now have washing machines that don’t clean clothes, Energy Star products that don’t save energy, showers that fail to deliver enough water for a comfortable shower, and a government that is attempting to do away with the internal-combustion engine.We need to eliminate the Department of Energy.

It is not a governmental task to make consumer’s choices for them. It is not up to a Secretary of Energy, nor to Congress.  If the technology is superior, and ready for prime time, no law is needed to get people to switch. People have switched from landlines to cell phones and from desktops to tablets, and are considering the switch from books to electronic readers without government help.  Congress is working on a repeal. We need to keep their feet to the fire.

We must always, always push in the direction of individual liberty. The totalitarian impulse is forever present, with the urgent need to tell other people what to do.

4 Comments so far
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Yes, as you may remember I covered the industrial politics behind the ban, with copies of official communications, on

A lot of needless interference and deception going on with this.


Comment by lighthouse

Light Bulbs (and other electrical products) are not banned for being unsafe to use, but just to reduce electricity consumption.

Competition/Tax alternatives

1. Competition rather than Regulation,
gives not only reduced energy use by say competing utilities keeping down energy cost in generation and grids,
it also gives desirable energy saving products, which people have always bought,
and which could be marketed properly (compare with Energizer bunny etc commercials “Expensive to buy but cheap in the long run”)
New start-ups including of energy saving lights can be supported temporarily.

2. Tax is not as good, but still better than bans, for all sides.

A bankrupt state like California, and the Budget solving Federal Government
could Tax not Ban popular but energy using Cars, Buildings, White Goods, TV sets, Light Bulbs etc

Gives a big California/Fed Govmt income, can also help finance cheaper energy saving alternatives so people are not just “hit by taxes” (and they know that a ban is the alternative).
Fed Govmt = GOP keep Choice, Democrats get Funding, tax easily adjusted according to new market conditions and entrants – a politically fair proposal.

Tax is still wrong in being similar to regulations, but better than regulations, also for currently pro-regulation Governments.
Tax/Competition alternatives to regulation


Comment by lighthouse

The alternate bulbs just aren’t up to the job. I know that manufacturers are working on better bulbs that will save energy, but what is on offer so far just isn’t a satisfactory replacement. We have no shortage of energy, except the artificial shortage created by the Obama administration, for reasons political rather than scientific. The supposed energy saving products — Energy Star rated, are reported to fail to save energy. The new washing machines, horrendously expensive, are reported to fail to get clothes clean. People will buy products that work and serve a valid purpose. They don’t like being cheated, and they don’t like the government intruding on individual freedom.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Elephant’s Child
you are more right than you might know 😉

Re energy shortage:
Not only is there no future shortage of (renewable, low emission etc) energy sources for electricity,
any shortage of -say coal – raises the price and reduces the use anyway
(which is also why fuel efficiency regulation for cars is wrong
– any “big worry” over oil use or imports, aside from drilling for more, could simply simulate a shortage, with oil import duty, or tax instead of usage regulations )

RE alternate bulbs just aren’t up to the job
– that is the other point.
The ban justificaction is all about
“Hey, We are only making bulbs more energy efficient!”
Again – and as with cars, washing machines etc –
there is No Free Lunch:
Forcing energy saving mandate on a given product reduces its
performance or usability advantages in different ways.

Some environmentalists still favor life-style changes etc:
Once again, the point is that the focus is wrong
– whatever the GOP / Democrat ideology::
Electricity generation and grid distribution energy savings are much more relevant and significant, not all such changes need be slow or expensive, and, as above, market competition (right-wing ideology) or taxation (left-wing ideology) show that regulations are a worse option, regardless of ideology.


Comment by lighthousehthouse

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