American Elephants

A Prize! A Prize! A Prize! by The Elephant's Child
March 10, 2012, 7:32 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy | Tags: , ,

What do ordinary incandescent light bulbs have in common with regular gasoline? They are cheap, reliable and satisfactory sources of energy. You can add coal and natural gas to that equation.  What people want is the energy produced. If someone can come up with a better mousetrap, to use a familiar cliché, then people will eagerly buy the new product. That’s called the free market.  It works.

The free market does not work for the Obama administration. They have their own goals, quite separate from what the American people want. Of course they tell us that they have a noble ideology behind their goals; and if the rest of us don’t want to go along with their goals, they will just use the power of government to force us to. There are other names for that approach, and “free market” and “liberty” aren’t in it.

To gin up a little excitement for the process of indoctrination, the Department of Energy has offered an award  called the  “L Prize” — a $10 million prize for any manufacturer that could create a “green” but affordable light bulb. There was also a minor component that requited portions, at least, of the bulb would have to be made in the United States.

The winning bulb is soon to reach the stores.

The price is $50.

No, not for a pack of bulbs, for one.

“I don’t want to say it’s exorbitant, but if a customer is only looking at the price, they could come to that conclusion,” said Brad Paulsen, merchant for the light-bulb category at Home Depot, the largest U.S. seller of light bulbs. “This is a Cadillac product, and that’s why you have a premium on it.”

Uh huh. The “L Prize” bulb is more energy efficient. It runs on 10 watts instead of 12.5 watts. It is also, they claim,  brighter, renders colors better and lasts longer. These are not qualities high on my list. My list begins and ends with cheap, reliable and satisfactory. The prize guidelines did set a target retail price, including rebates from utilities, which was to be $22 in the first year, $15 in the second year and $8 in the third year. File that in the same folder with the requirement that 30% of our electricity must come from wind by 2020, and the mpg mandate. Governing is easy!  You just come up with a number that you like and order the proles to make it so.

Official say they are working with utilities to provide rebates for consumers. That could lower the price (yes, you just order the utilities to — make it so.)  There are cheaper LED bulbs, The Sighting Science Group, under the EcoSmart label offers one for $23.07. The bulbs are expected to last much longer, up to 30,000 hours  which they claim if you used it for eight hours a day, it might last for 10 years or more. “LED bulbs don’t burn out but wane over time.” And when does the waning begin, and how bad does it get?  The LED bulbs all have some kind of baffles or vanes around them to direct the light outwards, because they are very directional. A lighting engineer said a while back, and I can’t find the quote, that LED bulbs are just not anywhere near ready for prime time.

The Obamaites despise the free market, because it “isn’t fair.” They don’t like profit. They don’t like competition. They are sure that they know better.  It will just take us a little time to get used to their new “improved” world.

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