How many federal bureaucrats does it take to screw in a light bulb? None if that bulb is a traditional incandescent bulb. That’s because back in 2007 my colleagues passed a law that effectively bans traditional incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012.
This light bulb-banning law was another one of those good intentions that some people don’t think is turning out so good. They don’t like the light given off by the compact fluorescent light bulbs, which are being made to replace incandescent bulbs. They say their wallets don’t like the new bulbs because they cost more, which makes saving money on energy a wash. The EPA doesn’t like the new bulbs because the amount of mercury in one bulb is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels. Freedom Action, a political-advocacy group recently launched a campaign to repeal the ban on traditional incandescent bulbs.
The manufacturers of the new bulbs say they are the greatest thing since sliced bread.
BULB Act Solves Problem
The question is not whom to believe, the question I ask is why should a select few legislators in 2007 be able to tell hundreds of millions of Americans what light bulbs are best for them? Why do we have a federal government so intent on taking away people’s choices and limiting their options? That’s not good for our country.
I think it’s fine if someone wants to fill his home or business with the light from the new bulbs. I also think it is fine if someone wants to buy an old-fashioned bulb because it works better for him. If left alone, the best bulb will win its rightful standing in the marketplace.
Last month I introduced the Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act (S. 395) that would let the light of the incandescent shine brightly once again. My bill would repeal the standards that limit choice that Congress included in the 2007 energy law. It’s time the federal government starts worrying less about what light bulbs people buy and more about how it’s going fix the deficit, but that’s a topic for another time.