I’m sure you all have been following the GOP light bulb debacle. For those of you who have not been, a quick rundown. In 2007, Republican President George Bush signed a bill to require that light bulbs be 30% more efficient by 1 January 2012. The Republicans and the
Birchers Teahadists then decided last year that this decision was socialism or fascism or whichever is worse, and spent the next year and a half screaming about the provision. So, last week, in yet another effort to ignore jobs creation bills, the GOP mustered the political might to block any money to the Department of Energy to enforce the regulation. Got it- light bulbs still have to be 30% more efficient, but now there is no way to enforce that dictate. Not surprisingly, this has all of the companies who worked to invest in more efficient light bulbs fuming:
After spending four years and millions of dollars prepping for the new rules, businesses say pulling the plug now could cost them. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has waged a lobbying campaign for more than a year to persuade the GOP to abandon the effort.
Manufacturers are worried that the rider will undermine companies’ investments and “allow potential bad actors to sell inefficient light bulbs in the United States without any fear of federal enforcement,” said Kyle Pitsor, the trade group’s vice president of government relations.
So, if industry wants these rules, why is the GOP grinding them to a halt? Republicans say they’re pro-choice when it comes to light bulbs.
Conservative groups and tea party favorites in the House, including GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, have accused the government of a heavy-handed attempt to ban incandescent bulbs and limit consumer freedom.
“This wasn’t a light bulb manufacturer to me; this was an issue of the fundamental freedom of the American people and one more area where the federal government was encroaching in a place where it didn’t belong,” said Texas Rep. Michael Burgess, who has backed multiple efforts to block the standards.
In other words, the GOP has created the worst possible environment for consumers and producers- producers have no incentive to continue R&D into more efficient lightbulbs because there is no payoff, as they can simply produce whatever they want and no one can enforce them for lying. Consumers have no idea what they are buying, because again, there is no enforcement mechanism in place for sketchy companies to be caught. This would bother most normal people. Speaking for the non-normal people, here is the glibertarian response:
Meanwhile, Politico notes that light bulb manufacturers “spent big bucks preparing for the standards,” which they need to guarantee a market for high-margin products consumers otherwise would reject, and are “fuming over the GOP bid to undercut them.” Aren’t Republicans supposed to be pro-business? Sometimes they are actually pro-market instead, and this is one of those cases. A spokesman for Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, claims “the only people we are aware of who have opposed the bulb standards are some politicians and some conservative commentators.” If legislators, regulators, environmentalists, and even the industry all agree this mandate is a good idea, why would consumers object? Maybe because the whole premise of the policy is that their choices do not matter because they are too stupid to know their own interests.
FAP FAP FAP! THE MARKET KNOWS ALL! THE MARKET WILL CORRECT ITSELF, JUST LIKE WITH THE HOUSING INDUSTRY. So what if billions of substandard light bulbs are sold to unsuspecting customers- what matters is the market!
I really wish all these glibertarians would move to their floating utopias and leave us to enjoy a little bit of government oppression like this.
It is a worthwhile question for the newly created Paulites. The End of Fractional Reserve Banking, Drug Law Enforcement, Gay Marriage or Light Bulb Choices: which do you actually think you’re going to get out of any Paul administration?
Villago Delenda Est
It’s difficult to understand why buying an energy hogging light bulb is freedom, as is forcing women to risk their lives to force the birth of a child who will most likely die anyway.
These people are incredibly stupid. There’s no other way to describe them.
Reason does not work with them. Only clue by fours. Applied liberally, and frequently.
The Ancient Randonneur
Isn’t this just GOP policy in general? Tax policy comes to mind. Most business people aren’t concerned about taxes going up as much as they just want to know that we have a coherent policy. We the GOP willing to blow up the whole system to appease a few billionaires it is no wonder businesses are jittery about the economy. The GOP is CREATING uncertainty with all this posturing and backing out of deals at the last minute.
So, freedom’s just another word for having no standards?
To make matters worse, the republican clown car in the House postponed a vote on the payroll tax cut/unemployment insurance extension tonight because IT WAS GOING TO PASS.
Now they’re going to try a procedural gimmick tomorrow that would allow some members to vote for it, despite it having no chance of passing, in an effort to cover their asses.
The Republicans’ only goal is to destroy the economy, and it should be obvious to everyone at this point.
I really think Obama (or better yet, both Barack and Michelle Obama) should do a series of public service announcements telling people not to lick live power sockets, not to drink bleach, to look both ways before crossing busy streets, etc. The glibertarian problem would solve itself in about a week.
@Villago Delenda Est: This is one of the ways you can be a racist without ever bringing up someone’s race. Bush-era regulations are suddenly attacks on the fiber of America when that pother President carries them out. For some reason, it’s different.
And for some reason, causing uncertainty among job creators is awesome now.
@Hill Dweller: At last count, there were at least 5 Republican Senators on record today saying that the House GOP should stop acting like a bunch of badly behaving toddlers and grow up already. So, bipartisan agreement that the House GOP badly needs its collective diaper changed!
@Villago Delenda Est:
Well, there is “idiotic”, “moronic”, “dumb-assed”, “dense”, “addle-minded”, etc. But, “stupid” gets the point across.
I love being in a nation ruled by kindergartners.
I just replaced 150 watts of halogen lights in my range hood with 10 watts of LED lights. Cost me $60, but it’ll be worth it in the long haul. With production ramped up the same lights will cost just a few bucks in a couple of years. But evidently they’re not Freedom(tm) bulbs so I have to keep paying the DFH tax.
That’s the best burn I’ve seen in ages.
Don’t forget the part about cutting off their own peckers.
The Other Chuck
Petty. That’s all this is. Petty spite.
And that’s the word Democrats should be using every day. Associate “Republican” with “petty”. They got this whole association thing once when “Culture of Corruption” was every other sentence, but they’ve already forgotten the lesson.
So, if I understand this all correctly (and I probably don’t)
I can hook up with some slipshod light bulb manufacturer in the non-unionized universe, manufacture crappy but incredibly inexpensive light bulbs, buy ads on the wing nut sites and sell them, and when they blow-out the minute they’re turned on, I’ve liberated wingnutz from their money?
Chris from Arlington, VA
Or they could all move to their underwater utopias!
Republicans have been complaining for the last three years that the reluctance of businesses to invest was due to “regulatory uncertainty” caused by Kenyan Agent Obummer (instead of, you know a lack of fucking demand). But this, this, is a perfect example of real-life regulatory uncertainty that is causing businesses to spin their wheels, and it’s due to their own schizophrenia.
I wonder if the efficient light bulb industry has passed the point of no return in terms of market acceptability. It doesn’t excuse what the Republicans are doing, but hopefully their actions won’t have a significant real world effect.
I’d love to send these Gliberarian arse-holes on an extended vacation in the England of Dickens’ era, except they’d be forced to live as proles struggling to get by instead of the elite they imagine themselves to be a deserving part of. Let ’em swim for awhile in the “market forces” they imagine so hospitable for their type, except without their yachts to keep them comfortably afloat. Give ’em a taste of the extremely miserly social “safety net” they imagine an optimal society has, give ’em the penthouse suite in the poorhouse, having to decide whether to guard against the rats living in the attic with them, or hunt them for extra food.
Corbin Dallas Multipass
I get that maybe you didn’t want to direct traffic to Reason. But for those who are interested in reading and watching a terrible terrible terrible out of tune voice parody The Police without donating ad views, here’s the print based version of the blog post: http://reason.com/blog/2011/12/19/why-would-consumers-object-to-a-policy-t/print
I agree with you entirely. The only thing I wish light bulb companies would get on top of is dimmer and three way energy efficient bulbs. The CFL ones are terrible on both counts. I haven’t seen any LED ones. If anyone has any recommendations for dimmer and three way fixtures there are a lot of people who would appreciate it.
I realize that this might come as a bit of a shock to you, so sit down first:
1) There are people living outside the USA, it’s commonly referred to as “the World”.
2) These people, strange as it may sound, have reached the level of civilization where they use, and even manufacture lightbulbs. In fact, they manufacture so many lightbulbs that 2 of the 3 largest makers of lightbulbs in the USA are actually foreign-owned.
3) This might sound even stranger, but these people don’t actually elect fucking retards to office like in the USA (or at least not as many of them), and so they actually have and enforce regulations on lightbulbs (see 2), which in turn drive research and innovation in said lightbulbs.
Of course what the manufacturers complain about is that they invested money in factories to adjust them to use the technologies they already use to make 240V bulbs energy efficient, but they have to adapt that to the USA’s retarded, energy inefficient 110V first.
As in pretty much all energy-efficient tech, it is driven by Europe, and to a lesser extend Japan and China. The US is an afterthought in that field. See wind-energy, high-speed rail, etc.
They put all these CFL’s in our water to make us dumb.
They’re petulant, puling, little bratty fucking children.
@Corbin Dallas Multipass: I thought I had linked them. I’m multi-tasking, watching the Steelers. I’ve added it, but I’m sure I will regret it. Whenever you link a glibertarian, they are going to provide a 50,000 word response that is just insufferable to read.
I haven’t heard complaints about energy efficiency standards involving furnaces, water-heaters, or refrigerators.
However CFL’s seem to be the new “fluoridated water” that got the old Birchers into a froth about as some sort of communist plot to poison our bodies.
As opposed to the other more efficient appliances which are just better at being hot or cold, CFLs, hallogens, LEDs etc. can produce a different colored light than incandescents and somehow that light will enter our brains and either rot it or program it to be communistic.
Energy-efficient lightbulbs are a classic case of where big-government intervention can protect people from themselves. When it comes to lightbulbs, consumers are tempted to pay more in the long run by buying cheap, short-lived, energy-hungry bulbs instead of more expensive longer-lived, energy-efficient bulbs. This is bad for the consumers and bad for the environment.
The reason they’re doing this is because they know the only way these idiots will ever look like they have a bright idea is to hold one of the old-fashioned bulbs above their heads.
@Corbin Dallas Multipass:
Look into the Philips AmbientLEDs, which are dimmable when using “leading edge” dimmers. Home Depot and Amazon both carry them. I’m planning to get some for family members this Christmas, because they’re supposed to mimic incandescent light perfectly.
No, it won’t.
I think the trend toward LEDs is great, I’m all for it. But I’m honest about whether a range hood bulb is going to save me 60 bucks no matter how long a haul you look at.
My range hood uses a single 60 watt bulb. I use it when I cook. When I am not cooking it is rarely on. over the past 8 years I have probably replaced that bulb a half-dozen times, tops. At 99 cents for 4 (cheapie) bulbs and intermittent use that probably adds up to at most 2 hours a day, I really don’t see how a $60 light pencils out, either in replacement costs or energy saved. I don’t think a range hood light is the best example where, a-hem, pricey LEDs really shine.
Enough about the Steelers already.
In my experience, they do. Put one of these and an incandescent under shades and I defy anyone to tell the difference. They’ve recently been reduced in price, and I’m seeing other good models coming on the market.
Jeebus, I’m in moderation because the Phillips LEDs have an insomnia drug in their name.
@John Cole: The only “value” they add to the economy is volumes and volumes of vapid, tedious argument. Still counts towards GDP though.
@binzinerator: My range hood HAD a 60 watt light bulb. Seeing that this light is usually the only light I leave on all the time, I swapped it out with an equivalent CFL. In fact, I swapped all of the incandescent bulbs out save for the vanity lights. I’ve already seen a decent reduction in the monthly energy bill.
I worked for a company that invented LED lighting and that company has now been consumed by a major lighting company (years ago) and now that technology I helped bring about is now spreading around the world – sadly lacking in America. That said, the LED lighting source is inevitable, and will provide so very much more than just lighting – imagine, just for one small example, having your alarm clock or your bathroom vanity lights change color to represent the weather forecast. The power of the LED, being an addressable internet node, is nearly limitless.
How funny/sad the Repukes are so anti-business that they would drive R&D to Europe and Asia.
The hood light is on several hours/day. The two PAR 16 halogens they replace cost about $15 each and last less than 2 years each. And, because we’re constantly in tier 3 of our electricity bill, any usage we cut is off the top rate. Worst case, they repay themselves in four years.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Redstate has been pushing for FREEDUMB for allowing dimbulbs select the best lightbulb for their purposes, damn the energy and environment, full speed ahead!
I’ve been like a pig rolling in slop heaven reading over there for the last few months. Winger on winger battles, BLAM!ming of people who don’t toe a line that moves daily (if not hourly or a per moderation basis) and other fun excrement that only a pig could love rolling in. Members have been after the site to endorse someone in the primary (largely PERRY!) the management has resisted doing this, preferring to let the cards fall where they may. Every rising star has led to joy at the thought of the Mittster not getting the nod, every time that star falls they lament the pending inevitability of the Mittster.
While the site has resisted endorsing someone, it’s clear that many of the editors support PERRY! Today, ten of those editors posted an endorsement of PERRY!, with the caveat at the top that these endorsements are personal and that the site is not endorsing anyone. In the comments, one editor who did not sign the statement said that he is 100% for Perry but has a soft spot for the Noot.
Every day there are gems (being kind here) to be found there, unfortunately you have to snuffle through a bunch of shit to find them. At least it’s virtual shit and not the real deal.
Ok, it’s still real shit but someone has to rubberneck the disaster that the Republican party has become. Reagan’s 11 commandment has been tossed out the window, it’s a fucking free-for-all and I’m not going to miss it!
The opposite of whatever liberals want, updated daily.
I think all modern decent range hoods (those above 200CFM vented outside) also contain dimmers for the lights. Finding a long lasting dimmable bulb can be a problem because the location is is often classified as a “hardship area” – heat and vibration. The bulbs that came with my hood (heavy glass floods) didn’t last long and neither did their exact replacements. Now I’m just using some thin glass incandescent floods which appear to last much longer. If LEDs drop in price I will probably go with them.
They’re more expensive than CFLs, but prices are dropping and they’re already a win over incandescents unless your electricity is somehow dirt cheap. Many of the newer models are dimmable, and vibration shouldn’t bother them.
I prefer to use coal bulbs.
@Lurker: I don’t know if you’ll find this Lightbulb Wars series remotely useful, but it’s the closest I’ve seen to a side-by-side comparison of different bulb types and brands.
I’m surprised none of the repukes have called for a return to leaded gas.
@gnomedad: I’m sure they’d just prefer to lift any restrictions whatsoever on what companies put into gas pumps and let the feemahkit sort it all out.
The real scandal here is that the GOP has chosen the route of nullification of a law (one signed by George Bush, no less!) by simply defunding the agency tasked with enforcing it. Last month they used a different tactic: they fillibustered a nominee to prevent the legislated Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from being established. At all. In what was described as back door nullification.
Obama-style hopey changey rhetoric and accomodating bipartisanship is rather helpless against a party that simply does not respect the democratic process, rejects any process that doesn’t result in it getting what it wants, and is determined to find and exploit any loophole possible to undermine it. No country in the world has ever had a watertight constitution, and all, at some point, require that both parties cooperate in acknowledging the legitimacy of the system and preserving its basic functions. The issue itself it pretty trivial: the contemptuous attitude the GOP has to the process of governance is the real shock.
@Jason: Very well and succinctly put. The GOP today is a deeply anti-democratic anti-American party of power crazed nihilists.
Hey thanks! I do so few things well; it’s nice to be recognized now and again for my rare accomplishment.
Jay in Oregon
@Chris from Arlington, VA:
Given that one of the goals of the libertarian floating island paradises was “looser building codes,” I expect they will be underwater utopias sooner than they think…
Worst of Both Worlds
Ladies and gentlemen, the 2012 Republican campaign slogan!
It’s a clear case of Bulbism.
Nothing is worse…our very civilization teeters at the edge of the abyss.
Teabaggers will be horrified to learn efficient lightbulbs are rapidly becoming the only kind of light bulb one can purchase in Canada. And here’s the truly evil part of it. The lightbulb you buy lasts 11 to 15 years and saves you a wack of money on your hydro bill. How awful is that? I mean I used to be able to spend a lot more money on lightbulbs and hydro and now I’m FORCED to spend less.
Socialism is the shits!
May be you have an answer to this.
@Calouste: This. In Japan it is all about the LED’s now. CFL’s are a given and incandescent bulbs occupy one tiny section and I don’t know who if anyone is buying those. The LED’s get cheaper every week it seems and there is always a sale…Toshiba one week…Panasonic the next. I haven’t bought an incandescent bulb for nearly a decade here in Japan. I do actually still have one in use in the porch light. I’ve just been too lazy to get around to changing it. I think I will make that my weekend project as a protest against the Stupid in my former Homeland.
Seriously, people who continue to use incandescent bulbs are morons. Blah, blah, blah about light quality. I’m over it. It’s fucking light bulb. I have one CFL that has been in use for over 8 years now. Why anyone wants to buy shitty outdated bulbs is beyond me.
I say fuck the Republicans with rust chains saws and pack their corpse with shards of shattered incandescent bulbs.
Oh and do it in a torture dungeon lit with an obscene amount of LED lights…
Some countries solve that issue by having an actual multi-party democracy instead of like in the US, one party with two right wings. Of course that brings its own problems *cough* Belgium *cough*, but complete obstruction by one party is not one of them.
Btw, just like I commented in my post that’s linked to in the post above, America-centrism and exceptionism, even on a purpotedly leftwing blog like this, is shocking. Most Americans rarely seem to have a clue exactly how indoctrinated they are.
Actually, yes, and my answer is, when the GOP goes obstructionist, go on the offensive. For example, during the debt ceiling crisis, after Boehner’s second rejection of the compromise (around July 23 I think), if I was President I would have made a stemwinder speech attacking the Republican establishment. In this speech, I would have made the following points:
1) The Republicans engineered this debt crisis. More than half of the 20 trillion dollar deficit projected to 2020 is the result of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and the middle-east wars. Bush’s TARP program alone contributed 672 billion dollars to the debt ceiling.
2) Boehner and his cronies are now holding the country to ransom to force a political agenda which has nothing to do with alleviating the debt, just implementing a fringe right wing agenda that most Americans have rejected at the ballot box.
3) Boehner has already gotten 90% of what he wanted, and is still threatening to blow up the country by forcing a default. Even Wall Street should realise what an irresponsible jackass he, and the Republicans are, and how shameful it is to use the economy as a hostage to his fanatical political agenda. The Republicans are using Al-Queda tactics against the economy.
I would then call upon Americans to write to Boehner demanding that he pass the bill to raise the debt ceiling, and then for him to apologise on behalf of the Republican party for the Bush debt legacy, the incompentence of Republican economic management, and the venality of exploiting a crisis they themselves have engineered to further enact an economic agenda that has already brought this once proud country to wrack and ruin.
And if that didn’t work, I’d call his bluff, and allow the country to default. I would then make it clear whose fault it was. I would then invoke my Presidential authority to resolve the crisis through executive order. There were a number of creative proposals at the time for how the President might justify such authority, such as the “US 1 trillion dollar coin option. I would pick one, and solve the crisis this way. Issues of constitutionality would be almost irrelevant: if the Bush years show us anything, it’s that the country will accept virtually anything that resolves a crisis.
Now, this whole approach is extremely high risk, politically. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, that is that you don’t get rid of bullies until you show you can play as rough as them. In the long term, I believe the ultimate objective of the Democrats should be radical reform to the US constitution, but that’s an incredibly difficult task. In the short term Democrats need to understand this is a war against, as Krugman points out, a revolutionary power that itself does not care about the democratic process, and that means embracing extremely tough methods to preserve what democratic processes still remain.
China wins again!! Yay, Republicans.
Actually, I think what they really are is (remember, Republicans project, first last and always) is anti-competition devices. If we can only buy anything from one source, and they can do whatever they want, then we will know true FREEDUMB.
@Villago Delenda Est: Based on the comments of any 80-odd year old woman in my building — She blames “the ban” on “that f**king Obama.” (She listens to Rush every day.) I tried to tell her the history of the manufacturing sector in developing the regulations with EPA but she doesn’t want to believe me. I also told her she doesn’t need to hoard light bulbs because “No, there is no ban. Incandescent bulbs will still be sold.” She don’t believe me.
I wrote about this over the weekend when Marsha Blackburn, one of the stupidest Congresscritters the Tennessee GOP ever barfed up, was quoted telling everyone to buy lightbulbs as Christmas presents.
The thing is, it’s just more political partisanship. The new lightbulbs are more efficient and use less energ. A 72-watt bulb now gives off as much light as a 100 watt. You can buy up the old 100 watt bulbs all you want but all you’re going to be doing is paying higher electric bills.
Also, the bill was signed by GEORGE W BUSH in 2007. OMG OMG OMG …. but OBAMA! And … S0c!al!sm!!!
@Southern Beale: Yeah, I’d forgotten that. With you and several others mentioning it, next she rants about light bulbs, I’ll tell her that first. But she’s a parrot of Rush and the rest of the crew she listens to/watches.
The Other Bob
@Corbin Dallas Multipass:
1) Replace your dimmers with LED/CFL -specific dimmers. I am not sure if they also work with Halogens and Incandencents, but I am pretty sure they do.
2) I uust bought a few dimmable LEDs at Home Despot for under $10 each. I was shocked at how cheap they were. LEDs aren’t perfect though. They are better as spotlights and are kind hasrsh. The dimmer helps though.
@Jason: If you go through the annals of teh blogs (forget the two bit msm), you’ll find that he did all those things and still got nada from the rethugs and a whacking from the moronic voters. Mebbe the us of a needs more clusterfuck rethug style.
Republicans hate progress unless they can suck every cent of potential profit from innovation for themselves.
pseudonymous in nc
Ideally, ones running on 1890s marine technology.
I can sort of understand this mentality. Americans, on average, spend 7 years in a house. They get upset about the idea of paying for roof shingles that last more than 20 years, so they’re not going to pay for 20-year lightbulbs.
Still, we’re at the point where economies of scale are rapidly bringing down the price of good LEDs, which means that in sane parts of the developed world, it won’t be long before the lighting is as much of a fixture as the wiring.
I mentioned this in a thread the other day, but I’ve been slowly moving over to LEDs. In the dining room, for instance, I went from 300W to 40W power consumption for identical light levels.
Childish as it sounds, I’ve been tweaking my wingier in-laws and acquaintances about the Light Bulb wars, because I can. It’s nice to just be able to point up at the ceiling and say “look, LEDs!”.
Damn it, I always associate ‘fap’ with pleasant thoughts. Now I can’t pick up a doujinshi without thinking about some greasy libertarian.