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Monday, February 21, 2011

Light Bulb Law a Good or Bad Thing for America?

Despite signs of protest brewing about the requirements of a 2007 energy bill that would, in essence, phase out the traditional incandescent light bulb, it doesn’t appear that most Americans object to the law.

Any new law can be counted on to generate some negative reaction. This particular law doesn’t outlaw incandescent bulbs, but requires light bulbs to meet new energy efficiency standards, which has the de facto impact of making incandescent bulbs obsolete.

A quick bit of research shows that there have been any number of different objections to the law. Some of these objections focus on very practical considerations: the quality of light from the required new energy-efficient bulbs, the problems with disposing of the new bulbs, evidence that the new bulbs don’t save as much energy as once thought, the bulbs' cost, brightness of the new bulbs, and so forth.

Other objections are broader in nature, including in particular the allegation that the law is another example of too much federal government intrusiveness into Americans’ lives, and the allegation that the new law will cost American jobs (since the new energy efficient bulbs are more likely to be made overseas than the old incandescent bulbs).

A number of representatives in Congress last fall introduced the “Better Use of Light Bulbs Act,” which primarily focused on these broader objections. The “Better Use” law would rescind the part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that deals with light bulbs.

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas is one of the authors of the bill, and says: “From the health insurance you’re allowed to have, to the car you can drive, to the light bulbs you can buy, Washington is making too many decisions that are better left to people who work for their own paychecks and earn their own living.”

Here’s another quote from Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, also a sponsor of the bill: “If the American people needed another example of why it is time to roll back the hyper-regulation of the past four years, this is it. Washington banned a perfectly good product and fired hard working Americans based on little more than their own whim and the silly notion that they know better than the American consumer. Now, hundreds more Americans are looking for work while assembly lines in China are churning out fluorescent bulbs for the US market. Tell me how that makes any sense at all.”

We don’t know for sure how aware the average American is of all of these categories of objections to the 2007 law. But a new USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Feb. 15-16 shows that most Americans have tried the new energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs and that most are satisfied with them. And, most importantly, by about a 2-to-1 ratio, Americans think the law which will phase out the standard, incandescent bulbs is a good thing rather than a bad thing.

Thus, if repealing the portions of the 2007 energy efficiency law dealing with light bulbs were put to a national vote, it looks like it would lose. Democrats and independents are strongest in their support for the law. Republicans and conservatives split evenly, meaning that even among these groups it is not a sure thing that a referendum to repeal the law would win.


Justice said...
May 17, 2011 at 10:53 AM  

Bull---- most people either do not know about this or are hoarding. The new bulbs are not as bright. What about people who cannot see in the dark? So we run two lamps instead of one?

Or what about those of us who have had to deal with broken CFL's before we knew about the mercury and the health hazards. Is this a hand out to the ambulance chasers for when the Mesothelioma victims are exhausted?

Anonymous said...
October 19, 2011 at 2:06 PM  

When are you people going to start posting the actual question from the survey? If you don't provide that, you're trying to hide it. Also, why was the survey of Americans, instead of likely voters?

Anonymous said...
February 20, 2012 at 7:18 PM  

It's a case of Democrats forcing their religious beliefs in man-caused global warming, while the evidence shows sun-caused warming that is happening on other planets too.

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