Dimwatted idea


How many politicians does it take to screw up a light bulb? Apparently just a simple majority of Congress.

A couple of weeks ago I was reading my Topco e-newsletter when I came across a rather startling discovery. According to Topco, as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 retailers will no longer be able to buy the traditional 100-watt light bulbs from manufacturers starting in 2012. Each successive year an additional wattage will be removed from availability. I knew there was a move to get people to conserve energy, but I didn’t think it would be mandatory.

As a result, Topco is hawking 4-packs of CFL bulbs. Those are the compact fluorescent bulbs with the corkscrew design. I checked these out the last time I was shopping. Not only are they much more expensive than a 4-pack of Sylvania incandescent bulbs, which are often on sale for $1.00 or less, but every bulb I checked was made in China. So it looks like we are losing yet another manufacturing industry, courtesy of Washington. Thanks Congress!

I really don’t understand what light bulbs have to do with national security, but it seems like if China ever gets mad at us and stops shipping light bulbs this country can literally be in the dark.  CFL bulbs may save energy, but they also contain mercury. The next step will be making it illegal to throw them away in the general trash and special recycling centers will have to be established and consumers will probably have to pay a disposal tax or deposit. Imagine what will happen when an earthquake strikes a city knocking hundreds of lamps off of tables. The government will probably have to fly in hazmat teams to check each house before letting residents return. 

I suggest retailers stock up on incandescent bulbs and advertise to their customers that they will soon be illegal. Think of the extra revenue you can make if you get a customer to pick up an extra 4-pack or two each time they visit your store. And we all know how people like to hoard. I’m sure there will be many a household with a stash of incandescent bulbs to last them into the next millennium.

If Congress is really concerned about saving energy perhaps they should pass legislation eliminating their use of private jets and allowing them to only travel via commercial airlines and trains. Imagine what that would do to reducing the carbon footprint. And if they really want to save the taxpayers money, someone should slip in a rider stipulating that they can only fly in coach. But then they might actually have to sit next to one of their constituents, and hear about the stupid idea of legislating what type of lighting we can have in our houses.   

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