How Many Lobbyists...


…Tim Carney asks, does it take to change the light bulb.

Had Thomas Edison employed the same business strategy as his 21st-Century heirs at General Electric, he would have lobbied Congress to outlaw the candle in 1879 when he perfected and patented the light bulb.

Environmentalism, once again, turns out to be a for-profit business.

On Dec. 18, the day the bill cleared its biggest hurdle and passed the Senate, GE’s stock jumped 8.8 percent, and Philips jumped 2.1 percent…GE makes its CFLs and other fancy light bulbs in China, while it makes its incandescents in the United States. The light bulb law will ship more American jobs offshore, shift manufacturing to China’s dirtier and less efficient factories, and increase shipping distances. Add in the mercury (in the CFL bulbs), and it’s not clear how good this law is for the environment. Its clearest benefit is to the companies who lobbied for it.


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