Obama’s War on Light Bulbs

by Greg Pollowitz

What would Thomas Edison say? IBD editors:

Eco-Extremism: A light bulb factory closes in Virginia as mandated fluorescents are made in China. It’s now a crime to make or ship for sale 75-watt incandescent bulbs in the European Union. Welcome to green hell.

Thomas Alva Edison was a genius credited with the invention of many things — the phonograph, the motion picture, the incandescent light bulb, global warming. That last credit was given by those who rank light bulbs right up there with the internal combustion engine as ravagers of the planet.

The General Electric light bulb factory in Winchester, Va., closed this month, a victim, along with its 200 employees, of a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014.

Just as they are by fuel-economy standards, consumers are denied choice and the freedom to evaluate any possible benefits on their own by the nanny state. Washington’s force and coercion are necessary because it seems the great unwashed can’t seem to see the benefits or ignore the risks of compact fluorescents, or CFLs.

In Europe, light bulbs are already a controlled substance. The 100-watt bulb was banned last year and the 75-watt became illegal as of Sept. 1.

Not surprisingly, incandescent light bulbs there quickly became a hot item, flying off the shelves while they were still available. Der Spiegel reported that German customers leave hardware stores with carts piled high with enough incandescent bulbs to last 20 years. Garages and attics throughout the Old World are full of them.

It’s said that CFL bulbs are more economical in the long run because they supposedly use up to 80% less energy than old-style bulbs and don’t burn out as quickly. Though we’re not fully convinced of these claims, we do know that CFL bulbs are more expensive, costing up to six times as much as equivalent incandescent bulbs. Because they are made of glass tubes twisted into a spiral, they also require more hand labor and therefore cost more.

The rest here.