Planet Gore

Just what the government ordered: $50 light bulbs

Particularly in an economy such as ours, what better for consumers than $50 light bulbs? Got me. Thankfully, they’re getting ready to hit stores, thanks to the federal government’s $10 million award (read: subsidy from U.S. taxpayers) to Philips. From Washington Post

The U.S. government last year announced a $10 million award, dubbed the “L Prize,” for any manufacturer that could create a “green” but affordable light bulb. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the prize would spur industry to offer the costly bulbs, known as LEDs, at prices “affordable for American families.” There was also a “Buy America” component. Portions of the bulb would have to be made in the United States. Now the winning bulb is on the market. The price is $50. Retailers said the bulb, made by Philips, is likely to be too pricey to have broad appeal. Similar LED bulbs are less than half the cost.

How the expensive bulb won a $10 million government prize meant to foster energy-efficient affordability is one of the curiosities that arise as the country undergoes a massive, mandated turnover from traditional incandescent lamps to more energy-efficient ones.

Call me simple, but Americans need more of their own money in their pockets, not bank loans to light their homes. How many Solyndras must there be before the powers that be in Washington decide that it’s time to “turn out the lights” on misguided energy subsidies? And financial prizes for innovation? Yep, already got that covered. It’s called the marketplace, and it doesn’t require government handouts. The L Prize and renewable-energy subsidies and all the rest are the fleecing of American tax dollars, pure and simple.

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