A federal law banning ordinary incandescent light bulbs has already had a negative effect on the American economy — GE has closed its last major bulb producing factory in the United States, creating job opportunities in China.
Legislation enacted in 2007 orders the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs beginning with the 100-watt bulb in 2012 and ending with the 40-watt light in 2014. These bulbs cannot meet efficiency requirements dictated by law.
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are the least expensive alternative. But the manufacture of CFLs is “labor intensive and too expensive to be done at U.S. wage rates,” according to a report from The Heartland Institute, which estimates that domestically produced CFLs would be 50 percent more expensive than bulbs manufactured in China.
So instead of retrofitting its plant in Winchester, Va., to produce CFLs, GE closed the plant in September and laid off 200 workers.
CFLs are already being manufactured in China, and increasing American demand will no doubt create new jobs there.
As the Insider Report disclosed earlier, while CFLs use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last far longer, they cost significantly more, take longer to turn on, can flicker, and contain small amounts of highly toxic mercury, which creates problems for users when they break or need to be disposed of after they burn out.
“Environmental activists and their allies in Washington were either too ignorant of basic economics to see these job losses coming, or they were simply too callous to really care,” said Heartland Institute science director Jay Lehr.
“Either way, compact fluorescent light bulbs in the real world fail to live up to environmental promises, unnecessarily subject American households to toxic mercury, produce poor-quality light, and are sending American workers to the unemployment line.”
And Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said: “If the new energy-saving technologies being pushed by government are really that good, then we don’t need government to mandate them. And if they are being mandated, that’s a sure sign that they’re not very good.”
Three Republican members of Congress — Joe Barton, Marsha Blackburn and Michael Burgess — have introduced a bill that would repeal the ban on the incandescent bulb.
The three said in an article on The Daily Caller: “The unanticipated consequence of the ’07 act — layoffs in the middle of a desperate recession — is what sometimes happens when politicians think they know better than consumers and workers.”
CFL Light Bulbs Are Dangerous, Cost Jobs
Tuesday, 28 Sep 2010 09:45 AM
Article By: Michael Reagan
It's should be called the law of unintended consequences, and Congress should learn to abide by it, taking enough time to discover whether the road they choose to follow is smooth or filled with ruts.
Back in 2007, the Congress in their wisdom ruled that starting in the year 2012 the ordinary incandescent light bulbs we've been using for ages must be phased out and completely regulated away by 2014. They are to be replaced by so-called CFLs, those twisted fluorescent gizmos that if dropped become tiny mercury bombs.
Why do away with something we've been using, without problems, for just about forever? Well, because they allegedly contribute to a deadly hazard that exists only in their minds — nonexistent global warming.
Just think, every time you turn on a light you are helping to barbecue the planet, according to Mr. Gore and his fellow global-warming alarmists in Congress.
Shame on you!
Congress totally ignored the warnings that the allegedly wondrous CFLs they want to jam down our throats use high levels of mercury and when they break, as light bulbs tend to do when we drop them, they scatter mercury like shrapnel when a shell explodes.
The clean-up required to undo the damage cause by dropped CFLs is extensive and hazardous as well.
In addition, medical experts warn that when broken, the bulbs Congress favors can cause migraine headaches and even epilepsy attacks. Moreover they are unreliable in colder temperatures, failing to emit much heat, are hostile to such gimmicks as dimmer switches, and their lifespan is limited by being frequently turned on or off.
In addition, in this period of economic uncertainty and growing unemployment, the replacement of our usual bulbs has cost a lot of jobs.
General Electric, for example, has closed factories in Kentucky and Ohio, and has recently announced they are closing their major incandescent factory in Winchester, Va. — a factory that employed 200 of our fellow Americans and the last major incandescent manufacturing facility in the United States.
That's good news for China and other countries that will take up the slack with CFL manufacture, but will also undoubtedly create a new form of bootlegging or, rather, bulblegging.
According to the Heritage Foundation, in an attempt to undo the damage Congress has done with this outlandish regulation, Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, Michael Burgess, R-Texas, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., have introduced the so-called "Better Use of Light Bulbs" (BULB) Act last week.
The act would repeal Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 — the phase-out of the incandescent bulb.
Said Rep. Blackburn: "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 U.S. market."
Does anyone in Congress care about the plight of American workers, or are they so deeply embedded in the fantasies of Al Gore that they are willing to put American workers out of work?
Thank God for the oncoming congressional elections. We'll have an opportunity to put out the lights on Capitol Hill for a lot of these crazed ideologues.
Mike Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation (www.reaganlegacyfoundation.org), and founder and chairman of The Reagan Group. Look for Mike’s books and other information at www.reagan.com.