The Incandescent Light Bulb ban, …and the ACTUAL Dim Bulbs behind the whole mess

I went to the store last weekend to buy some replacement 100-watt light bulbs….and I couldn’t find any.

Now, they had puh-lenty of bulbs: the squiggly, wiggly ones, along with several other shapes I’d never seen before. Plus, they also had a modest section of the normal incandescent 60- and 75-watt bulbs, but no 100’s.

And then I recalled, again, the Great Light Bulb Debacle®.


If you need a refresher on this subject, or if you’d just appreciate a fresh excuse to grind some of the enamel off your teeth, here you go (h/t the Washington Times):

The free market operates by offering incentives to consumers to change their behavior. Cutting prices, advertising and developing new products redirect the public’s impulses in a natural, painless way. The government, on the other hand, has no passion or patience for this sort of thing.

Words like “must,” “shall,” and “mandate” pepper the texts of laws like Obamacare. The incandescent light-bulb ban, which goes into effect in March, is another case in point. The bulbs aren’t officially banned, just artificially obsolete.

As part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Congress mandated that light bulbs have 25 percent greater efficiency, phased in starting in 2012 and continuing until 2014. The law also includes a slew of mandates on appliances and energy use in federal buildings.

A 310-page masterpiece of micromanagement, the law was promoted heavily by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Democrat, and signed by President George W. Bush. The bill was driven by a consortium of manufacturers that stand to profit from forcing people to buy more expensive bulbs and fixtures, plus the environmental lobby, which likes to pretend government regulations can lower the planet’s temperature.

Ah, our benevolent government. Ya’ know, I expect such idiocy from ‘San Fran Nan’, but I’m more ticked off at Dubya for signing this than anything else he ever did.

Of course, the Progressives and various Eco-Warriors were/are thrilled with it. It’s another notch in their organic hemp-belts: one more way that they can control our lives, and make us more desensitized to various Government agencies “knowing-what’s-best” for us.

Yeah…they have such a good track record with that.


I have several main problems with this whole ‘bulb’ madness:

  1. In a supposedly free society, I had no choice in this matter. And don’t even come at me with “Hey, the leaders were elected”: NO politician ran on outlawing Light Bulbs. It’s not as if I’m objecting to them altogether, either: make the bulbs better, cheaper, something…I’ll buy them. But that’s just not how Progressives work, now is it? Because I can’t be trusted to make the “right” decision by our Statist leaders. 
  2. Speaking of having no choice, didn’t we go through this same thing with 5-gallon flush toilets? Has everyone been ecstatic with your “new” toilets since 1994? They’ve been just great, right?
  3. These new CFL bulbs do not last nearly as long as advertised. I really am sick of this aspect of the alleged debate. CAN some of them last longer? Sure. DO all of them last longer? Not hardly: half of the ones we’ve used have lasted roughly the normal (incandescent) amount of time; the other half lasted twice that. None of them lasted anything approaching the “8000 hours” that the package promised. Not. One. And since they ALL cost about four to ten times as much (or more), if only half them last barely twice as long, …well, the math isn’t making my debit card very happy.
  4. Virtually ALL of these new bulbs are made overseas. The last domestic GE plant that made the traditional incandescents closed back in September of 2010. So, in addition to being unpopular, it cost us American jobs, too. Isn’t that swell??
  5. broken-cfl-bulb1All my life I’ve been told that Mercury is dangerous, which primarily stems from the outbreak of Minamata disease in Japan in the 50’s. Since 2001, at least 20 states have banned mercury “fever thermometers” for medical use, and regulations tighten every year. And in spite of all that, we now have our own Federal Government mandating we put glass-objects-which-contain mercury-yet-break-easily throughout our homes? Gee… thanks, guys!

Actually, Mark Steyn did a riff  last year on the “easy”, 13-step process with which you can clean up one of these CFL’s in your home, should one break:


All is not lost; not YET, at least. First of all, there’s this:

Alarmed at the prospect of being forced by law to purchase expensive, squiggly compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs instead of cheap, warm incandescent bulbs, Americans complained loudly.

In the face of a popular revolt, Congress pushed the start date back to October 2012 and defunded enforcement of efficiency standards as part of the 2012 and 2013 appropriations bills.

And, the technology is racing desperately, trying to stay one step ahead of the morons in power. I found an excellent article from just a few weeks ago on these newest bulbs, and it includes some issues you may have already encountered or may yet in the near future: “LED, CFL, GU24: Lighting in 2012“.

Bulbs with all the same lumens, but left to right: GeoBulb LED (7.5 W), typical incandescent (70 W), typical CFL (13 W). Photo via 'trenttsd'

It really is a shame that you’re not “bright” enough to choose the GOOD bulb… Oh, well: that’s why your government is Here To Help!

I’ll leave you with this rhetorical question, from the Times article:

“Some consumers like the trendy fluorescent light bulbs despite the cited risks and expense. Others prefer the cheap, safe bulbs that don’t have to be recycled and were made in America.

Forcing everyone to use only government-approved bulbs is classic overreach.

Whose bright idea was that?”

13 responses to “The Incandescent Light Bulb ban, …and the ACTUAL Dim Bulbs behind the whole mess

  1. This just in: The government is hiring thousands of new union employees who will also screw in the light bulbs for those who aren’t smart enough to pick out their own bulbs. As President Obama said: “What we need is a level playing field, where the smarter and brighter MUST pay more to ‘level the playing field’ for those victims of LBSS (Light Bulb Stupidity Syndrome).”

    Liberals around the country proclaimed it the most thoughtful act of any President, and fully supported the tax.

    Years from now, when sickness and death are reported from the mercury exposure, Republicans will undoubtedly be blamed.

  2. This stuff just churns my stomach acid.
    Thanks for the reminder, JTR.
    We need a list of these government forced wonders.

  3. Bravo! I remember thinking when I bought my first (and last) CFL’s a few years ago, how do they know these things will last 7 years when they’ve only been on the market for a few? Answer – they didn’t. Then I realized why they use less energy. The (equivalent) CFL bulb simply throws fewer lumens than the old incandescents. But now, inspired by Mr. Steyn’s presentation I have an inspiration which may yet help save America. On Monday I’m going to go out and buy a face mask, put the dogs in the back yard, remove my remaining CFL’s and break them, put them in a box and ship them to the White House. I doubt they will reach the President’s desk, but I may get a few bureaucrats in the process.

    • Interesting idea: you COULD look at that as “recycling….”

      Thanks for being here, Juwanna!

    • Almost forgot: yes, CFLs appear to throw less light. Or inferior light.
      Certainly ‘different’ light.

      Which goes back to choice: it’s different, and I don’t view it as a positive, …yet we’re patted on the head and told that “Really, it’s much better. Really”.

      Well, I don’t think it is.

      But, in classic Leftist style, when they find something “better” for everyone (healthcare, toilets, light bulbs, energy sources, etc) their 1st choice is always an attempt to OUTLAW ITS COMPETITION.

      Gotta say this about Statists: they ARE predictable ….

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  5. and only 1-2% grid usage mainly off-peak night, (DoE USA, DEFRA, EU data)
    same coal burned then anyway.

    14 points referenced why ban makes no sense

    • Thanks for the link, Lighthouse! Nice article…

      As I replied to you on Twitter, these bans are illogical on their face. They seek only to control us and to limit our freedom.
      They false intentions that they offer are smoke & nonsense: if they are superior, let the markets determine their competitive worth.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Hope to have you back soon!

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