Our God-given light bulbs
I hesitate to suggest that the nation may have turned a corner, but it does seem that we reached a significant point last week: the discovery of a measure too stupid to pass the United States House of Representatives.
The measure was an attempt to repeal a law, passed in 2007, under a Republican administration, requiring light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy efficient as of 2012. The law, thought to be innocuous during the benign years of George W. Bush’s administration (Did I just say that?) has been attacked by tea party types as a nanny state attempt to take away our precious incandescent light bulbs.
A little while ago, the lights in the newsroom flickered as The Sun’s generator kicked in, as it has done every afternoon this week to reduce strain on the electricity supply as the temperatures approach 100. In a few hours, toward evening, the lights will flicker again as we return to the grid.
The electricity grid is under strain, with the demand for lighting and air conditioning and power for computers and other devices. Some of that demand is for traditional incandescent bulbs, which consume more energy than fluorescent and LED bulbs, and waste most of it as heat.
In 2007, the Congress, thinking it a good thing to conserve energy, passed that law to promote the general welfare. The law has had the happy effect of encouraging manufacturers to produce improved models of fluorescent and LED bulbs, producing more satisfactory light , reducing energy demand, and—though the new bulbs are initially more expensive—saving the consumer money. This is the measure represented as a palpable threat to our freedoms.
That the House declined to repeal it hints at a faint breath of sanity.