Light at the end of the tunnel?

Well, sports fans, there just may be light at the end of the dark tunnel of the Nanny State’s attempt to dictate to us how to live our lives.

In what may be a futile gesture, Republicans in the House of Representatives are set to repeal the ban on incandescent light bulbs. This ban is not fully in effect yet, but it has already caused the lighting industry to essentially cease production of the older, cheaper bulbs. In favor of the much more expensive but longer-lasting alternatives such as the so-called compact fluorescent lamp, or CFL. You know, the bulb with mercury, such that if you break one you’ll need a special permit from the Environmental Protection Agency to remain in your house…

The newer bulbs have been shown to last longer, and, over their lifetimes, to save money. They also are just as bright as the incandescent bulbs they replace, so what’s the problem? There are two.

The more important problem is that the government, in its attempt to run all aspects of our lives, is denying us a choice of how we spend our money. If I’ve got only three dollars and need three light bulbs, I’ll be plumb out of luck if I can’t buy the much cheaper incandescents.

Then there’s the fact that the new bulbs take quite a while to heat up to full brightness. If you enter a room and really need light in a hurry, you’re again out of luck if you’ve installed CFLs. Which means that if you’ve got places that need light quickly, CFLs will tend to be left on. Which will certainly decrease any long-term cost advantage.

Regardless of which type of bulb saves money over the long haul, shouldn’t we all be entitled to decide for ourselves whether we want to save money up front or over five years? Let’s make informed choices, but let the choice be ours, not some unelected minion like energy secretary Steven Chu who just said “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.”

Fire this man; better yet, fire the guy who appointed him.

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