Today’s Phrase for Latin Lovers

Rex in Regno suo superiores habet Deum et Legem.

Translation:
The King in his Realm hath two superiors: God and the Law. -- Henry Care (1646-1688) on English liberties and the Magna Carta

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Ancient History

|Prudence Potpourri | Tea Party | Updated

$50 Light Bulbs? Not If SC Has Its Way

The AP reported that two US companies think they have figured out how to make a 100-watt LED light bulb to replace the incandescent ones that will be banned in seven short months because of impossible standards set by the Congress and Bush administration.

Only problem: It will cost $50 a bulb. Oh, the price may come down in five or so years and there are still big product design issues before they will be widely functional, but no worries. According to the optimistic report:

To encourage energy efficiency, Congress passed a law in 2007 mandating that bulbs producing 100 watts worth of light meet certain efficiency goals, starting in 2012. Conventional light bulbs don’t meet those goals, so the law will prohibit making or importing them. The same rule will start apply to remaining bulbs 40 watts and above in 2014. Since January, California has already banned stores from restocking 100-watt incandescent bulbs.

Creating good alternatives to the light bulb has been more difficult than expected, especially for the very bright 100-watt bulbs. Part of the problem is that these new bulbs have to fit into lamps and ceiling fixtures designed for older technology.

Compact fluorescents are the most obvious replacement, but they have drawbacks. They contain a small amount of toxic mercury vapor, which is released if they break or are improperly thrown away. They last longer than traditional bulbs but not as long as LEDs. Brighter models are bulky and may not fit in existing fixtures.

So far, Congress doesn’t seem to be batting an eye about the impending crisis in home lighting. They created this problem; they can easily stop it. It’s pure insanity to think that the American household can withstand any further bludgeoning of its wallet, especially as the recession drags on and on due to such foolish legislation. Does any Congress member buy his own light bulbs? Have they noticed what the AP report outlined:

Philips has been selling a 60-watt-equivalent bulb at Home Depot since December that’s quite similar to the one submitted to the contest. But it’s slightly dimmer, consumes 2 watts too much power and costs $40, whereas the L Prize target is $22. Sylvania sells a similar LED bulb at Lowe’s, also for $40.

However, LED prices are coming down quickly. The DoE expects a 60-watt equivalent LED bulb to cost $10 by 2015, putting them within striking range of the price of a compact fluorescent bulb.

Note that’s “striking range”—a generous phrase that means “still more expensive than the awful toxic CFL bulbs, and nearly 20 times the cost of an incandescent bulb.” [At present, the Home Depot website shows a 6-pack of GE Double Life (i.e. more expensive) Soft White 100-watt bulbs for $3.47. That’s six bulbs for one-third of the expected cost of one bulb in four years, maybe if everything goes as the government says it will.]

But don’t worry about how expensive those bulbs will be, because the genius behind the plan is that like Obama wanted us to go out and buy more efficient cars if we couldn’t afford the high gas prices, it seems we’re going to be expected to replace all the light fixtures in our ceilings and walls and on our tables:

Bob Karlicek, the director of the Smart Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., thinks that price is achievable.

But, he said, “it’s not necessarily clear to people in the lighting industry that LED chips were ever meant to go into a bulb.”

What’s really needed, he said, is a new approach to lighting — new fixtures and lamps that spread out the LEDs, avoiding the heat problem.

Instead of waiting for future news reports about grannies having to choose between having light in the evenings or their medicine, the South Carolina legislature is poised to do something about it.

As I reported previously:

LIGHT BULB FREEDOM
Also in SC, while still battling with the Obama administration over its right to invite whatever company it wishes to do business in the right-to-work state, the state has legislation in the works that will promote manufacturing in the state, save or create jobs lost due to federal government extremism and give consumers a quality product they want: the incandescent light bulb.

An excellent look by the Heritage Foundation at the questionable savings to be had by CFL bulbs said:

The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act, which unanimously passed South Carolina’s Senate panel, would allow South Carolina manufacturers to continue to sell incandescent bulbs so long as they have “Made in South Carolina” on them and are sold only within the state. Other states have floated the idea, and last year Arizona passed a bill that would have done the same thing, but Governor Jan Brewer (R) vetoed the legislation.

The measure is sure to face a legal challenge if the SC legislature passes it. It was for that reason that Brewer issued her veto, not because she was afraid to battle the US on another front, but that a similar bill for manufacturing and selling guns solely within the confines of Arizona has already passed. Brewer believes that lawsuit will settle the light bulb manufacturing issue as well. The Arizona Capitol Times wrote:

Brewer wrote in her veto letter that the guns bill is a better way for Arizona to assert its 10th Amendment rights because the state would need to begin mining and processing tungsten, a critical component of incandescent light bulbs.

“I believe that the Firearms Freedom Act is the more immediate and practical vehicle for achieving this objective,” Brewer wrote in her veto letter. “HB2337 would take many more years to achieve its goal.”

The South Carolina light bulb freedom measure goes beyond just merely providing SC citizens the freedom to escape government coercion into buying inferior toxic products. The ban will ultimately produce no savings—despite Heritage’s report giving leeway for some costs to be possibly saved. It’s well known to anyone but lefties and government bureaucrats that when consumers reduce their consumption, the utility company makes less money. As a result, the utility raises the cost per unit rate in order to maintain its revenue flow. Thus, the consumer now pays more for consuming less.

More importantly, however, this is just one more example of the federal government’s actions destroying American manufacturing and American jobs, for a bunch of do-gooderism. [Note: The banning of incandescent bulbs was enacted under President Bush in 2007.] As reported by the AP:

If the South Carolina bill passes, it could boost hiring at American Light Bulb Manufacturing Inc., which has a factory in Mullins, in an impoverished, rural part of the state, president Ray Schlosser said from the company’s headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill. The plant is in Marion County, the state’s capital for unemployment, with one-fifth of the work force jobless.

“The federal government was just trying to shove this down Americans’ throats too quickly,” Schlosser said.

Before the 2007 law, he had three production lines with 50 workers making the bulbs. But Schlosser said he is down to a single line with 15 workers and a single U.S. competitor, Sylvania. Most of the incandescent bulb business is now overseas. GE made its last incandescent bulb in the U.S. last fall.

It’s not too late to save this American industry. It’s not too late to save these American jobs. If America doesn’t want them, South Carolina does.

The only problem with the South Carolina plan? Only SC citizens can benefit from it. The rest of the 49 states will have to just suck it up and get used to a non-incandescent life.

It’s time that everyone contacted their Senators and Congressmen and tell them to make it a priority to repeal the light bulb legislation. Tell them it’s time to see the light.

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