Sep 19 2010

Dim bulbs in Congress

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 11:04 pm

Repealing the ban on the common light bulb | RedState

On this page two weeks ago, Erick lamented the fact that American factory workers are losing jobs to China as a result of the de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb. Light bulbs seem to be a pretty simple part of our lives today. It gets dark, you flip a switch and presto – light happens. But a law passed by Democrats in 2007 – the Pelosi non-energy energy bill – banned nearly all use of the incandescent light bulb by 2014.

A recent Washington Post reported GE is shuttering a plant in Winchester, Va., killing 200 jobs in the process.

“‘Everybody’s jumping on the green bandwagon,’ said Pat Doyle, 54, who has worked at the plant for 26 years. But ‘we’ve been sold out. First sold out by the government. Then sold out by GE.’”

Turns out the compact florescent light bulb, or CFLs as they are commonly known, can’t be produced cheaply enough in America so we’ve turned to China, where virtually every CFL is produced.

Even the AFL-CIO isn’t happy about the move to CFLs. The labor union’s Web site, Screw That Bulb, makes the valid point that there are many ways to save electricity without shifting to the mercury-filled compact florescent bulb from China, or anywhere.

Fortunately, we were already working on legislation to repeal the ban. Today we’ve introduced H.R. 6144, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, which repeals the ban on the incandescent bulb that has been turning back the night ever since Thomas Edison ended the era of a world lit only by fire in 1879. It’s as simple as that, though technically it repeals Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

The unanticipated consequence of the ’07 act – Washington-mandated layoffs in the middle of a desperate recession – is one of many examples of what happens when politicians and activists think they know better than consumers and workers. From the health insurance you’re allowed to have, to the car you can drive, to the light bulbs you can buy, Washington is making too many decisions that are better left to people who work for their own paychecks and earn their own living.

We believe that the consumer, not Washington, is capable of deciding which light bulb works best. Democrats, however, believe that you just can’t be trusted to make the right decision. If Democrats want to show the folks back home that they understand the pent-up frustration in this country, they’ll start by supporting our bill.


Sep 19 2010

Big Box Green

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:39 am

Save the Planet: Shop Walmart

Walmart’s ruthless focus on reducing prices is driving producers everywhere to cut the costs of production: to switch to cheaper materials, use less packaging, cut down on waste of all kinds and to consolidate and rationalize both production and distribution. The result is a steady and inexorable decline in humanity’s impact on the environment for every unit of GDP.

The Green Police couldn’t do it any better. In fact, given the political cluelessness, uncertain signals (is nuclear energy a good thing or a bad thing?), and anti-scientific knuckle dragging from environmentalists on subjects like the use of GMOs in agriculture, it’s likely that a world run by Walmart would be both richer and cleaner than a world run by Greenpeace. Not that I want Walmart (or Greenpeace) to run the world, but at the end of the day, being ruthlessly cheap is the most important way of being green. To cut out waste, to use methods of production that cut the energy consumed at every stage in the process, to strip packaging to the barest minimum, to reduce the amount of raw materials in every product: this is the mother lode of green. This is how a growing human population limits its impact on the earth. This is where Walmart and green are as one.

More, by doing what so many of its critics hate and driving small mom and pop stores out of business, Walmart is making the planet greener still. It is much more energy-efficient to have one large store that receives large shipments than to have dozens of little trucks roaming the highways and byways with small deliveries to small retailers. It is also more efficient to have consumers come to one store for all their needs rather than having them drive all over creation — to the farmer’s market for the local rutabagas, to the small appliance and notion store for the toaster, to the pharmacy for the drugs, the optometrist for their glasses, to the butcher and baker and candlestick maker for everything else.

This conveys perfectly the economic ignorance of the greens. They hate capitalists, when they should love them, because capitalists have to compete for market share, and in the end, that usually produces more efficiencies than any amount of “green regulation”, which usually produces MORE pollution as an unintended consequence. The recent oil spill disaster in the Gulf, caused by the greens, forcing oil companies to drill in mile-deep water, all because they won’t allow drilling closer in, or on land, is only the latest example.

Hooray for Walmart, savior of the planet.