If they’re so great, why do we need a law to make people buy them?


From the list of Shit That Pisses Me Off:

The incandescent light bulb isn’t dead
Reports were greatly exaggerated

Perhaps you’ve heard the news: the incandescent light bulb is dead. “When the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, the year ends — and so does the ordinary lightbulb,” wrote Fox News. CNN even penned an obituary. That’s because, according to countless media reports, January 1st marks the “light bulb ban.” Today’s the day when the US government finally phases out the dated technology by banning the manufacture or import of 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent bulbs, which are repeatedly cited as the most popular bulbs in the US. The reports typically suggest that consumers get used to buying pricier, more efficient compact fluorescent or LED bulbs, or else stock up on incandescents while supplies last.

Unfortunately, little of that is true. There is no such thing as an incandescent light bulb ban in the United States. In fact, on the very same day that the 60-watt incandescent light bulb disappears, you’ll be able to buy a 43-watt incandescent light bulb to take its place. Or a 72-watt incandescent bulb. Or a 150-watt incandescent bulb. Or a three-way incandescent light bulb. Or one with a more durable filament for “rough service” applications. There are literally dozens of loopholes. “It’s not like tomorrow people won’t be able to buy an incandescent light bulb,” says GE’s John Strainic.

So what is actually happening on January 1st? The cost of an ordinary light bulb will drastically rise — and hopefully your electricity bill will fall. The so-called bulb ban is simply a government-mandated energy efficiency standard at work. Seven years ago, President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (PDF) into law, and its final light bulb provisions take effect today. They simply require that the most popular light bulbs are roughly 25 percent more efficient — that you only need 43 watts to generate the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent.

And it just so happens that such 43-watt incandescent bulbs already exist — they’re known as halogen. Halogen incandescent bulbs complement the tungsten filament of a traditional incandescent bulb with halogen gas which helps them burn more efficiently. Now, manufacturers claim halogen incandescents look and work nearly identically to the original. GE says they can have the same shape, size, brightness, color temperature, color rendering index (CRI), and dim the same too. Unfortunately, they cost a lot more. While you could buy incandescent bulbs for as little as 25 cents each last year, you can expect to pay upwards of $1.50 for each halogen incandescent. “Halogen technology is a little more expensive to use and manufacture,” admits Strainic, who says he doesn’t expect those prices to change drastically even if halogen bulbs really take off.

But theoretically, these new bulbs pay for themselves. Where a traditional 60W bulb costs roughly $8 per year for three hours of light each day, a 43W bulb can put out the same amount of light for only $6 worth of electricity, according to manufacturer estimates. That would more than cover the cost of the bulb.

I’m not saying that halogen bulbs are a bad idea, but if they’re so great why do we need a law to make people buy them? Let the marketplace decide – that’s democracy in action. If I want to drive a giant Humvee that gets 15 gallons to the mile, what’s it to you?

There has been a lot of government money that went into developing these new “green” technologies. I’m sure it was just a coincidence that most of it when to politically-connected companies like Solyndra.

Those old fashioned tungsten lightbulbs have been around since 1906 – long enough for the patents to run out. That means companies in China and Mexico can manufacture them without having to pay royalties. The newer halogen, CFL and LED designs are covered by lucrative patents. What makes those patents so lucrative are government mandates forcing us to buy the new designs.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

There is an unholy marriage of the Nanny State and Crony Capitalism. Over and over again we see where laws that are “for our own good” turn out to be windfalls for certain industries that also turn out to have been heavily involved in pushing for those new laws.

The worst part of the whole thing is having to deal with smarmy know-it-all Progs who lecture condescendingly to me about how much better off I am.


I knew I was right but I didn’t think it would be this easy to prove it:

The 2007 Energy Bill, a stew of regulations and subsidies, set mandatory efficiency standards for most light bulbs. Any bulbs that couldn’t produce a given brightness at the specified energy input would be illegal. That meant the 25-cent bulbs most Americans used in nearly every socket of their home would be outlawed.

People often assume green regulations like this represent the triumph of environmental activists trying to save the plant. That’s rarely the case, and it wasn’t here. Light bulb manufacturers whole-heartedly supported the efficiency standards. General Electric, Sylvania and Philips — the three companies that dominated the bulb industry — all backed the 2007 rule, while opposing proposals to explicitly outlaw incandescent technology (thus leaving the door open for high-efficiency incandescents).

This wasn’t a case of an industry getting on board with an inevitable regulation in order to tweak it. The lighting industry was the main reason the legislation was moving. As the New York Times reported in 2011, “Philips formed a coalition with environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council to push for higher standards.”


Competitive markets with low costs of entry have a characteristic that consumers love and businesses lament: very low profit margins. GE, Philips and Sylvania dominated the U.S. market in incandescents, but they couldn’t convert that dominance into price hikes. Because of light bulb’s low material and manufacturing costs, any big climb in prices would have invited new competitors to undercut the giants — and that new competitor would probably have won a distribution deal with Wal-Mart.

So, simply the threat of competition kept profit margins low on the traditional light bulb — that’s the magic of capitalism. GE and Sylvania searched for higher profits by improving the bulb — think of the GE Soft White bulb. These companies, with their giant research budgets, made advances with halogen, LED and fluorescent technologies, and even high-efficiency incandescents. They sold these bulbs at a much higher prices — but they couldn’t get many customers to buy them for those high prices. That’s the hard part about capitalism — consumers, not manufacturers, get to demand what something is worth.

Capitalism ruining their party, the bulb-makers turned to government. Philips teamed up with NRDC. GE leaned on its huge lobbying army — the largest in the nation — and soon they were able to ban the low-profit-margin bulbs.

Follow the money.

BTW – The CEO of General Electric is Jeffery Immelt, a “top economic advisor” to Barack Obama.


About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
This entry was posted in Crony Capitalism, Nanny State, Shit That Pisses Me Off and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

107 Responses to If they’re so great, why do we need a law to make people buy them?

  1. The Klown says:
  2. The Klown says:


  3. votermom says:

    Maybe if HHS offers a free carton of incandescent bulbs if you sign up for Obamacare, they would get their enrollment numbers up.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Top of my Christmas list was a CASE of 40 and 60 watters. Got ’em ! I’m set for a couple of years, maybe the new guy or gal in the Big Oval will give us back free enterprise.

      I hate those curly fry bulbs because if you break one you pretty much have to call a hazemat team in to clean it up. So much for our government protecting us.

  4. driguana says:

    Legalize pot, abortions, gay marriages but make it more expensive to buy incandescent light bulb….wow, the light has gone one for sure.
    And, also, I do believe that GE also has the contract for dealing with medical records under Obamacare. I think a quick look back at Obama’s top 50 bundlers from the 2008 election might shed a little light on things.

  5. driguana says:

    Muckety is also a good one to look back at to see how crony capitalism is unfolding….realizing “they all do it”, Obama’s efforts are really staying the course…

  6. votermom says:

    Kid wanted me to tell her bedtimes stories so I told her the plots of several old sf short stories from the 50s/60s, including the set-up of Harrison Bergeron.

  7. DeniseVB says:

    The White House wishes us a Happy New Year with this strange photo. Looks like MO’s trying to get away from BO. 😉

  8. DeniseVB says:

    Vilest of the Vile Progs wishing death on Barbara Bush.


  9. DeniseVB says:

    From a local nyc news site, but just posting for the photo of Hillary Clinton, new ‘do ? Haven’t seen her with big bangs before…..


  10. helenk3 says:


    was John Roberts smart like a fox in his decision on obamacare?

    • Lulu says:

      I thought so. I guess I still do but it is a hard lesson to the electorate. And he let states opt out of the financial burden of Medicaid which is going to become a crippling big deal in just a few years. I do not think even Roberts thought it would be this much of a disaster.

    • Interesting but not convincing, IMO. The results are more serendipitous than planned.

  11. votermom says:

  12. votermom says:

    My twitter connect tab is infested with prog trolls

    Here’s the dumbest one so far

  13. votermom says:

  14. The Klown says:
  15. Lulu says:

    “A Starbucks super fan ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the coffee chain every day for a whole year as part of a challenge.”
    “Mother-of-two Beautiful Existence splashed out close to $700 (£423) a month dining at the chain every day of 2013.”
    “Full-time mum Beautiful can spend up to £20 a day at Starbucks and has whittled her way through the entire menu dozens of times over.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2532122/Starbucks-super-fan-eats-breakfast-lunch-dinner-coffee-chain-day-YEAR-costing-700-month.html

    She also documented this on a blog. My questions are why? And what did she feed her children? She changed her name to Beautiful Existence which seems rather sad if she chooses to eat in a Starbucks everyday for a year.

    • 1539days says:

      If you think “Supersize Me” is bad, (it was fake) you could probably die from a year of the Starbucks menu.

      • votermom says:

        Do you have proof Supersize Me is fake? That would be handy the next time I talk to this one person here.

        • 1539days says:

          A good place to start is the movie “Fat Head.” It’s on YouTube. The movie starts to go off the deep end with its own anti-carb message. He points out that Morgan Spurlock has never to this day released the actual “diet” or list of McDonalds items he ate that month, since the calorie counts he mentioned in the movie and press would be nearly impossible even eating the “super size” items.

  16. The Klown says:

    These mid-week holidays get me all screwed up. I keep thinking it’s Monday.

  17. DandyTIger says:

  18. The Klown says:

    This post has gotta be a record for the lowest percentage of on-topic comments ever.

  19. mothy67 says:

    Congrats Votermom on thread at Ace.

  20. The Klown says:
    • votermom says:

      I’m so bummed this isn’t on netflix.
      Curse you, amazon prime!

      • mothy67 says:

        Prime seems like a better deal than Netflix. My Netflix got cancelled because I forgot to update after losing card. Got a free month of Huluplus for using Bing so was going g to wait til thAt expired before re-upping. But Amazon looks like a better deal just based on the two day free shipping. Am I missing something?

  21. The Klown says:
    • leslie says:

      Now that Leslie Frazier has been fired as the head coach of he Vikings, will this player be rehired?

  22. helenk3 says:



    Kerry to shift state dept focus to global warming

    we are so screwed

  23. The Klown says:

    WTF?? PIV – Penis in vagina

    PIV is always rape, ok?

    Just to recall a basic fact: Intercourse/PIV is always rape, plain and simple.

    This is a developed recap from what I’ve been saying in various comments here and there in the last two years or so. as a radfem I’ve always said PIV is rape and I remember being disappointed to discover that so few radical feminists stated it clearly. How can you possibly see it otherwise? Intercourse is the very means through which men oppress us, from which we are not allowed to escape, yet some instances of or PIV and intercourse may be chosen and free? That makes no sense at all.

    First, well intercourse is NEVER sex for women. Only men experience rape as sexual and define it as such. Sex for men is the unilateral penetration of their penis into a woman (or anything else replacing and symbolising the female orifice) whether she thinks she wants it or not – which is the definition of rape: that he will to do it anyway and that he uses her and treats her as a receptacle, in all circumstances – it makes no difference to him experiencing it as sexual. That is, at the very least, men use women as useful objects and instruments for penetration, and women are dehumanised by this act. It is an act of violence.

    As FCM pointed out some time ago, intercourse is inherently harmful to women and intentionally so, because it causes pregnancy in women. The purpose of men enforcing intercourse regularly (as in, more than once a month) onto women is because it’s the surest way to cause pregnancy and force childbearing against our will, and thereby gain control over our reproductive powers. There is no way to eliminate the pregnancy risk entirely off PIV and the mitigating and harm-reduction practices such as contraception and abortion are inherently harmful, too. Reproductive harms of PIV range from pregnancy to abortion, having to take invasive, or toxic contraception, giving birth, forced child bearing and rearing and all the complications that go with them which may lead up to severe physical and emotional damage, disability, destitution, illness, or death (See factcheckme.wordpress.com for her work on the reproductive harms of PIV, click on the “intercourse series” page or “PIV” in the search bar). If we compare this to even the crappiest online definition of violence: “behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something”. Bingo. It fits: Pregnancy = may hurt, damage or kill. Intercourse = a man using his physical force to penetrate a woman. Intention / purpose of the act of intercourse = to cause pregnancy. PIV is therefore intentional harm / violence. Intentional sexual harm of a man against a woman through penile penetration = RAPE.

    If we look at the act in more detail (skip this parag if you can’t take it), PIV is a man mounting on a woman to thrust a large member of himself into her most intimate parts, often forcing her to be entirely naked, banging himself against her with the whole weight of his body and hips, shaking her like he would stuff a corpse, then using her insides as a receptacle for his penile dejection. How is this a normal civilised, respectful way to treat anyone? Sorry for the explicit picture, but this is what it is and it’s absolutely revolting and violating.

    The term “fuck you” is not an insult for nothing, men know why – it’s the worst thing you can do to a human being. It is in itself an extremely physically invasive act, very often painful, generally at the beginning before the pain may be cut off by the genital arousal; causes all sorts of tears, bruises, swelling, discomfort, STDs, vaginal infections, urinary infections, genital warts, HIV and death. Not to forget the additional sado-gynecological interventions/ costs of PIV-maintenance, and all the secondary physical mutiliation and financial costs that go with our duty to make ourselves look decorative for male sexual consumption – such as hair removal, make-up, starvation or forced feeding, torturous limb deforming or cutting up, etc.

    The fact intercourse causes so many infections and tears and warts attests to the unnaturalness of intercourse, that it’s not meant to be. The vagina’s primary function isn’t to be penetrated by a penis but to eject a baby for birth. They are two muscle tissues / sphincters pressed against each other to help the baby be pushed out. Penetration of the penis into the vagina is completely unnecessary for conception.

    There’s a reason men need to groom us into it, and why this grooming takes so long- because it’s so grossly violating and traumatising that we would otherwise never submit to intercourse. The only reason we may now not feel raped or have the impression we desired or initiated PIV, is because men broke down our barriers very skillfully and progressively from birth, breaking down our natural defences to pain and invasion, our confidence in our own perceptions and sensations of fear and disgust that tell us male sexual invasion is painful, harmful and traumatic.

    Through an all-pervasive and powerful male propaganda, they stuff our minds from infancy with the idea that PIV is normal, desirable and erotic, before we can even conceive of it as something horrifying, and make sure we never see any alternative to their lie – or that if we do, we can no longer take in the information, are punished for thinking and saying otherwise. The fact we may not immediately feel raped doesn’t mean it’s not rape, objectively speaking. To give a classic example, many women in prostitution may not identify the act of prostitution as rape, except if the act wasn’t paid for. It doesn’t stop us from saying that all prostitution is rape. We know that our subjective feelings or thoughts may be colonised by men’s perspectives and as radical feminists we don’t let that override and erase the objective reality of violence. (PS -The reason why ONLY the lack of payment is defined as rape is because the offence here isn’t against the prostituted woman but the pimp who was deprived of his income. Rape comes from rapt, which is an old word for theft of woman-as-property.)

    Lastly, from a structural point of view, as a class oppressed by men, we are not in any position of freedom to negotiate what men do to us collectively and individually within the heterocage. Men, by whom we are possessed, colonised and held captive, are the sole agents and organisers of PIV. Men dominate us precisely so we can’t opt out of sexual abuse by them; intercourse is the very means through which men subordinate us, the very purpose of their domination, to control human reproduction.

    • votermom says:

      So, according to this person, women never want babies, and also, I guess the corollary is that buttsecks is to be preferred to intercourse.

      And the comments on that post are full of crazy ppl.

      • underwhelmed says:

        Very very very sad. I can’t imagine the kind of experiences she’s had to make her truly believe that her view of the world is legitimate. Same with the commenters. Damaged doesn’t begin to describe it.

        OTOH and OT, it seems O Simpson could have a brain tumour. I suppose I’m going to burn in hell for not being sorry. At all.

        • Somebody says:

          OK so I clicked the link and actually waded through those comments, they are indeed very sad. Clearly the blog is a collection of screwed up women……..haha!

          It doesn’t appear that any of them have ever had a real relationship. I think actually their issues go much deeper than that, but I’ll keep my analysis to myself.

    • 1539days says:

      I made it my news year’s resolution to only be outraged by blogs with readers.

    • Somebody says:

      That’s just whack, this chick needs some kind of psychological help.

    • DandyTIger says:

      She has reached a level of crazy heretofore never seen by humankind. I am impressed and giving her a standing slow clap. Brava batshit lady, brava.

    • Jadzia says:

      Jesus, this is from Shakesville, right?

  24. 1539days says:

    I’ve used CFL bulbs for almost a decade. My gripe is that in places like where I live, it can get into double digits below zero. CFLs have an operational temperature of about 32F. I guess my garage and front yard will be in the dark during the winter.

    Regulation also has unintended consequences. Extended daylight savings keeps lights on longer in the morning. Low-flow toilets lead to double flushing. Did you know the average cable box uses more electricity than 2 standard light bulbs? They’re regulating those next. I can’t wait to see how badly that turns out.

    • Somebody says:

      I don’t like the light of CFL bulbs and I don’t like the fact that you need a hazmat team if you break one.

      We slowly replaced most of our bulbs with LEDs. We have mostly recessed lighting and the LEDs really made a big difference in our electric bill. I couldn’t imagine replacing them all at once though because they’re expensive. We like the ecosmart brand at Home Depot, HD has an exclusive contract with them. We like them for the recessed lights, in our ceiling fans and bathrooms we bought the bulbs at Costco.

      I still think the new laws about light bulbs are ridiculous. If people want to buy CFL or LED bulbs then they can, but don’t force people to buy more expensive light bulbs.

  25. Somebody says:

    OT only because I want us to set a record for OT comments……..I need to get drunk if I’m going to watch any more of the sugar bowl. Bama just doesn’t have their mojo. The Auburn game hurt, still does, but this one is worse so far.

  26. DandyTIger says:

  27. Lulu says:

    The UK’s Daily Mail had a story on the debacle of Obamacare in its first day which the US media is unwilling to report on. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2532869/They-no-idea-insurance-active-not-At-Virginia-hospitals-Obamacare-confusion-reigns-frustrated-patients-walk-out.html
    The hospital ER in northern VA was asking for insurance ID cards (I signed up last week!), proof of payment of premium (I haven’t got a bill yet!), amounts they would be required to pay before any tests were done or to be admitted (what!, but I have Obamacare!). Many left without medical treatment.

    The Daily Mail also noted that one person said they had “signed up” a couple of days before Christmas for a specific plan although they had no proof like a computer printout, cancelled check or credit card readout much less a health insurance card for the hospital to bill for services. This plan has a “$5,500 per-person deductible for 2014 – an amount she would have to pay out-of-pocket before her coverage would apply to medical expenses.” so she would have to pay anyway even with proof of insurance.

    The story doesn’t go into detail that the “signed up” plan referenced also only pays 80% of approved charges per service (20% is to be paid by the insured person so the deductible is really $6600 per person which they have to cough up. And that the hospital may be “out of network” so the patient would be responsible for 100% of the bill and it would not apply towards ANNUAL deductible. The hospital doesn’t know if these people are in network because they don’t know what their plan is or if they even have one. If they are in network, if they do have a verified health plan, the approved charges ($500 estimated chest X ray) would be perhaps half (or $250) of which 80% ($200) would apply to the deductible. Of course this does not include physician services, medication, or anything else that happens in the ER. And there is a co-pay in there somewhere but it not mentioned as well as a insurance pre-approval before ER services are authorized.

    It is estimated that 20% (I think that is low and is more like 30-40%) of the population understands terms such as health insurance network, co-pay, annual deductible, approved charges, etc. How many Obamacare “sign ups” understand they have to pay a premium or that it is not in effect until the payment clears the insurance company? How many understand that insurance companies are not going to pay for an ER for stuff that should be treated in doctors offices. And how many are going to finally comprehend that doctors have to be in network to take their new shiny shit insurance for which a huge deductible will have to be met also.

    I am not surprised that a UK media source is first to cover this. Who is going to be the first person to die as a result of this catastrophe? And will the US media even bother to cover it? I think eventually they will have to do so. The political operatives that the WH is rolling out as happy Obamacare enrollees have not been to the ER yet. And I would like for a media reporter to ask them for PROOF that they are Obamacare insured because I don’t think many will have it.

  28. It will get worse, fast. But will not be newsworthy. Until someone really “important” is impacted. Only then will it be suddenly discovered. {{SlamDesk}}

    • Lulu says:

      So it has to reach Armageddon stage before they notice? That will go over well. I have noticed the media picking up stuff from Daily Mail because they get so many US readers but I guess WH orders come before profit.

  29. Lulu says:

    Ezra Klein is rumored to be leaving the WaPo. They wouldn’t give him 10 mil plus (to start a new blog he wanted eight figures). I can picture Jeff Bezos saying “Are you shitting me?”. Ezra wanted a blog within a blog within a website. Or something. The NYT thinks it is funny too. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/03/business/media/blogger-said-to-plan-to-leave-the-post.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1&

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