Republicans Are Totally in the Dark About Light Bulbs

Amy Keyishian

incandescent light bulbLet’s be very clear about one thing: I’m not a huge fan of energy-saving light bulbs. In fact, when we moved into our current apartment, the bathroom light was filled with the ugliest version of these things, and they’re still there because who has the cash to get the prettier ones?

I hate composting, too, but I freakin’ do it because I don’t want the earth to be taken over by giant landfills any sooner than it has to. No-brainer, right?

Except some knucklehead politicians actually put their time and energy into overturning a law creating new energy standards for light bulbs. Instead of, I dunno, creating jobs or figuring out healthcare. Light bulbs. They were fighting about light bulbs. And they finally have lost their fight, thank goodness.

Open letter to Washington: I want safe, efficient stuff in my home, and I want it to be as cheap and easy to find as possible. So stop fighting for energy-wasting home accessories.

Listen, there are various things the government makes sure are up to standards in our homes, and there’s a reason for that. It makes the world safer. Some of the things we have to keep a handle on, by law:

  • Car emissions, so that your neighbor can’t choke you with the rumbling stink of his busted-up ’96 Chevy Caprice.
  • Toxic pollutants, because hello, Erin Brockovich, safe drinking water coming out of your taps.
  • Electric codes, because if we aren’t forced to update our electricity every once in a while, boom: house fire.
  • Appliance efficiency, because if we have access to refrigerators and air-conditioners that cost less to run, we all come out ahead.
  • Seatbelts and car-seats, and I’m not even going to dignify that with an explanation, because if you don’t understand why those things are important ... just ugh.

In short, there is nothing wrong with saying “light bulbs have to be up to this standard.” Requiring manufacturers to not make crappy bulbs doesn’t impinge on anyone’s freedom, unless you’re worried about the freedom of corporations to pump out crap that doesn’t work as well as it could.

Note to the easily insulted: Nobody's saying you're not smart enough to choose your own light bulbs. This is about increasing the production of more efficient appliances. It's about getting us all up to a standard that's safe and livable for everyone.

Those who opposed this regulation said it was too much big-government, accusing Washington of dictating what light bulbs we can buy. And? So? We already aren’t allowed to drive on bald tires or live in firetrap homes. Are these the freedoms we need to fight for?

And for the record, these reforms were originally signed into law by George W. Bush.

Go ahead! Make my home safer, more energy-efficient, and cheaper to run in the long run, Washington!

Do you think incandescent bulbs are worth fighting for?


Image via terren in Virginia/Flickr

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