Wednesday, 13 July 2011

D.C.'s Dim Bulbs

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Like me, you’d probably find it creepy and extremely unsettling were a total stranger to obsess about you. Indeed, you might even degenerate from Peaceable Person to Screaming, Cursing Banshee Throwing Wild Punches were the guy to buttonhole you and dictate how many gallons your toilet may flush, the formulation of gas for your car, or the amount of fat and sodium permitted in your favorite chips.

But apparently few of our fellow serfs object to such bizarre behavior, judging by their reaction when a bunch of total strangers — and very strange, unsavory strangers at that — gossiped about which light bulbs we prefer. Two of the strangest, former Rep. Jane Harmon (D-Israel — if we go by this ostensible Californian’s largest donor) and Fred Upton (R-Electric Utilities — if we go by his. But it paid off: electric companies in Michigan can kill folks who fall behind in their bills) sponsored a bill that will force us to switch from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent (CFL) ones with the excuse that the latter are “cleaner” for the environment.

Congress’s dimwits had no better sense than to pass the legislation, and that paranoid daddy’s boy, George W. Bush, signed the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007” into law. Do you suppose George eats his cornflakes every morning in the hope that they improve national security because they’re fortified? Or do you think he, Harmon, Upton, and their accomplices weren’t nearly as concerned about “Energy Independence” as they were with compelling our dependence on GE, which is to the manufacture of CFL’s what it is to lobbying, i.e., Mr. Big?

No matter. Americans merely shrugged as usual at politicians’ deciding such personal trivialities for them. As AP obligingly tells us in an editorial masquerading as news, polls “[find] that 61 percent judged the law to be good, and 31 percent bad.”

Sixty-one percent, huh? That’s certainly convincing: only a fool would disdain the opinion of the American public, with its encyclopedic knowledge of television, celebrities, and sports and its staggering ignorance of everything meaningful.

Meanwhile, AP asserts in a second hit piece, “People seem to like the new choices and the energy savings they bring, polling finds.” Really? Wherefore then a law prohibiting other selections?

Hope of rescue from this ludicrously petty tyranny flared when Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) introduced legislation to repeal the ban on Edison’s blessing; naturally, Our Rulers voted against allowing us the heady liberty of choosing our own illumination. But catch Joe’s bracing analysis of the debate: it “is about more than just energy consumption. It is about personal freedom.” Wow! Here’s a Congressman who not only understands the issue but then accurately and honestly frames it! We’ll pause a moment so we can all recover.

Perhaps Joe’s clear thinking results from his residency in the Lone Star State, with its heritage of autonomy and freedom: "I do thank the Lord that I live in Texas," he “declar[ed] on Fox News.” And no wonder: legislators there recently had the entire country cheering as they sought to protect citizens from the Transportation Security Administration’s sexual assaults in airports. And now they “[hope] to get around the law [against incandescent bulbs] with a measure … declaring that incandescent bulbs — if made and sold only in Texas — do not involve interstate commerce and therefore are not subject to federal regulation. ‘I think that Texans as a whole are tired of the federal government trying to micromanage our lives,’ said George Lavender, a Republican state representative who sponsored the legislation.” By cracky, more clear thinking!  

Alas, we return to the horrifically familiar totalitarianism and nonsense of the U.S. Congress with the Democrats’ response to Joe Barton. They trotted out the Keynesianism that’s produced such stellar results for the nation’s economy to insist that banning cheap incandescent bulbs will save us money by compelling us to buy expensive substitutes: “Democrats waved new energy-efficient incandescent bulbs [very new: these weren’t around when Bush signed the law in 2007, and their competition must have GE gnashing its teeth] … costing in the $1.50 range. ‘Yes, this costs a few dimes more. But let me tell you, you start saving dimes the moment you screw these into the socket,’ said Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J.”

Is it me, or is there something nauseatingly ironic in a government that’s spent the country into bankruptcy urging thrift on taxpayers? Yo, Rush: you might enjoy a little more credibility about saving dimes were you and your accomplices not squandering trillions of dollars every year. Would that Congress showed the same zeal for cutting our taxes as it does for compelling us to cut our electric bills!

You won't be surprised to learn that fiscally-challenged Democrats’ calculations on the savings of “energy-efficient” bulbs are flawed. For example, they don’t include the costs of disposal when they burn out, because you can’t just throw CFL’s away; no, since GE’s product contains mercury, you must drive to the nearest “waste collection agency” or “local retailer” who accepts such hazardous trash. Nor did Democrats include the additional medical expenses we’ll incur from the maladies CFL’s cause — everthing from cancer to migraines. Then there’s the room at a hotel should a bulb break in your home: the EPA advises evacuation until the poisonous fumes dissipate.

It seems, then, that just as it does with its carcinogenic porno-scanning at airports, the Federal government has knowingly endangered us with yet another unconstitutional, incredibly intrusive law. When will Americans wise up and realize that the sociopaths in office — not terrorists and certainly not the innocent incandescent — are our direst and most lethal enemies?

Still, as a dutiful slave,  I note how the idea of our saving a few pitiful pennies excites Rush and the other Congressional spendthrifts. And I wonder if we can delight them further by shaving other expenses. But what? Hmmm … thinking hard here … seems as if I’m wasting hundreds — no, make that thousands — of bucks every year on something completely useless, even abusive, that I never requested and most certainly do not want … a nightmare that empowers the worthless and otherwise unemployable to lord it over the productive … a monstrous evil trampling my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness …  

Best of all, eliminating this atrocity will rekindle Liberty’s lamp!

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