President George W. Bush’s war on incandescent light bulbs
Republicans in the 112th Congress have banded together to address one of the most pressing issues of our time—George W. Bush’s war on incandescent light bulbs. The debt ceiling, fiscal and financial problems, jobs, and growing rates of inequality took a back seat to the Republican Party’s most pressing agenda. When every minute counts, it is important that lawmakers concentrate on issues of the utmost importance, especially those related to nostalgic concerns about incandescent light bulbs. Right?
Yesterday, Republicans brought up the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (HR 2417), a bill that would repeal § 321 and 322 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority to pass. For the record, this is the last time I will reference the bill by its ascribed title, as it is simply not true; even bill titles are used for political instead of practical purposes. After wasting an hour of taxpayer time, today, HR 2417 failed with 233 Ayes, and 193 Nays.
We can all understand Rep. Joe Barton’s nostalgia for incandescent light bulbs, but he misconstrues several key facts. Who doesn’t love an energy-sucking, scalding hot incandescent bulb with the springy thing inside? During debates in the House, Mr. Barton compared a $1.50 4-pack of 60-watt incandescent light bulbs to an equivalent $6 “squiggly” light bulb. To any compact fluorescent connoisseur, Barton’s exaggeration was plainly apparent; or perhaps Barton isn’t aware he’s getting ripped off.
On Amazon, an 8-pack of GE 13-watt compact fluorescent bulbs (“squigglies”) costs $8.99, or $1.12 per bulb. Whereas Barton’s 60-watt incandescent bulb will last 1000 hours, the compact fluorescent bulb will last 8000 hours—eight times longer. In the end, the incandescent bulb costs 37 cents per thousand hours, whereas the compact fluorescent bulb costs only 14 cents.
These calculations don’t even include energy savings, which are also vast considering a 13-watt compact fluorescent has the same lumen output as a single 60-watt incandescent. In addition, because incandescent bulbs put off more heat, there are possible HVAC savings. There is a very good reason the energy savings business is still doing great in this economy.
For once, the United States implemented an energy-saving idea that makes both economic and environmental sense, and Republicans want to destroy it. It’s a shame to see politicians so far out of touch with reality, a truth that is negatively affecting our country every day.