Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Freedom of Choice and the Light Bulb Ban

The federal government has prohibited the manufacture of incandescent light bulbs and import starting January 1, 2014. The nanny state is showing its ugly head again.

The latest ban covers 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs. The 100-watt and 75-watt varieties had already been phased out. The bans were signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act.

Opponents of the law protest that the government is making decisions for consumers rather than letting the marketplace determine the products people want.

When we make a purchase, it's about quality, price, how much money we have now, can I use that money for a better investment? I don't need the government to say that I am making the incorrect decision and therefore I should buy energy-efficient products, said Daren Bakst, research fellow in agricultural policy at the Heritage Foundation. 
The light-bulb issue is about a complete ban of a product. It's overkill. Now you have something you can no longer buy. That's really indefensible.

Forget about choice. It's basically saying not only can you not make smart choices, we have so little faith in you that we will make sure you can't buy those goods anymore.

Here you have a central-planning bureaucrat that knows everything, saying we're going to make sure you do the right thing. Granted, Congress passed the law, but this looks like the state knows better than the public does.

Because of the ban, General Electric closed a factory with 200 employees in Winchester, Va., that was the last major incandescent manufacturing facility in the United States. Now the work is going to places such as China, where some of the new compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are made.

Consumers can still purchase the incandescent bulbs as long as supplies last, and they remain in stock at many home-product retailers around the country. Once those are gone, however, the newer bulbs will be the only ones available.

The light bulb issue marks a continued pattern of what some say is the federal government's overextending its power in recent years, including spying on news reporters' sources, forcing menu labeling laws in an attempt to change what people eat, and intimidating certain groups, including conservatives, through IRS intrusion.

We certainly have seen far more government intrusion in the last few years than we have before. It has become the expectation that the government has the proper role in the free choices that we make.

No comments:

Post a Comment