I’m sure you all have been following the GOP light bulb debacle. For those of you who have not been, a quick rundown. In 2007, Republican President George Bush signed a bill to require that light bulbs be 30% more efficient by 1 January 2012. The Republicans and the
Birchers Teahadists then decided last year that this decision was socialism or fascism or whichever is worse, and spent the next year and a half screaming about the provision. So, last week, in yet another effort to ignore jobs creation bills, the GOP mustered the political might to block any money to the Department of Energy to enforce the regulation. Got it- light bulbs still have to be 30% more efficient, but now there is no way to enforce that dictate. Not surprisingly, this has all of the companies who worked to invest in more efficient light bulbs fuming:
After spending four years and millions of dollars prepping for the new rules, businesses say pulling the plug now could cost them. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has waged a lobbying campaign for more than a year to persuade the GOP to abandon the effort.
Manufacturers are worried that the rider will undermine companies’ investments and “allow potential bad actors to sell inefficient light bulbs in the United States without any fear of federal enforcement,” said Kyle Pitsor, the trade group’s vice president of government relations.
So, if industry wants these rules, why is the GOP grinding them to a halt? Republicans say they’re pro-choice when it comes to light bulbs.
Conservative groups and tea party favorites in the House, including GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, have accused the government of a heavy-handed attempt to ban incandescent bulbs and limit consumer freedom.
“This wasn’t a light bulb manufacturer to me; this was an issue of the fundamental freedom of the American people and one more area where the federal government was encroaching in a place where it didn’t belong,” said Texas Rep. Michael Burgess, who has backed multiple efforts to block the standards.
In other words, the GOP has created the worst possible environment for consumers and producers- producers have no incentive to continue R&D into more efficient lightbulbs because there is no payoff, as they can simply produce whatever they want and no one can enforce them for lying. Consumers have no idea what they are buying, because again, there is no enforcement mechanism in place for sketchy companies to be caught. This would bother most normal people. Speaking for the non-normal people, here is the glibertarian response:
Meanwhile, Politico notes that light bulb manufacturers “spent big bucks preparing for the standards,” which they need to guarantee a market for high-margin products consumers otherwise would reject, and are “fuming over the GOP bid to undercut them.” Aren’t Republicans supposed to be pro-business? Sometimes they are actually pro-market instead, and this is one of those cases. A spokesman for Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, claims “the only people we are aware of who have opposed the bulb standards are some politicians and some conservative commentators.” If legislators, regulators, environmentalists, and even the industry all agree this mandate is a good idea, why would consumers object? Maybe because the whole premise of the policy is that their choices do not matter because they are too stupid to know their own interests.
FAP FAP FAP! THE MARKET KNOWS ALL! THE MARKET WILL CORRECT ITSELF, JUST LIKE WITH THE HOUSING INDUSTRY. So what if billions of substandard light bulbs are sold to unsuspecting customers- what matters is the market!
I really wish all these glibertarians would move to their floating utopias and leave us to enjoy a little bit of government oppression like this.