Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Light Bulbs and Economic Nightmares

Is it really likely that the political opponents to President Obama (and any Democrat) will embrace economic failure in hopes it would hurt a re-election of Obama (or any Democrat)?

A very strong indication of this took place during a vote Tuesday in Congress - a vote based on emotional madness which rejects facts and instead embraces myths.

As I mentioned yesterday, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn (and every Republican representative in the state signed on as co-sponsors) wailed that the evil liberal government was poised to outlaw the humble light bulb and eliminate all humble incandescent light bulbs. None of their claims were true. And in a push to get a vote to repeal energy efficiency, they needed a two-thirds majority to pass their bogus bill. The failed - only two TN reps., Cohen and Cooper voted no. Reps. Black, Blackburn, DesJarlais, Duncan, Fincher, Fleischmann, and Roe all voted to support the fake fears of light bulb bans.

Industry leaders all pointed out before the vote just how the plan to increase energy efficiency actually is driving innovation and job creation:

Blackburn and others also note that most CFLs – Blackburn in her House floor speech Monday said “all” – are made in China, and that the last major General Electric plant making ordinary incandescent bulbs, in Winchester, Va., closed last September, taking 200 jobs.

Those bulbs, which the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based think tank, says waste 90 percent of the electricity they consume as heat, cannot meet the energy standards that go into effect in 2012.

But the NRDC notes that the 2007 increased efficiency standards have been embraced by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the trade association for domestic light manufacturers, as well as the leading manufacturers themselves.

NRDC points out that the standards have “jump-started domestic industry investment in research and development and production of more efficient lighting products.”

It points to a factory in St. Marys, Pa., retooling to make more efficient incandescent bulbs, a new factory for
CFLs opening in Ohio this year and “thousands of jobs” being created by companies such as Cree, Lighting Science Group and Phillips Lighting.

The NRDC also released a statement quoting Barry Edison Stone, the great-grandson of the inventor of the incandescent bulb, suggesting proponents of the repeal of the higher standards are “narrow-minded.”

And again, more facts get ignored:

"The law does not ban the use or manufacture of all incandescent bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of compact fluorescent ones. It simply requires that companies make some of their incandescent bulbs work a bit better, meeting a series of rolling deadlines between 2012 and 2014.

Furthermore, all sorts of exemptions are written into the law, which means that all sorts of bulbs are getting a free pass and can keep their energy-guzzling ways indefinitely, including “specialty bulbs” like the Edison bulbs favored by Mr. Henault, as well as three-way bulbs, silver-bottomed bulbs, chandelier bulbs, refrigerator bulbs, plant lights and many, many others."

So if folks like Blackburn and other Republicans across the nation knowingly distort facts and reality over light bulbs - then how much more distortion are they willing to endorse in a fantasy of economic policy?

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