Tuesday, June 3, 2014

$12 Light Bulbs.

Light bulb prices have taken a sharp turn upward since the beginning of the year due to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 , which in effect, elminates the incandescent light bulb in the US.

The purpose of the act was
To move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.
I don't know exactly how a $12 light bulb protects consumers, but maybe those in favor of this bill didn't imagine $12 light bulbs. The arguments forcing consumers to buy $12 light bulbs instead of $2 light bulbs are, to my mind, unconvincing, but $12 is what we shall pay.

To me it doesn't matter that much. Light bulbs are not a large part of my household budget; I'm fortunate in that respect. But light bulbs and energy costs are a much larger portion of the average family household budget, and for those just starting out, like my daughter and my son, every penny counts. Forcing them to pay an extra $10 for a light bulb is a hardship. That's $10 they won't be able to spend on food, clothing, entertainment, or 401-K. There is no stimulative effect of a $12 light bulb. It forces consumers to spend less on some items so they can spend more on light bulbs.

All of this crossed my mind as I listened to Gina McCarthy introduce the EPA's Clean Power Plan that calls for sharp reductions in carbon emissions from stationary power sources. In her impassioned introduction to the proposed regulations she asserted multiple times all the critics who previously predicted high prices and reduced economic activity from these type of laws and regulations were wrong.

Then I looked at the sign for the $12 light bulb and wondered if Ms. McCarthy has been to the grocery store recently to see how the government protects consumers.

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