Curlicues are coming, and my complaints

The curlicues are coming! The curlicues are coming!! The end of consumer choice is near!!! 2012 is the year of the great Congressional ban on incandescent light bulbs. If nothing is done between now and then, your choice as a consumer is going to come to an end. Markets will collapse. The consumer choice that builds and shapes markets will be closed down on this product by government fiat.

The logical assumption to such a paragraph would be a shake of the head and a ‘those damned liberals are at it again’ type sentence from the mouth. This time it’s different, I’m ashamed to say. This time it’s the Republicans that closed down a market by government fiat to protect the environment. Bush’s Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton R-Mich. introduced the bill to set the standards, former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) supported it along with many other Republicans, and President George W. Bush signed it into law.

The Tea Party Republicans recently tried (in July) to prevent the ban on the trusted, incandescent bulbs from taking place in a Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (the BULB act). Tea Party Republicans saw the ban on incandescent bulbs as an example of government overreach. The BULB Act subsequently failed to reach the 285 vote supermajority required to overturn the ban. They achieved only 233 votes. Republicans currently hold 240 votes in the Congress, so they weren’t even able to get all 240 House Republicans to vote for it. 10 Republicans broke ranks.

The Obama administration issued a statement announcing its opposition to the repeal, saying it would “result in negative economic consequences for U.S. consumers and the economy.” The statement of administration policy issued by the Office of Management and Budget cited Department of Energy figures that say the law “could collectively save U.S. households nearly $6 billion in 2015 alone.” That’s because even though CFL bulbs cost more off the shelf, they last longer and use less energy than incandescent bulbs, and could ultimately save the consumer money over the light’s lifetime.”


How could anyone have a problem with it? Republicans and Democrats are doing it for our own good. The question that most people are asking Democrats and (gasp!) Republicans is: ‘if curlicue bulbs (CFLs) are so great, why are we being forced to buy them? Why don’t government spenders take a percentage of the money that is wasted year over year on pet projects, pork, and government studies, and spend it on an ad campaign that allows consumers to make a choice in the marketplace? Why don’t we develop an ad campaign that displays the pros and cons of the CFLs versus the incandescent? Why don’t our representatives try to win the argument in the marketplace and drown out the incandescent with the fruits of the CFL product?’ The reason, obviously, is that government cannot trust people to make the right choices. But isn’t freedom of choice supposed to be one of the tenets of this thing called Democracy? Aren’t we all supposed to have something of a voice in this process? Can’t we be allowed to maintain the minute, little whisper of a voice that we achieve in the marketplace?

My American Government teacher once corrected me on this in high school. He told me we don’t live in a Democracy. We live in a Representative Republic. I’m sure, if my American Government teacher were still alive today, he would say that fewer and fewer students are making this mistake. It’s becoming more and more apparent, in other words, that we don’t live in a Democracy, and that the representatives run the show.

Oh man, you say, I cannot worry about such microeconomic matters as markets and creation of markets and competition and such. I have a family to feed, a mortgage to pay, and a gas tank to fill. Someone else is going to have to worry about little stuff like that. Plus, I kind of like CFL bulbs and the light they give off. Fine and dandy, but did you know that Congress nixed the CFL bulbs for use outside of the home? That is correct. World Net Daily found a curious statement in the 2005 Energy Policy Act that stated that Congress decided that CFL bulbs should not be used outside the home, because the EPA has classified the mercury used in the curlicue compact fluorescent bulbs to be hazardous material.

The EPA found that there is enough mercury in a CFL bulb to contaminate 6,000 gallons of water. The EPA has also published a hazmat list of what to do if one of these CFL bulbs breaks in your home (below). The stated reason the EPA “suggests” that curlicue compact fluorescent bulbs not be used outside the home: They want to protect the environment. They want (by government fiat) CFL bulbs to be used inside the home to protect the environment, but they don’t want them outside the home…to protect the environment.

‘We’ll all get used to it,’ say those friends of mine who probably wouldn’t lower the volume of their television sets if tanks started rolling up their streets, ‘we can get used to anything. Adjust your habits. Don’t complain.’ I often wonder if people avoid complaining in life because they don’t want to find out how powerless they truly are.

It does seem pointless to complain, in other words. You’re just one person, and everyone else seems to be fine with all of this. You’re the only one complaining. CFLs are better for the environment they say (unless they’re outside), they’re more cost efficient (unless you’re at the checkout counter), and they’re safer (unless you break them, then have all people and pets evacuate the home) (above).  Just be quiet, buy it, and sleep. This will all look better to you in the morning.

I used to work in an office, and I would often hear about the underling bosses sitting in an office with the big boss trying to say something that he would like better than that which was said by the other competing, underling bosses. Every time these people would exit the boardroom, close those doors and laugh and pat themselves on the back on their way out, the employees would lose another small, “meaningless in the grand scheme of things” freedom. Their new standards and practices (S&Ps) were usually based on some moron who rocked the boat for everyone else. They never let a moron’s activity go to waste.

I didn’t like their new S&Ps. I said so. I said I didn’t do what that moron did, so why do I have to have all of my small, “meaningless in the grand scheme of things” freedoms stripped away. I complained. I complained to my fellow employees, and I complained to the underling boss’s underling. My fellow employees basically said that they wouldn’t be complaining, because they were just happy to have a job. Plus, they say, the new S&Ps aren’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.  Just get used to it and adjust your habits accordingly, they would say. Don’t complain. You’ll get fired, or you’ll be seen as a trouble maker.

I didn’t used to be a complainer or trouble maker. I used to be the one telling my fellow employees save your ammunition, until there’s a war worth fighting. I used to think that if you weren’t seen as a complainer, and you eventually complained about something, your complaint would carry more weight. I was wrong.

Nobody likes a complainer. Even when you’re not a complainer, you become a complainer the minute you complain. People prefer that you just shut your hole and go on with your meaningless daily activities without complaint. Why do you have to be that way? Why can’t you just buy your curlicue bulbs at your supermarket and shut it. At least you have electricity, and you live in the greatest country in the world, and you like the roads you drove in on didn’t you, and what about all the good things government does for you?  This is for your own good. This is for our greater good.  Oh, you don’t know all the great things government does for you do you?  Well, let me list them for you…until you’re all good and mind numbed.  Now, adjust your habits accordingly, don’t complain, and (cue the Brahms’ Lullaby) sleeeeep. You’re not going to notice that big a difference in ten years anyway.


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