How Many Politicians Does It Take To Change a Light Bulb?

Jonathan David Carson, Ph.D.
During the Energy Crisis of the late 1970s, I worked in a large department store.  When the price of electricity increased, we bought less of it.  By the time the government did anything, we had already cut our consumption in half. 

Above the sales floor were large banks of lights.  Each bank had four fixtures, each with two fluorescent bulbs.  First we disconnected two fixtures in each bank and replaced them with ceiling tile.  When the price of electricity continued to rise, we disconnected one of the two remaining fixtures in each bank.  We reduced our overhead lighting to one quarter of what it had been and found that we still had plenty of light. 

We also purchased “energy-efficient” light bulbs and replaced the old bulbs as they burned out.  When we had replaced almost all of the old bulbs, the City announced a rebate program that would pay most of the cost of replacing old bulbs with “energy-efficient” ones, but we could find only a few old bulbs out of the many hundreds we had. 

As I remember it, the City would give us $1.00 for each “energy-efficient” bulb we purchased for $1.06.  The catch was that we had to use them to replace bulbs we had already replaced, and the only people who got them were people who were wasting electricity.  The City raises rates on people who conserve energy on their own and gives money away to people who waste energy.  The great liberals who run the government would have bought light bulbs for a profitable department store chain, but didn’t because the chain had conserved energy.

The corporate office also sent engineers to all the stores to install microprocessors on their air conditioning systems to cycle them on and off in a more efficient manner, but I don’t think the City ever came by with microprocessor subsidies.  I do know that the City did eventually pay people to buy politically correct air conditioners, prompting one councilman to complain about “socialized air conditioning.”

Anyway, please excuse me if I display impatience when a politician acts as if he’s the only who ever thought of using “energy-efficient” light bulbs.
During the Energy Crisis of the late 1970s, I worked in a large department store.  When the price of electricity increased, we bought less of it.  By the time the government did anything, we had already cut our consumption in half. 

Above the sales floor were large banks of lights.  Each bank had four fixtures, each with two fluorescent bulbs.  First we disconnected two fixtures in each bank and replaced them with ceiling tile.  When the price of electricity continued to rise, we disconnected one of the two remaining fixtures in each bank.  We reduced our overhead lighting to one quarter of what it had been and found that we still had plenty of light. 

We also purchased “energy-efficient” light bulbs and replaced the old bulbs as they burned out.  When we had replaced almost all of the old bulbs, the City announced a rebate program that would pay most of the cost of replacing old bulbs with “energy-efficient” ones, but we could find only a few old bulbs out of the many hundreds we had. 

As I remember it, the City would give us $1.00 for each “energy-efficient” bulb we purchased for $1.06.  The catch was that we had to use them to replace bulbs we had already replaced, and the only people who got them were people who were wasting electricity.  The City raises rates on people who conserve energy on their own and gives money away to people who waste energy.  The great liberals who run the government would have bought light bulbs for a profitable department store chain, but didn’t because the chain had conserved energy.

The corporate office also sent engineers to all the stores to install microprocessors on their air conditioning systems to cycle them on and off in a more efficient manner, but I don’t think the City ever came by with microprocessor subsidies.  I do know that the City did eventually pay people to buy politically correct air conditioners, prompting one councilman to complain about “socialized air conditioning.”

Anyway, please excuse me if I display impatience when a politician acts as if he’s the only who ever thought of using “energy-efficient” light bulbs.