All of our 75 million senior citizens tossed under the ObamaCare bus have one more reason to storm the town hall meetings. Once Obama's death panels get to work, seniors won't live long enough to enjoy the energy savings they have been promised - to break even from buying higher priced CFLs  instead of using energy-hog incandescent lightbulbs. Retailers, like Lowes, Home Depot, and Walmart will soon have Health and Human Services government mortality tables displayed in their lightbub aisles alongside information on lumens and lightbulb life.
Typically, CFLs cost four to six times as much as incandescents, but last longer and save enough energy to repay the up-front higher price within a couple of years. Yet, for 20 million American military veterans who follow the grim advice found in the Veterans Administration pamphlet, "Your Life, Your Choices," inspired by the Hemlock Society, there's not much point in buying light bulbs at all.
The US Congress, now despised by nearly 60% of the voting public, in 2007, via The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, labeled incandescent lightbulbs contraband, joining the likes of heroin, automatic assault rifles, bazookas, and untaxed cigarettes, outlawing the dreaded 100 Watt lightbulb in 2012. In a thinly disguised conspiracy with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy, and the Alliance to Save Energy the big three lighting giants, GE, Sylvania and Philips couldn't push the lightbulb ban soon enough, touting overhyped energy savings, while ignoring the higher prices for CFLs and LEDs, another stealth tax on seniors and low income Americans. As Sylvania found out in a survey, 80% of Americans don't know their beloved incandescents will soon be banned. Hello? Shrugging off American job losses from factory closings in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and second tier suppliers from all over the country as "inevitable and regrettable," the incandescent lighting powerhouses eagerly threw American consumers into the arms of Chinese manufacturers. The Chinese CFL lightbulb cartel has no global manufacturing competition, uses cheap coal-fired electric power to run their factories, unburdened with pollution control equipment, and exploits thousands of pennies-per-hour Chinese laborers given virtually no protection from toxic amounts of mercury used in manufacturing CFLs. Not to worry about mercury in CFL's here, however. At least the EPA has published a step-by-step homeowner do-it-yourself checklist on cleaning up smashed CFLs in your kitchen, probably dropped on the tile floor because those new lamps didn't give off enough light to see what you were doing when you unpacked your shopping bags. But speed dialing wastemanagement.com or cleanharbors.com is always an option for homeowners enveloped in mercury vapor who decide to evacuate for a week on Martha's Vineyard. Yesterday the EU hailed the first day of its own lightbulb phase out. German consumers, finally waking up to another bureaucratic intrusion into their daily lives, stripped German shopkeepers' shelves of the old fashioned 100Watt lightbulbs, hoping to outwit, at least temporarily, looming lightbulb socialism. And this, no less, amidst the land of Osram, one of the global titans in developing the commercialization of CFLs in the 1980s. In obligatory fashion of heralding Fidel Castro, the New York Times couldn't help but notice Andrea Toth, an "expert" within the EU, gushingly touting Cuba, the role model in environmental stewardship, leading the world by already having converted exclusively to fluorescent light bulbs years ago. Gee, maybe Cuba's health care system deserves a second look for similar groundbreaking developments. GE, now firmly in the romantic embrace of the green lobby and in the tank for Obama, beginning with MSNBC's Chris Matthew's feeling the twitch up his pant leg for The One, planted the seed for the demise of its own incandescent monopoly - the legacy of the Thomas Edison patent -- by inventing the CFL concept in 1973 at its labs in Cleveland. Even the Huffington Post (wash my mouth out with soap) gleefully exposes GE's lies and manipulations on assurances over green job creation-- instead abandoning its own employees, shipping technology to China where there isn't even the pretense of protecting know-how and intellectual property rights. Finally, an industry insider, Howard Brandston, a veteran lighting designer and consultant, obtained some Op-Ed space in the Wall Street Journal, "Save the Light Bulb." Brandston has the courage to risk being called a Neanderthal, now the favorite epithet of the formidable brilliant West Coast Congressional delegation, by truth telling. The largest energy saving feature in lighting is dimming, accounting for nearly 50% of energy savings, only possible with incandescent. Dimming technology for CFLs is neither technologically nor financially feasible, leaving task lighting and energy savings through dimming in the dustbin along with perfectly usable Edison lightbulbs.
Of course, dimming technology offeres homeowners choice while preserving their behavioral preferences -- shorthand for turning the lights on or off. Liberals who want to control every aspect of our lives, except for sex and abortion, unable to find a single reason to permit one more intolerable private economic prerogative, unanimously denied one more choice to American consumers and homeowners. For the first time in American history, except for food, drinking water, and medicine, Congress gave government regulators the right to control an everyday staple commodity.
Rep Michelle Bachmann, now the well deserved darling of libertarians and common sense limited government advocates of all stripes, proving she was a quick first term study and unbowed by the enviro-religious lobby, introduced almost immediately in spring 2008 HR 5616 "The Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act." Her bill predictably was buried by the House Energy and Air Quality subcommittee.
But not to worry. Some enterprising entrepreneur can snap up low-cost warehouse and hanger space in Roswell, New Mexico, now that Obama will establish diplomatic relations with extraterrestrials, thus freeing up classified storage space-clean, dry and secure-- to stockpile a 50-year supply of incandescent lightbulbs. Of course, you'll then have to worry about the enviro-police, commissioned in the recent Cap-and Tax global warming legislation, conducting door-to-door lightbulb compliance checks. But just take a cue from the worn out Jehovah's Witnesses light bulb joke: "How many light bulb checkers does it take to change a lightbulb? I don't know -- I didn't let them in to find out."
Luminus Maximus is the pen name of a long time lighting industry observer.