Congress shows its absurdity | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
August 4, 2011 · 8:23 AM
To the editor:
The House of Representatives recently passed a “light bulb amendment” that would prohibit spending to enforce incandescent lighting standards signed into law by George W. Bush. These standards have spurred a rash of innovative lighting that is far more efficient than bulbs of the past.
The measure was originally proposed by Fred Upton (R-MI) who traded in his support of his own amendment in exchange for money from the Tea Party that helped him win the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
His challenger for the post, Joe Barton from Texas, screamed that Upton’s bill was an “assault on personal freedom” causing Upton to cave in and acquiesce to Beck, Limbaugh and their misguided followers. He was then rewarded with a bundle of cash from the Koch brothers who stood to lose from the new regulations.
The New York Times reports that setting lighting standards is a perfect example of how government can induce innovation with sensible legislation. In fact, the light bulb industry largely supported the new rules!
These guidelines will save approximately $100 per year per household, which will equate to around $12 billion in savings per year when fully implemented.
To underscore the absurdity of what Congress has become, the House came up with 181 votes recently that would have prohibited funding for federal websites that teach children about energy efficiency. Fortunately it did not pass.