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August 12, 2011

Our 21st-Century Regulatory System – Let There Be Light!

We continue to monitor the progress being made on President Obama’s “21st-Century Regulatory System” initiative intended to not only promote “economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation," but also to “root out regulations that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb.”

Regular readers might note that it’s been a while since we engaged in our weekly ritual of reading the Federal Register in search of progress towards streamlining federal regulations. We kind of felt we needed a break and it turns out we were right.  We’ve already found that the incapacitating migraines have largely subsided, the nightmares have become less frequent, and it’s fairly rare that we find ourselves contemplating the infinite peace and solitude death would bring.

So in furtherance of our goal to maintain some semblance of mental health, we instead explore one of the Obama Administration’s signature economic growth-inducing regulatory initiatives:

Bribing companies to make products no one wants, and then forcing you to buy them.

The old-fashioned engine of economic growth in America was to permit private companies to freely innovate and create new products and services, and then allow individual citizens to judge the merits of those offerings based on their own unique set of values, needs, and circumstances.

The problem with this model was that the decision-making process was left to people other than members of the Obama Administration, most of whom went to better schools than you did.

The result? Your refusal to desire products Obama Administration officials want you to, results in companies refusing to make them.

Today’s example is the LED light bulb.

For years, American citizens have demonstrated peculiarly little interest in purchasing extremely expensive light bulbs. That’s about to change:

We bring you, the “L-Prize.”

The L-Prize represents a whole new approach to free markets.  Rather than you using your money to reward companies, the government will use your money to reward companies.

This past week, Philips “won” $10 million of your money for developing a 60-watt equivalent LED light bulb that consumes only 10 watts of power and will likely cost at least $40 to start.

You wonder who in their right mind would purchase a $40 LED light bulb?

That would be you.

New energy efficiency standards passed by Congress several years ago essentially phase out old-style incandescent bulbs, all of which will be replaced by vastly more expensive options, from advanced incandescents to fluorescents, to LEDs.

While you may not want to spend $40 for a single 60-watt light bulb, you’ll save money in the long run.  The really long run:

Current 60-watt incandescent bulbs last about three years and cost around seventy-five cents. According to government statistics, they are used an average of 1.9 hours a day. That adds up to about 41.6 kilowatt hours a year. At 11.79 cents per kilowatt hour, it costs you about $4.90 to run the bulb for a year, or $5.15 if you include average replacement costs.

In contrast, the 60-watt equivalent LED should last about 25 years and use 1/6 the electricity, amounting to total annual costs of about 82 cents a year in electricity.

At $40 a bulb, you’ll break even within ten years!

Sure, you’re probably not accustomed to thinking of purchasing light bulbs the same way you’d think about purchasing a car or a house, but that’s probably because you’re not making enough money to be able to tie up large amounts of money in long-term lighting investments.

But that’s okay, members of the Obama Administration are.

Of course, as some point out, incandescent bulbs aren’t actually being banned, and you’re not going to be forced to purchase LED bulbs. What is being banned are incandescent bulbs that cost 55 cents a piece.  You can still buy incandescent bulbs, okay? So calm down.

But they’re going to cost closer to $3.00 each.

Hey, you know what, that migraine is starting to come back.  Maybe now we know why Michelle Bachman gets them


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August 12, 2011 at 03:29 PM in Our 21st-Century Regulatory System | Permalink


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I am sure Baby Moron will be ever so happy when you bequeath all those LED bulbs in your will.

Posted by: barryjo | Aug 13, 2011 9:04:49 AM

This is one of those things that's so stupid I just assumed it would go away, even after it was passed into law. Then the radio reminded me that it starts taking actual effect in December.

I just figured out the end-game, though, and it backfires on the nannies. Flourescents give me headaches. The CFLs will give everyone migranes, people with migranes will start thinking like Michelle Bachmann, and the nannies will all get voted out.

Posted by: Michael | Aug 13, 2011 11:33:32 AM

4500 gallons of gasoline... check.
17,0000 rounds .50 caliber... check.
4000 rounds 30-06... check.
1200 silver dollars... check.
15 pounds copper thermite... check.
250 bleach... check.
55 gallons glycol... check.
10 pounds potasium permanganite... check.
400 incandescent lightbulbs... wtf?

Posted by: John | Aug 13, 2011 5:44:53 PM

Wait until you see the piece I'm working on now.

Posted by: Planet Moron | Aug 15, 2011 12:22:30 PM

I have stockpiled 75, 60, and 40 watt bulbs which they are still inexpensive. Buy them by the case and they are cheaper.

Posted by: TheOldMan | Aug 15, 2011 2:19:45 PM

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