It doesn’t take a liberal president to do some really odd things.  George W. Bush, for example, signed the Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007, requiring all 100-watt incandescent light bulbs to be nearly 30-percent more efficient by January 1, 2012.  The unintended consequences, all manufacturing of incandescent light bulbs moved overseas.

Due to the higher cost to produce 100-watt bulbs to meet the new efficiency standards, manufacturers in the U.S. discontinued production of incandescent bulbs.  The last factory in America making the traditional bulbs has relocated to China.  Some of you may have noticed the bulbs disappearing from store shelves and can expect them to be gone all together by the end of this year; unless, the GOP can stop it.  In any case, it’s far too late to save the American jobs that have been lost.

Rand Paul, GOP Senator from Kentucky spoke up at a recent hearing exclaiming that it was “insulting” for the government to tell consumers what light bulbs they can buy, because the government believes it “knows what’s best for me.”

If you’ve purchased the energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, you know they are significantly more expensive.  Whereas the average cost of a 100-watt traditional bulb runs about 60-cents, the fluorescent bulbs cost around $3.40.

Spokesman for the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association, Kyle Pitsor argues that “your operating cost over time is cheaper and you’re keeping money in your pocket.”  He also stated that Americans will still be able to buy the old style bulbs, they’ll just be more efficient.  Of course, they won’t be made by Americans. 

Many detractors state that the change is neither necessary nor economically wise.  While the new bulbs do use less electricity, recovering the additional cost won’t happen overnight.  In the meantime, you’ll be paying a lot more to replace a burned out bulb.  Many believe that the importation of the traditional bulbs is highly unlikely, as the additional costs associated with importing will narrow the difference in price.

The new bulbs are not without issues.  The Environmental Protection Agency has posted a list of clean-up instructions, in case one of the compact fluorescent bulbs breaks:

Have people and pets leave the room

Air out the room for 5-10 minutes

Shut off the heating/air-conditioning system

Be thorough in collecting broken glass and visible powder

Place cleanup materials in a sealable container

Put all bulb debris and cleanup materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area

Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken

Leave the heating/air conditioning system shut off for several hours.

Drop the old-style incandescent bulbs and you grab a broom.  Ever heard of what happens when someone breaks a mercury thermometer in a school?  They generally have to close the school for days to decontaminate.  This is more than a little scary.

You’ve got about 9 months to grab all the incandescent bulbs you can get your hands on; at least according to the law.  But at the rate they are disappearing off the store shelves, you better start shopping now.  Or at least take a picture of a traditional light bulb so you can show your grandkids what it was like when dropping a light bulb didn’t require filing an environmental impact statement.