It should be called the law of unintended consequences, and Congress should learn to abide by it, taking enough time to discover whether the road they choose to follow is smooth or filled with ruts.
Back in 2007, Congress in their wisdom ruled that starting in the year 2012 the ordinary incandescent light bulbs we've been using for ages must be phased out and completely regulated away by 2014. They are to be replaced by so-called CFLs, those twisted fluorescent gizmos that if dropped become tiny mercury bombs.
Why do away with something we've been using, without problems, for just about forever? Well, because they allegedly contribute to a deadly hazard that exists only in lawmakers' minds - non-existent global warming.
Just think, every time you turn on a light you are helping to barbecue the planet, according to Mr. Gore and his fellow global-warming alarmists in Congress.
Shame on you!
Congress totally ignored the warnings that the allegedly wondrous CFLs they want to jam down our throats use high levels of mercury and when they break, as light bulbs tend to do when we drop them, they scatter mercury like shrapnel when a shell explodes.
The clean-up required to undo the damage cause by dropped CFLs is extensive and hazardous as well.
In addition, medical experts warn that when broken, the bulbs Congress favors can cause migraine headaches and even epilepsy attacks. Moreover they are unreliable in colder temperatures, failing to emit much heat, are hostile to such gimmicks as dimmer switches, and their lifespan is limited by being frequently turned on or off.
In addition, in this period of economic uncertainty and growing unemployment, the replacement of our usual bulbs has cost a lot of jobs.
General Electric, for example, has closed factories in Kentucky and Ohio, and has recently announced they are closing their major incandescent factory in Winchester, Va., a factory that employed 200 of our fellow Americans and the last major incandescent manufacturing facility in the United States.
That's good news for China and other countries that will take up the slack with CFL manufacture, but will also undoubtedly create a new form of bootlegging or, rather, bulb-legging.
According to the Heritage Foundation, in an attempt to undo the damage Congress has done with this outlandish regulation, Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the so-called "Better Use of Light Bulbs" (BULB) Act last week. It would repeal Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 -- the phase-out of the incandescent bulb.
Said Rep. Blackburn, "Washington banned a perfectly good product and fired hard working Americans based on little more than their own whim and the silly notion that they know better than the American consumer. Now, hundreds more Americans are looking for work while assembly lines in China are churning out fluorescent bulbs for the U.S. market."
Does anyone in Congress care about the plight of American workers, or are they so deeply embedded in the fantasies of Al Gore that they are willing to put American workers out of work?
Thank God for the coming Congressional elections. We'll have an opportunity to put out the lights on Capitol Hill for a lot of these crazed ideologues.
- Michael Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. His columns are distributed exlusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. (Reagan@caglecartoons.com).