Jun 03, 2011
By Jeff Katz
In an Orwellian Fantasy your every move is monitored by Big Brother.
Driving down Maple Street on your approach home, every turn of the steering wheel is tracked by government surveillance. Once home, moves are dictated by The Powers That Be – even the trip to the restroom. Where work is done, and how it’s done, are decreed by fiat of Big Brother. Even the food indulged in is approved from On High. And disobedience is a crime.
Well, we may not be there yet; but we’re getting closer.
On March 10, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources conducted a full committee hearing to hear testimony on a proposed bill, “The Better Use of Light Bulbs Act.” The committee considered, among other things, the wisdom of using conventional incandescent light bulbs (the type you see hovering above one’s head when a great idea hits) versus newer compact fluorescent bulbs (the ones with those little curly-Q twists) or a newer competitor, the LED (light-emitting diodes) bulb. (An archive of the committee’s deliberations may be viewed at http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.LiveStream&Hearing_id=737ab0a6-a123-8df7-46f0-992ccd071a5b.)
In case you hadn’t heard, the Federal government has effectively outlawed traditional 100-watt light bulbs, starting January 1st of next year. Now, I have nothing against fluorescent bulbs, mind you. But I do know that they contain mercury, a potent neurotoxin, and that no one has quite figured out how to prevent them from breaking open, or how to safely dispose of them. They’re made of glass like regular bulbs, so they break easily.
Fluorescent bulbs are also expensive, costing several times what a traditional bulb costs. They’re more energy efficient, of course, but some (like renters who don’t pay separately for electricity) may not be wowed by that. The LED bulbs, incidentally, are way more expensive than even fluorescents, and are pushing $50 for a single bulb. Incredible.
I’ve tried fluorescent bulbs, and I’m just not sure they’re worth the risk of exposure to mercury for me and my family. But that’s not the issue. The issue is whether it’s the Federal government’s role to be choosing our light bulbs for us.
Now, if you think the answer to this question is, “of course not,” then, well, I guess you must have just gotten back from a long trip overseas. Because the Federal government has been getting into all kinds of things like that lately.
Health care is one-seventh of our nation’s economy and if existing law is not changed, this large swath of our economy will be dominated by the Federal government within just a few years as ObamaCare comes on-line.
Cap-and trade didn’t get far in Congress last year. That was an effort to bring more large chunks of the U.S. economy under Federal control. It would have brought everything that uses the most common types of energy under some direct or indirect Federal jurisdiction or influence. Amazing!
Even the lowly toilet bowl has commanded Federal attention. No joke. Congressional hearings on toilet flushing are underway.
Well, if the Federal government intends one day to pay for all health care (isn’t it great that all this could suddenly be “free?”) then it may be equally important that the Fed control what we eat. After all, you are what you eat! Washington, D.C. has thus set its sights on our diets, and particularly on what the school down the block can or cannot serve kids for lunch.
It’s unclear to what extent our troops should be engaged overseas, but the War Against Sweets and Starches seems to enjoy broad support in the Capitol. Will parole be available to offenders of new unfunded eating mandates? Will the Twinkie Defense be available to those who sneak one?
Stay tuned, because next up are The Cupcake Police!
Filed Under: Jeff Katz
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