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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: The Nanny State and Light Bulbs

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Nanny State and Light Bulbs

Liz Sidoti, an AP reporter writing for the Washington Post in "White House announces new lighting standards," dated June 29,2009 reports that,
Aiming to keep the focus on climate change legislation, President Barack Obama put a plug in for administration efforts to make lamps and lighting equipment use less energy.

"I know light bulbs may not seem sexy, but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and businesses," the president said, standing alongside Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the White House.

Obama said the new efficiency standards he was announcing for lamps would result in substantial savings between 2012 and 2042, saving consumers up to $4 billion annually, conserving enough energy to power every U.S. home for 10 months, reducing emissions equal to the amount produced by 166 million cars a year, and eliminating the need for as many as 14 coal-fired power plants.
Does anything escape the notice of this president?  He opened our garage doors and learned we were buying the wrong kinds of cars and mandated that we drive cars that on average get 35 miles per gallon, saving us $520 per year.  He opened our mail and learned that we are not smart enough to shop for the best terms for credit cards and, with Congress, ordered that banks alter terms and conditions to favor consumers.  Unfortunately, the banks will cut credit to customers with weaker credit histories, but this is OK because President Obama said that many Americans are irresponsible with their debt.  Now he peeks through the windows of our homes and sees that we are using the wrong kind of bulbs and mandates that we use cost saving bulbs. 

Mr. President, I am smart enough to buy my own car, shop for credit cards and pick light bulbs.  Leave me alone!
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  1. Dr. Brooks,
    Haha, funny. I feel that Obama has not exactly found the solution to our economic state and is trying help it a little at a time until he can find a solution to bring us back to where we were. The only thing is that he may not get credit for what he does. I mean Reagan's economic plans were for the long run, and didn't peak until Clinton's presidency;hence, making Clinton look as if he did all the work. I feel that Obama will find a way to fix this, but until then he will do all he can to help us in the short run.
    Your Student,
    Lindsey Scott

  2. Although some of Obama’s energy conservation efforts seem invasive and small, at least he is acknowledging that we have an energy crisis and focusing our nation’s attention on finding solutions to the problem. If prior presidents had addressed the energy problem, we might not be so dependent on foreign oil today and would not be suffering all of the resulting price fluctuations. Obama seems to have a finger in the dam approach to energy conservation. Plug up a hole here, plug up a hole there. However, a lot of little energy savings combined together can result in a large national energy savings. I do believe that his main emphasis should be on developing a low cost supply of renewable, green energy sources such as wind and solar power. The demand is definitely there, thanks to the oil price manipulation we have experienced in the last two years. Even though Obama may seem like a ‘Nanny’ in regards to energy conservation, I have little faith that the majority of the American people would take these steps on their own.

    Student - Candis Massingill

  3. Jacinta Tatman30/6/09 7:16 PM

    I wish the past presidents would have put as much focus toward energy conservation and alternate forms of energy as Obama has. We are so dependent on other countries for fuel, that it has to a crux, and we have to hurry and push alternate fuel forms. I'm glad that Obama is stepping up, and while he has to do a lot of hand-holding, like a nanny, it's something that needs to be done now. Most people don't do well with change, so a little hand-holding is needed to encourage people to move in the right direction. I can only hope that Americans respond in a way that moves our country away from that dependence, keeping more money in our country while also creating jobs in this new market.

    All in all, people complain about changes but are quick to enjoy the benefits that come along.

  4. Jason Haddock1/7/09 10:54 AM

    I have to ask, has anyone here read the Constitution? The president (BO) has overstepped his constitutional bounds. He has done this in propping up the banks, in taking over GM, in trying to pass tax and kill (Cap & Trade), in trying to nationalize (socialize) healthcare, and in trying to tell me what stinking light bulb to use. I mean honestly i can't pick a light bulb? And Phillips (maker of these bulbs) loves it because forcing everyone to use these expensive bulbs puts small competitors out of business. Former presidents have tried to push for energy independance: Bush (the last) tried to open drilling in wildlife reserves, further off our coastline in the Pacific, and going after shale coal in the Rockies. It was CONGRESS (controlled by the liberals and statists, and backed by enviro-whackjobs) that said no. We have plenty here to use of our own, we just need to access these resources.

    Obama is not "stepping up" as some previous posters have said. He is stripping us of our rights and liberties. We now live in a soft tyranny, and the more he "holds our hands" the more right we will lose.

  5. Though I believe that President Obama's intentions are good in tring to save America's energy crisis, I believe that there are much more crucial economic factors that need to be paid attention to. Unemployment is a dangerous enemy that continues to lurk amidst the homes of many Americans. This problem should be at the top of the list of things to fix on American soil, instead of sitting behind whether or not Americans should use cost efficient light bulbs.

    Student- James Hodges

  6. Michael Overcash5/7/09 10:51 PM

    Ahh, yes, the science of economics at work here. The President is speculating, theorizing, and hypothosizing, as any good scientist should do, his prediction for more energy efficiency which will only be validated years from now when he is out of office. Although his intentions appear to do no harm on the surface, his past statements on how Americans should spend, and what to drive, seem to push the envelope of freedom of choice. I personally used so called "energy efficient" light bulbs about 4 years ago and they did not last a quarter of the time the package stated.

  7. Cameron BLenden5/7/09 11:57 PM

    I think that the government and Obama presidency should worry about more important issues such as the market, our economy, and the endless job cut that are happening all ovr the United States. Yea this energy efficient light bulb usage would save more energy and be productive, but th should be a last minute thing to do behind more important issues. However I do reaize that this could possibly create jobs in America helping out one crisis.

  8. Whitney Coffey6/7/09 12:33 AM

    In my opinion, Obama is taking his efforts of economic improvement to an extreme. His governmental regulation of such commodities like light bulbs seems to be, not necessarily over-stepping freedoms, but perhaps focusing too much on entirely too small of issues on America's plate. I commend him for his concern for his people and resources, but really? Lightbulbs?

  9. Obama is stepping outside his boundaries as President. Although this would hypothetically increase profit in the hands of Americans in the long run, this should not be our President's agenda. Cutting back on costs is a great thing and conserves energy which is great but by doing this, Obama will not increase capital which I'm sure is his number one goal, in attaining more profit and capital for our country.

    Student-Marley Huckabee

  10. So, most Americans polled just before Jan 2015, believe the US is headed in the wrong direction.

    So, I guess the solution is to reverse our direction by;

    1. Limiting the US stock market. Cripple the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq before they burst forward any more.

    2. Stop all new construction! Flying into Las Vegas last year, I noticed a new subdivision with dozens of new houses being built. Las Vegas was ground ZERO for excess housing after the Bush induced crash of 2008. Predictions were made that Las Vegas had a 5-7 year supply of excess homes. Well guess what? Housing is back, across the US. This has to stop too, because we can't stand housing success right?

    3. We need to stop and reverse all the employment gains we've made. Yes, all these new jobs are killing us! Stop before the unemployment rate hits 5%! OK, stop before it hits 4%!

    4. Let's all go back to dumping our sick into hospital emergency rooms because Obamacare is making me remember we all paid for that eventually.

    5. Let's go back to traveling around the World telling folks we're 'Canadian', because we're ready again for the rants and rampage we got telling people we were Americans during the Bush years.

    C'mon folks. Let's admit half this country is stupid, low-information voters, who are ignorant and/or racists who don't know squat.

    Here's a simple way to explain our last 20 years in America.

    Democrat Clinton = Good economy, peace, left a big surplus.

    Republican Bush = War based on lies, bad economy, global economic collapse

    Democrat Obama = End wars & reduce American boots on the ground outside the US, where possible, repair massive damage to US employment, housing, stock markets, good economy, reduce deficits.