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Michael Barrow  
Seguin, TX  
August 16, 2011 12:51pm
 
During the recent debate among the Republican presidential candidates in Ames, Iowa, Congresswoman Michele Bauchmann touted her authorship of the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act as an accomplishment qualifying her to be President of the United States. Representative Bauchmann and her fellow Tea Party caucus members, including Texas Congressman Joe Barton of Arlington, are intent on repealing the energy efficiency standards for light bulbs contained in the Energy Independence and Security Act, signed by President George W. Bush in 2007.

Since the standard incandescent bulb inefficiently converts 90% of the power it consumes into heat instead of visible light, the Energy Act of 2007 requires light bulbs to increase their efficiency by 60% by 2020. When fully implemented, the new standards would save enough energy to allow the phase-out of 30 large coal-fired power plants, reduce emissions by the equivalent of 17 million automobiles, and save consumers $12.5 billion a year.

What public policy reason do Bauchmann and the Tea Party give for opposing this eminently sensible legislation? Do they dispute the energy and cost saving benefits? No--their opposition is a knee-jerk ideological reaction against any government action they deem to be too intrusive, irrespective of its contribution to the nation’s well being. Apparently, in their zeal to prevent a perceived government over-reach, they are willing to perpetuate an inefficient and wasteful technology. Based on that criterion, will they be calling for the return of the four-barrel carburetor and leaded gasoline?
     
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