The lighting and engineer community is in near-universal agreement regarding fluorescent bulbs: they save a substantial amount of energy, compared to tradition incandescent light bulbs, although they aren't perfect.
Further, one would think that lawmakers in Washington -- specifically Republican Leadership in the U.S. House - with a U.S. economy ailing would be focused on the more-pressing issues of the day, like how to create the roughly 14.1 million new jobs the U.S. needs to meet all Americans out of work. (The total is about 21 million new jobs, if you count the number of part-time workers seeking full-time work who can't find it.)
In fact, the primary issue Republicans campaigned on in the 2010 election was job creation. As House Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly said -- Republicans were returned to Congress in 2010 to create jobs.
So what has the Republican Party focused on? Well, they made undercutting the fluorescent bulb implementation act one of their priorities.
On Friday the U.S. House voted to withhold funding to enforce part of the law that increases efficiency standards for light bulbs, The New York Times reported.
The new standard requires most light bulbs to be 25 to 30 percent more efficient by 2014, and at least 60 percent more efficient by 2020, and that's something the new fluorescent bulbs can accomplish.
However, Republicans view increased energy efficient law as an unnecessary intrusion of the government in to private lives.
If the House measure becomes law, it would prevent the U.S. Department of Energy from enforcing the new light bulb energy consumption standard in 2012.
Energy/Public Policy Analysis: House Republicans view the light bulb law as the federal government repressing the market. In reality, it shows just how extreme -- and out-of-touch -- the GOP has become with respect to the typical person's daily life and struggles.
Incandescent bulbs are more than 130 years old, and are essentially the same design that Thomas Edison refined a century ago. They are incredibly inefficient: only about 10 percent -- just 10 percent -- of the energy they consume is used to produce light. The other 90 percent is wasted as heat. Fluorescent bulbs can be up to 65 percent more efficient than incandescent, hence one can see the substantial reduction in U.S. energy usage that would occur if they're used universally.
Why does the GOP want to turn-back-the-clock on light bulb technology? It's a symbolic issue that telegraphs to the party's conservative base that the caucus has the power to check progressive policies and maintain the status quo...even if that status quo is regressive and hurts the nation. For House Republicans, conservative values and policies, no matter how regressive and short-sighted, are superior to the national interest and progress.
And one can also see how counter-productive and progress-delaying the House anti-fluorescent bulb legislation is: it will literally result in tens of billions of dollars in increased electricity costs for the common person, and for the nation.
Further, a fluorescent bulb bill does not reduce personal freedom: it's an energy system improvement stemming from a smarter regulation -- similar to the way increased federal miles per gallon requirements for cars made cars more energy-efficient.
And, equally significant, the anti-fluorescent bill shows how out-of-touch the conservative House Republican caucus is: the nation's is short more than 10 million jobs...and the House GOP is dedicating time to light bulb regulation repeal.
The GOP was returned to power in the House to create millions of new jobs, and the caucus could do that will a series of public works jobs bills.
But no, the GOP believes it's more important to protect your right to purchase the light bulb of your choice than to employ you in good, useful, and necessary work. That's something that voters may remember as the 2012 election rolls around.