Jacob Sullum

That calculation takes into account the higher price of CFLs, but I suspect it assumes they last longer than they really do. In any event, I would gladly pay 14 cents a day for the luxury of lights that go on when I turn them on. But the government won't let me.

I am not a fuddy-duddy clinging to "the incandescent light bulb that has its origins in Thomas Alva Edison's laboratory" -- as Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, put it when he introduced a bill to repeal the bulb ban -- simply because it's familiar. I will be happy to use CFLs if and when their manufacturers get the kinks out, or LED bulbs when they become affordable. But I am not the only one who thinks we're not there yet, judging from the Energy Department's estimate that more than 80 percent of residential lights sockets were still occupied by incandescent bulbs last year.

By forcing this transition, the government is ignoring the preferences that most Americans have clearly expressed in the marketplace. Which explains why I cheered when I heard Paul declare: "You busybodies always want to do something to tell us how to live our lives better. Keep it to yourselves."


Jacob Sullum

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a contributing columnist on Townhall.com.
 
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