If Thomas Edison's invention of the incandescent light bulb is the perfect symbol of how an entrepreneur can exploit American freedom to create a product that changes the world, then Sen. Hillary Clinton's plan to rid this nation of incandescent bulbs may be the perfect symbol of how Americans can lose their freedom to a government bent on changing the world.
Yes, Mrs. Clinton has it in for incandescent light bulbs. She said so Monday at a windmill manufacturing plant in Iowa.
Nor is the light bulb you use the only thing she intends to change in your home, and in your life, in her crusade to save Earth from overheating.
Two years ago on plane ride to Alaska, Mrs. Clinton discovered that our planet is in peril. "Traveling over those vast coniferous forests that blanket those harsh, unforgiving latitudes, I looked down to see dead trees as far as the eye could reach," she said at the windmill factory. "The forests, it turns out, were once protected by cold, cold winters." Global warming, she learned, is killing them.
Mrs. Clinton is now committed to making the world a colder place.
At the windmill factory, she laid out her plans for this in a 6,000-word speech, in which she argued that the threat of a climactic apocalypse will require her, as president, to "move us from a carbon-based economy to an efficient, green economy."
This, of course, will require government and more government.
For starters, Mrs. Cinton said, "We must change the way utilities make money." She will do this by "decoupling" their earnings from selling you electricity, which she will somehow accomplish by inducing them to pay the "up-front costs" of installing "solar power and cold resistant glass and other improvements" in your home.
"I also," she said, "want to launch a green building fund to invest $1 billion per year into energy efficiency in public buildings ... help 20 million low-income families modernize their homes ... create a ... Carbon Neutral Mortgage Association ... put in place a ... cap and trade system to reduce carbon pollution ... (in which the) federal government auctions permits for 100 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions ... raise the fuel efficiency standard to 40 miles per gallon by 2020 and 55 by 2030 ... provide $20 billion in green vehicle bonds to help domestic automakers ... invest $2 billion in research and development ... of lithium ion batteries ... offer consumers a tax credit of up to $10,000 for purchasing a plug-in hybrid ... increase funding for public transit to more than $1.5 billion each year ... (propose) a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund to invest in the clean energy technologies of the future ... end() the tax breaks that oil companies receive ... require oil companies and other major gasoline retailers to install E85 pumps ... increase the goal for biofuels to 60 billion gallons ... make the production tax credit for wind and solar permanent."
And: "We will phase out the incandescent light bulb, the technology that Thomas Edison pioneered."
Her plan, Mrs. Clinton hopes, will "reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050," which she says is "the amount necessary to avoid the most dangerous and destructive consequences of climate change."
She gamely admits, however, that even if she succeeds in imposing all this additional government on America, it will have no impact on the global situation if foreign nations keep coughing up carbon. "If other countries like China and India are polluting the atmosphere," she said, "all of their pollution will get up on the wind currents and fall right down on us."
Thus, she proposes creating even more government on a global scale by, among other things, "leading the process to develop a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire in 2012."
"I'll establish an E8 that's modeled on the G8, which is where the big industrial economies come together," she said. "I want to focus on international attention to solve the problem of global deforestation."
The "energy crisis," Mrs. Clinton grandly concluded, equates to World War II. "While young, brave troops served and bled and died overseas, here at home Americans did their part," she said. "Men and women went to work in factories to build ships and planes. Americans grew victory gardens, purchased war bonds, and conserved fuel and electricity. The task before us commands the same urgency and demands the same resolve."
"This is a transformational challenge for our nation and our government," she said.
No kidding. The statist transformation Mrs. Clinton envisions would not only abolish Mr. Edison's light bulb, but put out the light of freedom by which such inventions are made.