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Dim Bulbs in Government and Hollywood

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.


Are you a Republican? If so, I’d like to congratulate you on your 8 point lead in the polls over President Obama in the 2012 race. Man, November 2012 can’t come fast enough...


Anyway, on with the news.


Not The Brightest Idea. If the Obama Administration has proven anything it’s that government, no matter how much it spends, can’t create jobs. But if there’s one thing the government can do is destroy them...all of them in some industries.


In 2007, Republican Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) decided to prove stupidity is about the only bipartisan issue in Washington, DC. Upton thought light bulbs needed to be more efficient, so he used his position to impose his desire on the country, as most elected officials seem to love doing. He stuck a requirement that bulbs be 30 percent more efficient by 2012 in an energy bill, which the old, inexpensive Edison incandescent bulbs are incapable of. The result of Upton’s action wasn’t a direct ban, but it was an effective ban of cheap lights for everyone.


Never fear, we weren’t on the verge of reading by candle light, there was a solution...an expensive one. Compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) meet the new standards, so government still “let there be light.” Except CFLs are about 5 times more expensive than the old Edison bulb. Sure, they save energy, but the amount of money saved by an average family will be barely noticeable in their monthly bill.


Add to that the fact that they contain enough mercury to poison 528 gallons of water, so  if you break one you need to cover your house with a tarp, call the hazmat team and treat it the way to government treated Elliot’s house in ET, and you begin to see why this move has proven less successful than Joe Biden would be on High School Jeopardy. 


In an effort to save us from...something they imposed on us, Republican Joe Barton introduced HR 2417, the “Better Use of Light Bulbs Act.” Never mind that light bulbs have only one use, unless you’re Uncle Fester, and realize this is Congress trying to cover its own butt. But calling a bill the “We Didn’t Think You’d Get This Pissed Off So We’re Trying To Undo What We Shouldn’t Have Done In The First Place Act” doesn’t really have a ring to it. 


It doesn’t matter, HR 2417 didn’t pass in the House, where it needed 2/3rds vote it needed under the rules of the House. Ten Republicans voted against the repeal, as did all but 5 Democrats, thanks to the personal whipping of the Democrat Leader, the multimillionaire Nancy Pelosi. Congressman Barton told Politico, “I was concerned that Ms. Pelosi might make it a litmus test issue in her caucus, and she did.”


It’s not surprising that Pelosi, who saw her net worth increase by 62 percent in the last year to $35.2 million, doesn’t give a damn about how much people have to spend for necessities. Her Marie Antoinette-esque attitude of “let them use candles on a birthday cake” is well known. But even if this legal stupidity were repealed, it’s to late to make a difference where it matters most. The real damage is done.


Last September the last factory in the United States that made the Edison bulbs closed and moved to China. Not only are CFL bulbs significantly more expensive to buy than the old model, it seems shooting poison into curly glass also makes them more expensive to make. No repeal of any ban will bring those jobs back, it’s too late.


You always hear about the “unintended consequences” of legislation, negative implications and reactions politicians never considered when drafting legislation to “make our lives better.” The battle of the light bulb is just the latest example of government acting “in our best interest” backfiring, as the implementation of Obamacare marches forward you can expect a lot more.


My problem isn’t that the government failed to repeal the ban on incandescent light bulbs, it’s that the government has gotten so big that they could do it in the first place.


Seniors No Longer Need Fiber, Obama Will Just Scare The [BLANK] Out Of Them. 


When not sucking up to lobbyists for campaign cash, or the super-rich, who donated the bulk of the $48 million he raised the quarter, President Obama is busy desperately trying to scare senior citizens in a pathetic attempt to gain some sort of footing in the battle over the debt ceiling and government spending.


In an interview with CBS News on Tuesday, the President said he couldn’t guarantee Social Security checks would go in on August 3rd if a deal wasn’t struck before then. The Weekly Standard reports a study by the Bipartisan Policy Center, “projects there will be $172 billion in federal revenues in August and $307 billion in authorized expenditures. That means there's enough money to pay for, say, interest on the debt ($29 billion), Social Security ($49.2 billion), Medicare and Medicaid ($50 billion), active duty troop pay ($2.9 billion), veterans affairs programs ($2.9 billion).”


After spending on those programs, the government will still have $39 billion left over to spend. But the President isn’t required to spend the money we’d have on those programs, it is up to him to pick and choose which programs are “essential” and which aren’t. So if a deal isn’t reached by the deadline, the only way senior citizens do not get their Social Security checks is if President Barack Obama decides he’d rather pay for other things, like the EPA.


That hasn’t stopped him or other Democrats from trying to scare the elderly. Lying to seniors and hoping to frighten them into supporting and voting for Democrats is pretty much where liberals live these days. It’s the only neighborhood that isn’t suffering from the foreclosure mess of the last few years, and it doesn’t look as though anyone is moving out anytime soon. But they should because the properties are condemned. 


Social Security is self-financed, or at least it’s supposed to be. We are all taxed on income and we are separately taxed for Medicare and Social Security. Every few months we’re all mailed a statement from the Social Security Administration telling us how much money is in our individual account. Democrats have been talking about the “Social Security Trust Fund” since the program started, and that’s where our money sits waiting for us to reach retirement age.


President Obama’s budget director, Jack Lew, wrote in USA Today just this past February that, “Social Security benefits are entirely self-financing. They are paid for with payroll taxes collected from workers and their employers throughout their careers. These taxes are placed in a trust fund dedicated to paying benefits owed to current and future beneficiaries.” Were he not writing an op-ed in America’s hotel newspaper and were under oath, even the Casey Anthony jury would convict him of perjury.


Of course there is no Social Security Trust Fund, that money has been stolen and spent just like the future earnings of your children and grandchildren. That hasn’t stopped politicians like the socialist Bernie Sanders from talking about it (and saying seniors will get their checks, come Hell or high water. Guess he missed the “scare the crap out of seniors” memo from the White House). Social Security is a Ponzi scheme on such a scale that it makes Bernie Madoff look like a pick-pocket who worked homeless shelters. The $2.6 trillion Trust Fund is as empty as Obama’s accomplishments in Illinois and US Senate combined.


The fact that a desperate man with no ideas would try such a tactic is nothing new, Bill Clinton bombed an aspirin factory to distract for his, um, short-comings. But if Obama isn’t lying, it lets all of us see how far the man is willing to go in order to force his will on the country.


Liberals/progressives love to chant about democracy, but once it moves past the theoretical stage they get a uncomfortable as a guy with a cheap toupee in a windstorm. The last time the American people weighed in and voted they voted overwhelmingly for Republicans who ran on cutting spending and keeping taxes low. Leftists will respond that turnout was low in the 2010 election, but who cares? Not voting is as much a choice and exercising of your right to as voting is.


Considering leftists rarely let the facts get in the way of a good story, you can’t really expect them to embrace what they espouse. Hold on to your wallets...or the government will.


Also-Ran Stories


The Former Champion Returns. It’s always nice when a champion is able to defend their title. Be it in boxing, the Olympics or even politics - when the best at something comes back for more it’s an event. That’s why it’s so exciting that a double title holder has come out of forced retirement to try and reclaim his former glory. Former Congressman Alan Grayson has announced he’s going to run again for the seat the voters of his Florida district unambiguously ripped out from under him in 2010. Yes, the dumbest and craziest candidate from 2010 (I say this remembering the candidacy of Alvin Greene) is coming back to defend his titles. For those of you who don’t remember Grayson, I don’t blame you. He was a worthless Congressman more interested in appearing on MSNBC than doing anything else. Since no one watches MSNBC and he had no accomplishments to speak of, his return slipped under the radar of the sane. He’s the man who called Republicans “knuckle-draggers,” Fox News “the enemy of America” and called his opponent last time, now Congressman Daniel Webster, “Taliban Dan.” Classy guy, eh? It’s great that he’s in the race, Republicans need all the “tap-in putt” reelections they can get. Oh, and if you’re looking for Grayson’s website it’s congressmanwithguts.com, not congressmanwhoisnuts.com. It’s a common mistake.


Newsflash: Celebrities Are Still Stupid. It’s always difficult to pick the dumbest thing a celebrity has said or done in any given week. They live in a bubble of sycophants and personal assistants rarely breached by reality, so shouldn’t expect them to know anything beyond which expensive club’s VIP room has the best perks for wealthy freeloaders. In years past celebrity stupidity went unnoticed. No one cared what they thought about anything because they usually don’t. Thanks to sites like TMZ, the rise of gossip rags and the Internet, more and more of their vapidity crept into the sunlight. Even then, a good publicist would still be able to cover up much and insulate the luxury class from bouts of self-inflicted dumb. But not anymore, not in the world of Twitter. The “Verified” account and the smart phone (the only thing about most of these people about which the word “smart” is used unironically) have given celebrities an unfiltered megaphone to the world, and the world an unflattering look into the vacuum between their ears. This week’s entrants into “Man, You Are Stupid” Hall of Fame are Russell Simmons and Cher. Simmons tweeted, “I am RICH and I DO NOT need a tax break. period.”  He then said, “tired of Republicans crying..the rich MUST PAY MORE TAXES! (including me).” He then went on to name a bunch of rich models and rappers who could afford to pay more in taxes. I’m sure they all loved that. What Simmons doesn’t seem to get is the fact that he could cut a check now for any amount he’d like and the US Treasury will gladly cash it. He could also have the accounting firm that does his taxes NOT avail themselves of every deduction humanly possible. Deduct nothing, pay more. But that isn’t going to happen. People like Simmons, Warren Buffett, etc. who complain that their taxes are too low NEVER just voluntarily cut a check to the government. Or, if they have all this excess cash floating around, donate it to charity. No, these leftists won’t lead by example. In fact, they won’t live how they claim to want to unless and until their will is imposed on others through the government. That’s how liberals are - hypocrites. So what do you say, Russell, how about a check? Pony up. Inspire other rich friends of yours to do the same. Take your fortune out of stocks, tax-free trusts and wherever else you keep it and take it as a salary, not a dividend. Show the world how it’s done.


Cher (those of you under 40 may know her from infomercials, those of you over 40 may remember her as a cautionary tale on the perils of plastic surgery) got all her stupid out in one tweet. That’s not the type of efficiency you’d expect from someone who dropped out of high school at 16, but Cher has had a lot of practice since then. She tweeted out, “God I Hate these Tea-vangelists ! M.Bachman should b strung up by her Testis..well Some-1 in her house has got 2 have a pair ?” No spelling or spacing has been changed.  I’m sure this will win her some sort of humanitarian or tolerance award from VH1. Let’s hope the ceremony doesn’t conflict with the wax-reforming of her face so she can pick it up in-what’s left of her-person.


And In The End...


What guy doesn’t love phantom/sympathy pain? How many clips of men getting hit in the groin with this or that won thousands on America’s Funniest Home Videos? Well, this story is a throwback to those glory days...if they were cross-pollinated with the John and Lorena Bobbitt story, only this time the car window is replaced with a garbage disposal. Yeah, I can’t event write about it without doubling over in pain and tripling by belief that the death penalty isn’t applied widely enough. Read it for yourself but know that you’ve been warned. Don’t come crying to me.


No beer, no peace! Quick, call the Bandit and Snowman! The government of Minnesota has been shut down for a couple of weeks now, and anarchy has yet to break out in the Land of Lakes. But that fact could change soon. While people seem to be living just fine without government, something that I’m sure hasn’t gone unnoticed in Washington, that could all change when the beer runs out in a couple of days. The MillerCoors Brewing Company, makers of many delicious beer brands, wasn’t able to renew their registration (READ: Tax license) before the agency that regulates alcohol sales closed due to the shut down. So, if the deal just struck to reopen government isn’t finalized soon (they’re working this weekend hoping to finish it up), Miller and Coors products will disappear from store shelves. The problem is spreading to bars, too. Seems they have to renew something called a “purchasing card” that allows them to buy alcohol to sell to the public. No card, no booze. Just who will be around to enforce these stupid overreaches by the state government remains unclear, but if there’s one thing government always finds a way to fund, even in shut downs, it’s the people who can fine others. Where are Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed when you need them?


Ok, each one of my pieces is longer than the last, so I’ll stop here and try to shorten it next week. I blame liberals, if they weren’t so damn stupid and hypocritical I wouldn’t have so much to cover. This piece (of ... ) is a prime example. I’m not sure anything could be written to out stupid it. And the author is a professor of economics. People pay this person for knowledge. I guess it beats hitting yourself in the head with a frying pan over and over...but that’s just a guess.


Go about your week.

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