retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that Republicans in the US House of Representatives have “failed to advance a measure that would repeal regulations that increase efficiency standards for light bulbs, rules that they have assailed as an example of government overreach.” Those arguing for a repeal also say that new, more efficient bulbs will be too expensive.

As the paper notes, “The first stage of the standards, which will be phased in from Jan. 1 through 2014, requires bulbs to be 25 to 30 percent more efficient. The second stage could require bulbs to be 60 percent more efficient by 2020 ... The restrictions could eliminate the familiar incandescent bulbs, which have used essentially the same technology since Thomas Alva Edison invented them.”
KC's View:
Here’s what I don’t understand about the “government overreach” charge. (And I know this will irritate some MNB readers.)

I accept that it is a legitimate charge that sometimes government makes unwanted intrusions into people’s lives. But if it is determined by experts and scientists, let’s say, that it is important for the nation’s economic and environmental health and sustainability that we get more efficient in our usage of everyday electricity, isn’t it government’s responsibility to respond to big picture and long-term exigencies to which individuals and businesses might not pay sufficient attention?

And, from a global perspective, even if other countries don’t make the same adjustments, isn’t it important to show a sense of leadership about things such as sustainability and the environment?

Here’s the broader philosophical question: Are there times when it foes not make sense to be purely market-driven, because sometimes in the pursuit of profit, larger and even more important concerns may be ignored ... at our own peril?

Perhaps this is what the President of the United States was thinking when he signed this unwanted government intrusion into law. In 2007. When President George W. Bush, a Republican, signed it.

Is it fair to say that what really has changed is not the economy, not the environment, but rather the politics of the nation?