Why trust Congress with health care when it messes up simple things like light bulbs?

The new mandated light bulbs don’t save as promised; produce inferior quality light; and 90% of them are made abroad. The old ones were mostly made in America. The new law has led to General Electric’s August announcement that it was shutting down incandescent bulb factories in Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia.

Light bulb researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute confirm that “A CFL can appear dimmer than expected.” It’s because the “equivalence” information on the packaging (comparing compact fluorescent lights—CFL’s—to incandescent bulbs) usually overstates significantly the amount of light they put out.

The new bulbs are “falling short” according to director Michael Siminovitch of the California Lighting Technology Center at the University of California, Davis—who has been an advocate of them. He admits, “In the pursuit of the holy grail, we stepped on the consumer.” Says Siminovitch, the CFL’s are “not lasting quite as long as consumers have been led to believe. . . . they don’t last very long.”

The whole premise was that consumers would pay significantly more to buy bulbs, but ultimately would save on electric bills. It appears the lifespan and energy figures touted by Congress don’t match up well with the products being sold to consumers.

Other problems include dimmer than expected light even after the bulbs warm up; a lesser quality of light that contributes to eye strain plus off-color appearances; and aesthetics suffer in fixtures intended for shaped bulbs, such as flame or globe shapes.

Bulb-makers, however, can earn bigger profits by selling bulbs that typically cost six to ten times more than the old variety. A typical markup is said to be 30% for the wholesaler and another 30% for the retailer.

Even electric companies are accused of taking advantage of consumers. Ohio’s First Energy had ordered millions of new CFL bulbs to deliver to its customers, but had to back off when its plan to bill them $21 for a pair of bulbs was reported by the media.

Most of us screw in light bulbs; Congress screws them up. Can these people be trusted with redesigning a full one-sixth of America’s economy through “health care reform”?