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  • The Clean Energy Future Looks Dim for Light Bulb Workers

    The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 set lighting requirements that, in essence, outlaw the familiar incandescent light bulb. The impact of lighting mandates on energy security is minuscule, since electricity comes almost entirely from secure domestic sources, such as coal. (Petroleum generates about 1 percent of domestic electricity.) However, EISA’s impact on job security is pretty clear for 200 workers in Winchester, Va.

    This month General Electric will shut down the last major incandescent light bulb factory in the United States, and the 200 workers in Winchester will lose their jobs. Green advocates hold that more jobs will be created making the high-tech replacements. Too bad the green-job theory is wrong.

    Forcing the economy to use more expensive items may create some jobs in a targeted industry, but the higher costs will kill even more jobs elsewhere. (See here and here.) But the bitter irony, in this case, is that while there is a net job loss, the new jobs that are created are created in China. China supplies the overwhelming proportion of the compact florescent bulbs (the twisty ones) that we will need to purchase as replacements for our older bulbs.

    It seems that the compact florescent bulbs are surprisingly labor intensive, and that makes China a cheaper place to build them. In fact, just one Chinese company estimates that it manufactures fully half of all compact florescent bulbs sold in the U.S. And this is not an anomaly: Solar panel production is moving to China, as is windmill production.

    Washington’s green-economy fantasy is imposing a strange deal on Americans: higher costs and fewer jobs in the U.S. in exchange for a partial offset in employment in China. Why are we paying for that?

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to The Clean Energy Future Looks Dim for Light Bulb Workers

    1. Potenciano Isaac 394 says:

      Educate the public to check the manufacturer of the item they are purchasing. If it is Made in China always keep in mind that this is a job killer. These compact fluorescent light bulbs from China usually have short lives or done with inconsistent quality control. I make it a point to get U.S.-made GE or Philips which are a little more expensive but of better quality and may last longer. In the end, it is cheaper and keeps an American worker his job.

    2. George Colgrove, VA says:

      "Washington’s green-economy fantasy is imposing a strange deal on Americans: higher costs and fewer jobs in the U.S. in exchange for a partial offset in employment in China. Why are we paying for that?"

      First of all it is not Washington – lets start refering that track of land as the District of Columbia or simply the District. That city does not represent the thinking of Washington. Conservatives would go far in distinguishing George Washington – someone who is diabolically opposite to Obama and co. Washington would have never been involved with a green-economy fantasy.

      That aside, why are we paying for it? Because of a very strong central government!

      Now, I am seeing something that is bothering me. Heritage seems to be OK with a certain level of big federal government and seems to accept a premice that there will be a big federal government. This goes fully against the stated premice behind the organization. Is Heritage trying to protect a certain level of government to maintain or justify its presence? I hope not. There will always be a need for a watch dog no matter how small and weak we can make the federal government. The organization can shift its mission to keeping state governments in check. There has never been such a good time to eliminate much of the federal government as there is now. And there has never been such a flow of ideas to make this happen safely as right now. Lets focus on solutions that eliminates the domestic duties of the federal government and shift those duties to state and local governments or to the private sector where there are "customers".

    3. Bobbie says:

      Because they are toxic, it should be by choice of the consumer based on practicality not government mandate.

    4. Billie says:

      Because they are toxic, it should be by choice of the consumer based on practicality not government mandate.

    5. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    6. Kim Machir, Ohio says:

      I heard on the radio about this last lightbulb factory closing its doors, and was reminded how short-sighted environmentalists seem to be. When I was a child, we used paper bags at the grocery store. Then they came out with the plastic, and the mantra was "save a tree, use plastic." Now we have innumerable plastic bags filling the landfills, blowing through our neighborhoods, etc. They aren't "biodegradable," unlike paper. Coincidentally, aren't trees are a renewable resource?

      Now the incandescent bulb is dying an untimely death, in favor of "green" compact flourescents. These new bulbs are laden with mercury, and are supposed to be disposed of through hazardous waste handling. How likely is THAT to happen? So by replacing incandescents with flourescents, we will be dumping mercury into landfills, poisoning the groundwater. Weighing the options, I say, incandescents are better for the environment!

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