Every New Year brings a bevy of stupid new nanny state bans.
In Los Angeles supermarket chains can no longer give out free plastic grocery bags made of plastic. From now on, either bring your own or shell out 10 cents per sack.
Illinois – a state so well-run that is faces billions of dollars in unfunded pension obligations—now bans anyone under the age of 18 from going to a tanning salon. Residents also face a $50 fine for flicking a cigarette butt in the street or on the sidewalk too.
Delaware has banned the sale, possession, or eating of shark fins. New York City has banned horse-drawn carriage rides, and Major Leauge Baseball has banned home plate collisions.
The list is long and grim and seemingly endless but the worst nanny state ban going into effect in 2014 is almost surely the federal prohibition on the production of new incandescent light bulbs.
This ban was seven years in the making. The 2007 Energy Bill – enthusiastically signed by then President George W Bush – effectively killed incandescents light bulbs via energy efficiency mandates. 100 and 75 watt bulbs were phased out in previous years and now cheap 60 and 40 light bulbs – once the very symbol of a good idea – verboten in the Land of the Free.
Before the incandescent bulbs go out for good, it's worth shining a light on its cause: The ban was pushed by light bulb makers eager to up-sell customers on longer-lasting and much more expensive halogen, compact fluourescent, and LED lighting. When customers balked at paying more for home lighting, General Electric, Sylvania, and Philips did what corporate behemoths always do: They turned to the government for regulation that rigs the market in their favor.
So when you throw out that last 40 cent 40 Watt light bulb, remember that you're not just tossing out a piece of history, but a piece of what used to be a freer market.
Runs about 2:30.
Produced by Todd Krainin. Written and narrated by Nick Gillespie. Cameras by Meredith Bragg. Music by Chuzausen.
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