Saturday, December 17, 2011
What stories like this bring home is that today's Congressional Republicans are not really so much in rebellion against President Obama and the Democrats. One reason that our country's politics have become so polarized is that the new Republican Party has repudiated policies that they themselves advocated only a few years ago. One of President Bush's signature initiatives was to expand the federal role in education. Today's Republican candidates want to abolish the entire Department of Education. President Bush dramatically expanded the reach of Medicare to include a prescription drug benefit. Today's Republicans want to turn Medicare into a block grant program that will force an increasing share of medical costs onto beneficiaries. President Bush pursued an interventionist foreign policy. Many of today's Republicans want us to retreat from global involvement.
most of the federal deficit is the result of these Bush policies. (The other major contributor to the deficit is the recession itself, which has reduced government revenues, and triggered automatic spending increases for such entitlements as food stamps and unemployment benefits.) Therefore, when Republicans in Congress today rail against excessive government spending and the deficit, they are really in rebellion against Bush policies more than Obama's.
But back to light bulbs. By taking such an extreme stance against a common sense measure to increase energy efficiency and spur the market to create more advanced energy solutions, what kind of message are Congressional Republicans sending? It's more than denying global warming. It's more than disregard of the environment. It is hostility to government regulation to the point that we are defending wastefulness and inefficiency in private industry and home consumption. It is standing up for the right of Americans to pay higher electric bills. It is disregard of science and technology to the point where we become fearful of change and innovation. My guess is that even Thomas Edison, who perfected the incandescent lamp in 1879, would be disgusted with modern politicians' efforts to cling to such an outmoded technology.