Bonfires and illuminations

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. In 1994 the implementing regulations went into effect, requiring that all residential toilets be manufactured using a 1.6-gallons-per-flush standard. On the tenth anniversary of the regulations, American Standard made an important announcement: “today the worry-free 1.6-gallon toilet is becoming a reality.”
The busybodies of the administrative state have remained hard at work. In December 2007, Congress enacted an energy bill that will, among many, many other things, force us to buy a new kind of light bulb. As Andrew Ferguson explained in “A nation of dim bulbs,” environmental enthusiasts don’t like the light bulbs we’re using now. They reason, therefore, that we shouldn’t be allowed to have them.
The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush. President Bush extolled the energy bill in a statement at the Department of Energy. For reasons that Ferguson touched on, Bush acknowledged the light bulb provision a bit circumspectly: “The bill…includes revisions to improve energy efficiency in lighting and appliances.” After summarizing the bill, he stated: “With these steps, particularly in the bill I’m about to sign, we’re going to help American consumers a lot.” And he thanked Congress: “I appreciate the fact that we’ve worked together, that we can show what’s possible in addressing the big issues facing our nation.” Indeed.
Last week Deroy Murdock lamented the impending demise of the electric light bulb. Murdock cited an April 14 fact sheet from General Electric noting that 276 versions of its incandescent bulbs will start to vanish just 18 months from now. Murdock alludes to the virtues of the classic American light bulb and points out the defects of the common compact fluorescent lights that are to replace it.
The administrative state has inserted its big paws into our houses, from the toilet bowl to the light socket. Now if it would just stretch those paws from the one to the other at the same time, we might begin to recapture the spirit of ’76.
If only we understood it. Hillsdale College Professor Ronald J. Pestritto explores “The birth of the administrative state,” explaining how the ideas that gave rise to the administrative state are fundamentally at odds with those that gave rise to the Constitution. Glenn Reynolds draws lessons for liberty activists from the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision. And Bruce Cole urges us to go beyond the fireworks in celebrating our heritage today.

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