Government Electric: Light bulbs 

What: A federal law setting minimum efficiency standards for most light bulbs. This law effectively bans incandescent bulbs.

How GE lobbied for it: GE opposed one proposal to simply ban the incandescent, instead lobbying for the efficiency regulation that went into the 2007 energy bill.

How Obama pushed it: Obama backed the 2007 energy bill, and specifically endorsed the efficiency regs.

How GE benefits from it: The profit margins on incandescents are small. Margins are higher on compact fluorescents and LED bulbs. Also the regulation provided the political and PR cover for GE to close its incandescent factories in Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia -- the CFLs are made in China.

How you suffer: The hundreds of workers at the light bulb factories lost their jobs. Soon, you will not be allowed to buy cheaper bulbs. For now, the only replacements are CFLs which do not perform as well.

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Timothy P. Carney

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