Free Market Fundamentalist Opinion

Light Bulbs and Obama’s Paternalism

The push to ban incandescent light bulbs from the United States exposes the utterly misguided paternalism of the Obama Administration.

The Obama Administration has voiced opposition to a House bill that would repeal a 2007 law that effectively banned incandescent light bulbs. Energy secretary Steven Chu told The Wall Street Journal that the measure is good one because, “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.”

Indeed. This administration believes that government knows best and that choices are best taken away from people lest they make the wrong ones.

The light bulbs legislation hardly stands on its own. Countless of laws and regulations have been enacted by federal and state governments in the last two years that deny people choice and undermine competition. Health care reform is but the most blatantly paternalistic of “reforms” introduced under President Barack Obama’s watch. Fuel effiency standards, net neutrality, new regulations for credit cards and loans and the nationalization of banks and automakers all stem from the same conviction — that people and markets cannot be trusted to do what’s good for them; that central planners know what’s best for people.

Seventy years of communism apparently haven’t laid the theory to rest. The notion that a panel of “experts” in Washington can regulate an industry the size of France’s entire economy is, of course, preposterous. But it is championed by this administration nevertheless. The notion that government can indiscriminately ban products and services which it deems undesirable is not just preposterous — it is very dangerous. Where is the end?