Who’s the Dim Bulb In South Carolina?

Senior Contributor
03.30.11 4 Comments

South Carolina has some problems right now: it’s got a ten percent unemployment rate, a bit higher than the national average, with flat job growth. 2600 acres of its coastline, a major tourist attraction and wildlife habitat for the state, have been burned by a wildfire that was only gotten under control last Friday. In short, the government of South Carolina has a lot it could be doing to help the citizens of the fine state that elected them.

So what are they trying to do? Attempting to keep the federal government from taking their precious incandescent light bulbs away. Why the state legislature is being a bunch of dimwits, today in Uproxx News.

At issue is a provision of the Energy Independence and Security Act, which will start phasing out the incandescent light bulb, except for special applications, in 2012 by requiring more energy efficiency from bulbs. This mostly means manufacturers will have to hit new efficiency standards for their products that can really only be met by fluorescent bulbs. Manufacturers could care less; the fluorescent bulbs last longer, but cost more, so really to them it’s all the same. In the states, of course, it’s a different matter.

In all fairness, South Carolina is not the first state to consider this non-issue. Arizona actually passed a law saying they were going to keep incandescent bulbs, but it got vetoed. And Texas, Georgia and Minnesota thought about taking a run at it, but it turned out they had better things to spend their time on.

The law, which shows a rather weak grasp of how commerce laws actually work, states that the bulbs would be made exclusively in South Carolina, stamped “Made In South Carolina” and only be sold in South Carolina. You might be wondering “But how will they keep the bulbs from being shipped out of state or taken across state lines?” If so, congratulations: you have a better grasp of how things actually work than the South Carolina state legislature, and also an understanding of why this law would get laughed out of any court in the nation.

So, obviously, South Carolina is a major manufacturer of incandescent light-bulbs, right? There’s no way a law this ridiculous could come about unless somebody was protecting a fat-cat business. South Carolina wants to be the center of a light-bulb monopoly. Well…no. There’s one incandescent light-bulb factory in South Carolina. It employs about fifteen people.

No, what’s actually going on here is that South Carolina, just like the time some idiot proposed it make its own currency (that would be about a month ago) or the time it tried to stall the federal health care law, doesn’t like Obama and are trying to be defiant towards that Democrat in any way possible. Yes, they’re trying to stick it to the Man, not realizing that they are, in fact, also the Man.

Of course, the “man” in question is actually George W. Bush: the law mandating this transition was passed by him with absolutely no objection in 2007, and was in fact championed by him as part of his “Twenty in Ten” initiative to reduce gasoline consumption.

It’s unlikely the law will pass; the Senate seems lukewarm to the idea and the governor of South Carolina seems more interested in trivial things that actually assist the state. We guess the people of South Carolina will just have to replace their dim bulbs in 2012, in their light sockets and maybe in the polling place.


  • South Carolina’s lawmakers embarrass the entire state. Again. (BusinessWeek)
  • Here’s how they embarrassed the entire state last month! (Boston.com)
  • And in case you were wondering what they were whining about, here’s a summary of the law and the exceptions. (About.com)



  • Today in absolute futility, the New York Times is once again trying to institute a paywall after trying and failing miserably TWICE. They want $15 a month for “unlimited digital access”, $20 if you want some iPad action with that (no smartphones), and $35 for the full boat. One thing they didn’t do, which is what completely sabotaged their attempt the last time they tried it, is limit online access for actual paper subscribers, most of whom freely gave away their usernames and passwords to friends, family and total strangers. So, yeah, expect the New York Times to be the source of all the news that’s fit to copy-pasta. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Meanwhile, Amazon has recently accidentally revealed that it’s pushing for more educational apps on its Kindle platform, which immediately has analysts speculating it’s going to go all Game Boy on the iPad’s Game Gear ass. Not so much…at least for now. (Mac Observer)



  • Lighting America eats up 34 percent of the energy we produce. Really? We thought that was the amount of energy going into Internet porn. (Oberlin)
  • But they only had 6% of the market in 2007. Japan, for contrast, had them in 80% of homes. (Washington Post)


Around The Web