Solving Real Problems

(My sincere condolences to Ed, whose stepfather died last night. RIP good sir. While Ed takes care of funeral arrangements, I’ll be kicking in a few more posts today.)

So things are looking pretty grim. In Europe, Greece is circling the drain faster and faster; it could be broke by July. Martin Wolf titles his latest column “Panic has become all too rational.” The ECB, which could still cut interest rates (!!!), decided they won’t right now. As Atrios says, this wouldn’t solve anything, but it certainly would help a little, and the fact that they won’t do even the first, most obvious thing is staggering. Back on our side of the Atlantic, May’s jobs numbers were atrocious, and there are indications that the European crisis is starting to drag on our economy.

So what are our noble elected representatives in the House doing? Why, voting against efficient lightbulb standards, of course!

In a voice vote, the House approved an amendment to the Energy and Water spending bill for 2013 that would prevent the Department of Energy from spending money to enforce a 2007 law that sets bulb efficiency standards. The law bans the sale of 100 watt incandescent bulbs and will ban the sale of 75 watt traditional bulbs in July 2013.

This graf is grossly misleading, as Kevin Drum could tell you: “Nope. Traditional bulbs will continue to be available. They’ll just be more efficient.”

But that fact that House conservatives have settled on this as the new incarnation of big-government socialism, a bill passed with huge majorities and signed by George W. Bush, doesn’t bode well for the republic.

Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper is national correspondent for the Week, and a former web editor for the Washington Monthly.