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This year the federal government began the phaseout of traditional incandescent lightbulbs, giving us yet another enlightening example of politicians short-circuiting free markets. The 100-watt bulb was banned on New Years Day of this year 2012, and all the rest will be by 2014. 

This prohibition of the standard lightbulb is justified on the grounds that it will save energy.  Well, if that were true, don't you think consumers would figure it out for themselves ? The chief replacement is the compact fluorescent lamp (CFLs)- you know, those things that look like glass corkscrews.  They cost from six to ten times the amount of the old bulbs, but Washington politicians assure us that consumers will ultimately save money because CFLs will last longer.

But they may not, warns experts such as Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute: "Cost savings are exaggerated.  First, the [new] bulbs are tested under ideal conditions.  Some ...

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