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Steve King revels in wasting taxpayers’ money

February 13th, 2012 · No Comments

At the Bristol Community Event and Lightbulb Exchange - Bristol, NHConservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Representative Steve King (R-IA-5) made it very clear not just that he purposefully wastes taxpayers’ money but that he takes joy in doing so.

King referred to the House office building janitors during Pelosi’s time as speaker as her “Stasi troops” — referring to oppressive secret police in East Germany until 1990 — saying they unscrewed the lightbulbs in his office to replace them with energy-efficient “curly-Q” bulbs.

“I would screw them out and send the interns out to get me some of those good Edison lightbulbs,” he said, the crowd cheering. “And those interns would come back sometimes empty-handed in tears, because they couldn’t come up with a regular Edison light-bulb.”

He said he finally decided it was “cruel and inhumane” to send the interns on that task, so he went to find “black-market” lightbulbs himself. He then was faced with a decision: buy a recyclable bag, which he at first said no to, or pay more.

“Whenever I need to put a lightbulb in the lamp, I reach into this green bag and I screw it in there and I smile,” he said. “A little bit of my liberty back, a little bit of my freedom back.”

While we are going to take up other elements in King’s diatribe against “curly-Q” bulbs” after the fold, let us address the lay down the basic scenario:

  • Representative King drove to a store and bought incandescent lightbulbs (he stated that he paid for the bulbs, and the dreaded “recyclable bag” himself … but, well, does he charge mileage).
  • He then used those incandescent bulbs to replace compact flourescent bulbs which the taxpayers had paid for
  • To put them in lighting fixtures where the electricity by the taxpayer and where his bulbs will use about 4x as much electricity.
  • Representative King’s actions cost the taxpayer money … ..

Just how much money?

For an idea of how much, here is a discussion of CFLs in a condominiumCFL infinity

Let us take a very simple case for a light bulb pay back period. Assume that a light is on 40 hours per week. With a 100 watt incandescent light bulb, that would mean 4000 watt hours every week or 4 kwh/week. At a price of 14.5 cents per week, that translates into a weekly electrical bill of $0.58 or an annual cost of $30.37 for 208 kwh. For equivalent lighting, a CFL would use 27 watts. 40 hours of use would be 1080 watts or 1.054 kwh with a cost of $0.16 and an annual cost of $8.14 for 56 kwh. The CFL uses 42 cents less of electricity every week. For one year’s use, the CFL would cost $22.23 LESS than the use of the incandescent while using 152 fewer kilowatt hours.

That is at prices in a Maryland suburb comparable with DC’s retail electricity prices.

Here is a simple table laying out the differences based on an average electricity cost of 9.5 cents per kilowatt hour. .

Incandescent CFL
Watts 100 27
kWh week 4 1.08
Electricity Cost per week $0.38 $0.10
kWh / year 208 56.16
Electricity Cost per year $19.76 $5.34
# bulbs per year 2 0.5
Capital cost per year $1.00 $1.25
2 year bulb costs + electricity cost $41.52 $13.18

Remember, of course, that Representative King is likely trashing those removed CFLs  — that worsens the financial return on investment case even more.

Thus, every time King pulls out one of those bulbs from his little green bag, without mentioning the cost of the increased pollution due to burning the extra electricity, he is throwing no less than $25 bucks (and likely more) of the taxpayers’ money into the trash … each and every year.

Thus, when Steve King “reach[es] into this green bag … screw[s] it in and … smile[s],” while he might think that he is getting a “little bit of liberty back, a little bit of freedom back” it is clear to anyone who knows how to use a snubby pencil for basic arithmetic that he is really screwing the taxpayer.

Of course, the issue isn’t the 1000s of taxpayer dollars that Steve King is throwing in the trash but that he seeks to impose such wasteful promotion of 19th century technology on the rest of U.S.

Related:

Sigh …

Reveling and promoting wasteful practices in the name of liberty.

Sigh …

In any event, look at the absurdities and implications of King’s statements:

King referred to the House office building janitors … unscrewed the lightbulbs in his office to replace them with energy-efficient “curly-Q” bulbs.

“I would screw them out and send the interns out to get me some of those good Edison lightbulbs,” he said, the crowd cheering. “And those interns would come back sometimes empty-handed in tears, because they couldn’t come up with a regular Edison light-bulb.”

He said he finally decided it was “cruel and inhumane” to send the interns on that task, so he went to find “black-market” lightbulbs himself. He then was faced with a decision: buy a recyclable bag, which he at first said no to, or pay more.

Okay …

  1. They “couldn’t come up with a regular Edison light-bulb”?  Come off it. If he is correct, you have to assume that they went looking for them someplace like McDonald’s or, well, perhaps a energy efficiency store.  The two closest stores to my home are a Giant Food and a CVS Pharmacy.  Guess what they both have a lot of?  “Regular Edison light-bulbs”.  The hardware store across the street?  Probably 10 times as much choice re incandescents as CFLs and LEDs combined.  The lighting store a few blocks away?  Tons of “regular Edison light-bubls”.  Thus, a question for Representative King:  Do you hire utter idiots as interns or are you simply making this up?
  2. “interns would come back sometimes empty-handed in tears”.  What does this say about Representative King and the work atmosphere in his office(s) if interns would be in tears over something like this?  Thus, a question for Representative King:  Are you and your office managers utter tyrants or are you simply making this up?
  3. “buy a recyclable bag, which he at first said no to, or pay more. ” Hmmm … “pay more”?  How much more, Representative King?  The District of Columbia 5 cent charge?  Wow, what a stark dilemma that you faced in this decision-making.  Pay 5 cents to help clean up the Annacostia River from plastic bag pollution or figure out how to carry your own bag to avoid that onerous (and effective) DC bag fee. In any event, Representative King ended up spending $1 to get a reuseable green bag because the store gave him a 10 percent discount on his energy-inefficient purchase of 19th century technology.  A (rhetorical) question for Representative King:  Do you support the use of fossil fuels for one-time use products that end up polluting America, killing wildlife, and worsening America’s trade deficit?
  4. Not in this quote but key to King’s whipping up the CPAC crowd, “black market”.  Yes, Steve King spoke of the purchase of bulbs being sold legally within a store as his successful purchase of “black market” goods as if he were some courageous East German purchasing something that the ‘Green Police‘ were about to arrest him for having in his possession.  While a wonderful framing to whip up frothy rage, this is an absurdity. Thus, a question Representative King: Do you have any concern, in your political rhetoric, for truthfulness?

As for invocating the Edison name, perhaps we should listen to Edison’s family:

“Edison would be inventing a better bulb right now, and he would plan to generate a lot of new jobs and big profits as well as better light.”
David Edison Sloane, great-grandson of Edison
“If my great-grandfather were alive today … he would have already moved on to the better, cleaner, sustainable technology well before certain legislators put their opinions into the mix…It is ironic that the very people who are supporting the legislation … are the ones who espouse free markets. Edison would certainly have recognized that the wave of the future — profits — is to make it better, cheaper and, yes, cleaner and more efficient.”
Barry Edison Sloane, great-grandson of Edison
“The technology changes. Embrace it.’”
Robert Wheeler, grand-nephew of Edison and president of the board of the Edison Birthplace Association
“Thomas Edison was a keen observer of the state of things around him, and was prolific with innovations to make the things around him better. He encouraged people to improve on his work, just as he improved on it himself. He would have thought inventing and commercializing substantially more efficient ways to provide light was long overdue…
Heywood Edison Sloane, great-grandson of Edison

Tags: Energy · energy efficiency · lighting · political symbols · politics

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