DOE awards Philips $10 million for creating a $50 “green” light bulb

posted at 6:00 pm on March 12, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Department of Energy competition: $10 million

Philips “affordable” “green” light bulb: $50

The opportunity to expose the DOE’s inefficiency yet again: Priceless.

The lights are on, but nobody is home at the Department of Energy, which recently awarded Philips $10 million as a part of a competition to spur companies to create an affordable “green” light bulb. Philips’ award-winning light bulb costs consumers $50. So affordable. Fox and Friends has the story:


In 2007, Congress passed a law — and President G.W. Bush signed it — that established energy efficiency standards that effectively made the incandescent light bulb obsolete. The infamous “light bulb ban” became a symbol of government overreach and the 2010 incoming House GOP majority made it a top priority to repeal it. While those fearless Republicans haven’t yet managed a complete repeal, they did at least recently push through a half-measure that prevents the administration from spending any money to enforce the standards. So, there’s that.

As this story illustrates, though, the DOE still finds plenty of creative ways to interfere in the marketplace. Under the guise of a “competition,” the Energy Department has effectively subsidized the creation of this undesirably expensive light bulb and wasted taxpayer dollars in the process. As Texas Republican Rep. Michael Burgess says in the video, “It just underscores the difficulty that we have in getting any kind of efficiency out of the Department of Energy, let alone energy efficiency.” Well said, sir.

Apparently, Philips offers a rebate for purchasers of the light bulb. Is the rebate for $49.21? Because incandescent bulbs are about $0.79 a bulb. These “green” bulbs better last about 63 times longer than incandescent bulbs to make their purchase “affordable.”


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3) Those who know me will vouch for my credentials as a conservative and vocal global warming skeptic. I spent 11 years as a Marine attack aviator trained and ready to take out Communists during the Cold War.

bayam on March 12, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Weird. According to you all of these types are liberals. Who would have thunk?

CW on March 12, 2012 at 8:20 PM

2) No Volt in service has ever shown as much as a wisp of smoke. Not in normal service, and not in crashes. The three Volt battery fires all occurred under extremely destructive experimental conditions. Two of the fires were induced in batteries not mounted in in cars.”

We’ll just call it a Chevy “FOOM” instead of a Volt and leave it at that.

What classifies as extremely destructive? Cause I’d like you to guarantee that the next time I get into a car accident it will not be classified as extremely destructive?

If your vehicle rolls over during the accident and suffers extensive damage in the process, then you’ve probably been in an extremely destructive accident that may result in a battery fire in the weeks following the accident. Or do you think Lutz is being unfair in his description?

Keep believing in the propaganda.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/boblutz/2012/03/12/the-chevy-volt-bill-oreilly-and-the-postmans-butt/?partner=yahootix

bayam on March 12, 2012 at 8:23 PM

3) Those who know me will vouch for my credentials as a conservative and vocal global warming skeptic. I spent 11 years as a Marine attack aviator trained and ready to take out Communists during the Cold War.

bayam on March 12, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Weird. According to you all of these types are liberals. Who would have thunk?

CW on March 12, 2012 at 8:20 PM

There are successful conservatives in all walks of live, but not nearly enough driving innovation or participating in the high-growth economy. For the US to remain competitive, that needs to change- don’t you agree?

bayam on March 12, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Now, if this $50 light bulb is anything like the new and improved CFL’s I’ve bought lately is any indication, we’re in deep crap. I have yet to see one of those spagetti gizmos outlive a common incandescent bulb. The electonics in the base gets as hot as the the ‘obsolete resistive element units’ … and when they go they need to be treated like hazardous nuclear waste.
Can’t use them to keep plants warm at night. What was the reason for this? Stimulate the economy? Oh right, the Chinese economy. How stupid of me.

Missilengr on March 12, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Been a while since you bought one they solved the burning out in enclosed closures about four years ago. But yes CFL’s have some mercury in them if you are sensitive to it do not use them for most of us it is very unlikely to hurt us with the occasional broken bulb.

But this is LED like the new flashlights no bulb to break unless it is just decorative. They are solid state silicon chips that emit light. This breed of them should not get very hot at all. A 100 Watt one should only use 19 Watts. They also dim very well from candlelight to full brightness. They solve all of the CFL problems except the highly decorative bulbs. They will not do that at least for now.

Steveangell on March 12, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Well, now that he’s done absolutely nothing in his first term to threaten your precious firearms, guess it’s time to load up again, because in a second term there would be no stopping him!

Drew Lowell on March 12, 2012 at 7:08 PM

I think there are 200+ DEAD Mexican citizens who would argue the point that “he’s done nothing”.

GarandFan on March 12, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Oh, that’s right, I completely forgot: “Fast & Furious” was not a poorly-conceived and even more poorly-run operation to trace weapons traffic, it was all a double-secret conspiracy to deliberately allow Mexicans to die, all to create the political will to to keep Americans from exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Your batsh*t, traitorous conspiracy theories know no bounds.

Drew Lowell on March 12, 2012 at 8:27 PM

You will save money over time it is that simple.

But you will most likely not pay $50 for the bulb as you will probably buy it at Sams Club or WallMart or somewhere where it will be cheaper. Oft times these rebates are not mail in they are to the Retailer so they bulb could well be $22 on the shelf.

Steveangell on March 12, 2012 at 7:59 PM

You still don’t get it do you? You’re just too high on the green koolaid. You libs seem to think anyone with a job just has all kinds of extra cash available for over-priced green crap and handouts for people who don’t want to work. I’m not spending $50 per bulb or even $20 each to save $28 a month in electricity – IF I replaced ALL of them. If I only replace a few, then I’m spending big money for very little savings. Light bulbs are not the major driver in electricity use in most houses, so that’s not where I’m going to spend that kind of money – especially with teenagers in college. I saved about $50 a month by shutting off and draining my hot tub for the winter and I have a stack of incandescent bulbs that only cost me about 50 cents each. So with all my other expenses, new bulbs at anything above $2 each are not a consideration. Even if the bulb price gets cut in half the payback time is still 7 or 8 years. Not worth it.

dentarthurdent on March 12, 2012 at 8:33 PM

CW on March 12, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Wow not one of the 3,000 cars ocasionally driven by their owners who make over 170k has wrecked one and had the battery cause a fire later on.

So what. All that means is no one is buying them except to try them out.

Besides now GM has a team that flies to wherever the crash is to empty the battery of fluid. A very difficult process.

Again as you point out we are not there yet on the technology. With a much better battery a few years out we should just wait and do it then.

Also CNG pumps are very easy to build. Gas lines are already near or at most stations. The compressors are large but would easily fit in most larger stations. It would only be problematic in areas not served with Natural Gas at all but those are getting hard to find. The $1.50 cost would quickly make it worth while.

Steveangell on March 12, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Been a while since you bought one they solved the burning out in enclosed closures about four years ago. But yes CFL’s have some mercury in them if you are sensitive to it do not use them for most of us it is very unlikely to hurt us with the occasional broken bulb.
Steveangell on March 12, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Ahh yes – the mercury hypocrisy. Not too long ago green libs were screaming and crying about a little mercury in fish, mercury in power plant emissions, mercury all over that’s going to KILL US ALL…. But now that the mercury is in a “green” bulb it’s perfectly safe – nothing to worry about…. Now the mercury is on the side of SAVING mother earth, so it’s ok.

dentarthurdent on March 12, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Even if the bulb price gets cut in half the payback time is still 7 or 8 years. Not worth it.

dentarthurdent on March 12, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Is this religious for you?

First of all I suggested only changing bulbs with a two year payback.

Secondly I use CFL’s to save money. They are still cheaper for now than these bulbs. They have a similar cost to regular bulbs but save 30% on my total electric bill.

Steveangell on March 12, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Ahh yes – the mercury hypocrisy. Not too long ago green libs were screaming and crying about a little mercury in fish, mercury in power plant emissions, mercury all over that’s going to KILL US ALL…. But now that the mercury is in a “green” bulb it’s perfectly safe – nothing to worry about…. Now the mercury is on the side of SAVING mother earth, so it’s ok.

dentarthurdent on March 12, 2012 at 8:39 PM

And Nuclear.

You know how many of the “Fukishima 50″ are sick or dying.

N O N E.

All that land abandoned for Athiest Religious reasons alone.

Steveangell on March 12, 2012 at 8:46 PM

You still don’t get it do you? You’re just too high on the green koolaid. You libs seem to think anyone with a job just has all kinds of extra cash available for over-priced green crap and handouts for people who don’t want to work. I’m not spending $50 per bulb or even $20 each to save $28 a month in electricity

And you’re not going to pay $10,000 for a new hard drive either. The price of this technology is quick

ly dropping, as any other solid state technology that’s new to the marketplace.

bayam on March 12, 2012 at 8:46 PM

These “green” bulbs better last about 63 times longer than incandescent bulbs to make their purchase “affordable.”

Bull-fuc*ing-sh!t. Anyone else here have an incandescent bulb last over two years? Yes, I’ll be you all have. Anyone think this Dipsh!t-OBozo-Bulb is going to last over 126 years?

I don’t think so.

Jaibones on March 12, 2012 at 8:52 PM

“If your vehicle rolls over during the accident and suffers extensive damage in the process, then you’ve probably been in an extremely destructive accident that may result in a battery fire in the weeks following the accident. Or do you think Lutz is being unfair in his description?

Keep believing in the propaganda.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/boblutz/2012/03/12/the-chevy-volt-bill-oreilly-and-the-postmans-butt/?partner=yahootix

bayam on March 12, 2012 at 8:23 PM”

Then I absolutely will never drive an electric vehicle for the rest of my life then.

It is easy to roll over in an accident typically occuring when you merge from one lane to another too quickly.

I find it ridiculous that anyone wants to defend the Chevy “Death Trap” based on proclaiming how *rare* and *unlikely* it some how is to experience an accident required to have your Chevy Volt burn you alive.

Varchild on March 12, 2012 at 9:04 PM

I bought a couple of those at Home Depot for about $25 apiece. I hate CFLs enough that I thought I’d give LEDs a try. Another thing to factor in the cost comparison is the energy used by the LED vs. the incandescent.

PantsDailyon on March 12, 2012 at 9:07 PM

And Nuclear.
You know how many of the “Fukishima 50″ are sick or dying.
N O N E.

All that land abandoned for Athiest Religious reasons alone.

Steveangell on March 12, 2012 at 8:46 PM

You missed my point entirely. I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of the green lefties – which you seem to be, based on your comments.
I’m fully in favor of nuclear energy as well as coal and natural gas, and I’m an atheist Darwin evolutionist. I look at what makes sense – and to me bulbs at these prices don’t make sense for the trivial savings I would get. I can save more per month by not drinking coffee any more.
When you can make an LED or other lightbulb that is more efficient, last longer, and costs the same as incandescent bulbs, without a big government subsidy, I’ll buy them.

dentarthurdent on March 12, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Bull-fuc*ing-sh!t. Anyone else here have an incandescent bulb last over two years? Yes, I’ll be you all have. Anyone think this Dipsh!t-OBozo-Bulb is going to last over 126 years?

I don’t think so.

Jaibones on March 12, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Biggest thing I hate about electricity.

I see people buy these bulbs that will last lots longer all the time at the expense of being far less efficient. They get the cheapest bulb possible say one for .27 thinking they are saving money. They take it home and spend .50 every month to use then complain how high their power bill is.

Even though you do not see that price when you buy the bulb you do actually have to pay it every month.

Even a stupid greeny comes up with a good idea once in a blue moon. Actually many of them. Every appliance I buy is more efficient than the previous one and I check it out with a Watt-O-Meter. The new TV’s and Monitors use far less power each year and far far less than the old Monster Boxes we used to use.

I like to save money. These items save me money. I use them when they do so not when they don’t. Solar Panels and Wind Mills are only done for religious/political purposes. But many other items make total sense.

Steveangell on March 12, 2012 at 9:07 PM

And you’re not going to pay $10,000 for a new hard drive either. The price of this technology is quickly dropping, as any other solid state technology that’s new to the marketplace.
bayam on March 12, 2012 at 8:46 PM

And as I just said to Steveangell, when it drops to the price of an incandescent bulb I’ll buy them.
I don’t buy anything in the first year run and pricing – cars, computers, electronics – anything. I still have old fashioned fat heavy TV sets too – because that’s not my priority for spending money.

dentarthurdent on March 12, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Bull-fuc*ing-sh!t. Anyone else here have an incandescent bulb last over two years? Yes, I’ll be you all have. Anyone think this Dipsh!t-OBozo-Bulb is going to last over 126 years?

I don’t think so.

Jaibones on March 12, 2012 at 8:52 PM

I have some that have lasted 11 years so far. The curlycue CFL bulbs I bought for my front yard light have only lasted 2 years so far.

dentarthurdent on March 12, 2012 at 9:12 PM

I see people buy these bulbs that will last lots longer all the time at the expense of being far less efficient. They get the cheapest bulb possible say one for .27 thinking they are saving money. They take it home and spend .50 every month to use then complain how high their power bill is.

Steveangell on March 12, 2012 at 9:07 PM

I don’t kow where you get your data, but as I detailed earlier, I have roughly 100 light bulbs in my house and my entire electric bill is only about $100 a month – and not just for lights. The incandescent bulbs I have are not costing me nearly as much as you keep quoting.

dentarthurdent on March 12, 2012 at 9:16 PM

My Energey efficient television has crappy speaker sound. I have to eventually buy a Sony Bravia system just to have the sound quality of an old CRT.

Varchild on March 12, 2012 at 9:25 PM

bayam on March 12, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I’m already buying a 2-pack of LED bulbs at Costco for $18.

Why $50 apiece?

mad scientist on March 12, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Why are Americans denied access to incandescent lightbulbs?

Why are we denied this simple liberty?

tom daschle concerned on March 12, 2012 at 9:32 PM

That’s near the pinnacle of ignorance in technology reporting. Look up the Haitz Law.

bayam on March 12, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Haitz’s law is an observation and forecast about the steady improvement, over many years, of light-emitting diodes (LED).

It states that every decade, the cost per lumen (unit of useful light emitted) falls by a factor of 10, and the amount of light generated per LED package increases by a factor of 20, for a given wavelength (color) of light.

I think the point of the tongue-in-cheek math, was that the Energy Department said the new bulb could save Americans $3.9 billion dollars – whereas the total cost to American households to convert to this new bulb (if they were doing it with the highly-touted $50 bulb) would be $46 billion dollars.

If we were to apply Haitz Law to this $50 bulb – ten years from now, we could expect this bulb to cost just $5. But even at $5 a bulb, the cost to American households would still exceed the savings estimate from the DOE.

Hill60 on March 12, 2012 at 9:37 PM

You will be mandated to purchase them soon

DANEgerus on March 12, 2012 at 9:47 PM

These “green” bulbs better last about 63 times longer than incandescent bulbs to make their purchase “affordable.”

Bull-fuc*ing-sh!t. Anyone else here have an incandescent bulb last over two years? Yes, I’ll be you all have. Anyone think this Dipsh!t-OBozo-Bulb is going to last over 126 years?

I don’t think so.

Jaibones on March 12, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Yep, many of the problems with CFLs came from the handful of electronics in the base that change 60Hz to a considerably higher frequency. These LED bulbs are also going to have a bunch of ciruitry in the base to rectify and probably step down the ACV, which will generate heat and are a source of failure.

That will also make them unsuitable for temperature ranges seen in outdoor use.

slickwillie2001 on March 12, 2012 at 9:58 PM

Alright! New franchise opportunity on the horizon–the light bulb lock boutique! At $50 a pop, who’s watching your sockets?

smellthecoffee on March 12, 2012 at 10:19 PM

I’ll chime in here since I bought an older version of this bulb a year or two ago to try it out. I can say that they work much better than CFLs. They come on instantly, no delay at all. Even the “instant on” CFLs have a noticeable delay compared to LEDs. If you can’t see the bulb directly, you can’t tell it’s not an incandescent bulb throwing the light around. The bulb is also extremely durable and heavy for a bulb. I’d say it weighs 1-2 pounds.

There are a few things I really like about them aside from the energy usage (more on that in a moment).
-I have no convenient way to dispose of a CFL, whereas I can just throw one of these LED bulbs away. (Though, at the current price, I’d probably take it apart and just fix it instead. Good luck fixing a CFL.)
-If I drop an LED bulb I’m more concerned about what I dropped it on than the bulb. They’re tough. And did I mention heavy?
-No glass shards to worry about.
-No mercury dust to worry about.
-Flipping then on and off has no effect on the life span. CFLs that get turned on and off die faster.

For me, the real reason to buy something other than an incandescent bulb is the energy usage. Notice that I’m saying the energy usage, not the cost of turning it on. Where I live electricity is dirt cheap, so the cost of keeping a few lights on doesn’t concern me. What does concern me is how to keep the lights on when the power grid fails. 10 watts is quite a bit easier to generate than 100 watts. I can keep 10 LED bulbs running with the same power I can run a single 100 watt incandescent. And I don’t have to worry about the store staying open and keeping light bulbs stocked.

frost on March 12, 2012 at 10:29 PM

I really hate that some people ignore usage in the analysis of these bulbs.

I have replace several HIGH USE bulbs with LEDs. I expect to save money long term in them.

But I do NOT want to have to replace ALL my bulbs with them. That is a complete waste at this point. Example. I have a 100w closet light that is use MAYBE 10 minutes a day. So in a year I use it about 60hr. If an saves me 80w then I save about 5Kwh as year for about a $0.65 savings. But the cost of the would be about $30. If I put that money into an extra payment on my mortgage, I would get about a 3.5% return or $1.05 a year. And the average return on the S&P is better than that over almost any time-span the length of the bulbs expected life.

That is why the idea of simply eliminating the incandescent was STUPID.

OBQuiet on March 12, 2012 at 10:30 PM

The opportunity to expose the DOE’s inefficiency yet again: Priceless.

I believe a DOE load is akin to a “kiss of death”. Seems like every company that got one has declared bankruptcy and either furloughed people or shut down.

TulsAmerican on March 12, 2012 at 10:30 PM

Let’s cover some of the comments.

First, this is equivalent to a 60-watt bulb. Going from 12.5 watts (last year’s version) to 10 watts is 2.5 watts less that the electronics has to throw away, and moves us closer to being able to put the bulb in a fully enclosed fixture. Also, as the technology moves along the electronics will get more tolerant of both extreme heat and extreme cold.

Next, the electronics has to do more than just step down and rectify the power. It has to level it, or else you get stroboscopic effects with fans and the like. I have three 40-watt equivalents in service now. The older two strobe weakly; the newer (Philips) does not. That leads to concerns about sending weird harmonics back into the grid, but they probably don’t do that. The price of not doing it is energy storage, either as charge (on capacitors, which tend to be life-limited) or as magnetic fields (which requires heavy cores in coils). The bulbs are not yet cheap enough to cut one open to find out.

I expect that LED bulbs that are used for 6 hours or more a day will outlast at least 30 of their incandescent equivalents, and maybe 90.

Consider that a 40-watt equivalent uses about 12% more power than an incandescent night-light bulb. It throws away less waste heat (including infrared) than the night-light bulb.

As to hazardous materials … it’s possible that we will find something harmful in the control electronics twenty years from now, but that could be true of your cell phone or Ipod–or the CFL. The LED itelf may have a few micrograms of potentially hazardous materials (eg. arsenic), but it’s almost impossible to release it short of melting the thing down or dissolving it in acid, and it’s thousands or hundreds of thousands less potentially harmful than the mercury in a CFL.

High-power LEDs are an emerging technology, and the price curve has to bend a lot. But it will bend a lot.

If you use a bulb for only a few minutes a month and you MUST have it work, then use an incandescent. If it has to operate in extremes of heat and cold then (for now) use an incandescent. If it has to operate in an enclosed space, then (for now) use an incandescent. If you want waste heat from it (in, say, an Easy-Bake oven) then use an incandescent.

Otherwise, look at what LED bulb technology has made available.

njcommuter on March 12, 2012 at 10:31 PM

About 18 months ago, I decided to try out the CFL bulbs and gradually replaced most of the bulbs over a 6 month period. I thought I noticed a little cost savings, but honestly the bills varied too much for me to pinpoint how much they actually saved me. A single extra dryer run would erase any cost savings for the month easily.

So where am I today… I’ve now replaced almost every one of the CFLs and gone back to incandescants. Was it the cost? partly. Was it the slow turn on, and dull light in cold winter? partly. … but mainly it was because the d@mned things kept burning out! That’s right. Nearly every CFL I’ve put in has burned out after about a year.

If I go dirt cheap, and get both types of bulbs at Big Lots, I can get incandescent bulbs for about $.30/bulb and CFLs for about $2.50 a bulb. Why should I pay over 8x as much for only about 50% longer life? Only a liberal or the Government (or worse, liberals running the Government) would say that’s a good deal!

Oh, and I know what the packages say, but my (unofficial) experience says otherwise.

dominigan on March 12, 2012 at 11:43 PM

I’ve had a 40W equivalent LED bulb burning continuously for well over a year, maybe close to two. The only interruptions have been power failures. How many incandescents would I have used in that time? Six? Seven? In the meantime I’ve saved probably 420 kW-hr at about 18 cents per. The bulb cost me about $20, and it’s paid for itself three times over.

Would I put this under a staircase where I used it ten minutes a month? No. But here it makes tremendous sense. When they get 75W equivalent and 100W equivalent bulbs, I will replace some other bulbs with them.

And no, I wouldn’t have put CFLs in that service, for all the reasons cited.

When LED bulbs get down to $3.75 or so, you’ll just put them everywhere except where temperature extremes matter. And eventually even there.

For better or worse, we can look forward to the day when the bulbs in a lamp are no longer consumer-replaceable. I’ll fight it kicking and screaming, but I won’t bet against it.

njcommuter on March 13, 2012 at 3:47 AM

njcommuter on March 13, 2012 at 3:47 AM

LED may be the wave of the future…and probably is. Still have that extreme temperature thing…outdoors, ice, snow…but the LED has arrived. Generally efficient, less power required, can adjust the lumens and the color where required.

BUT…and this is the part most have seemed to have ignored, missed, or just don’t seem to care….it is not the duty of government to pick and choose winners and losers in the free market.

It is not the duty of government to use taxpayer money to reward one innovation over another.

And certainly it is not under the powers allocated to government by the People to tell the people what products produced by private citizens that US citizens must purchase.

This is the whole problem with the current administration and the progressives overall.

Dictatorship is not what we are about as a nation.

In all our history over the centuries no dictatorship came along with promises to be a totalitarian state or came along with promises of sending citizens to the gulags or the lagers and gas chambers.

Rather all came along with promises to make everything better for all the people, to root out evil, to turn back the tides, to make everyman a king in his own home, and a lot of other goodies along the way so long as they did not intefer with the goodness of government no be an obstructionist in the struggle for world peace and freedom.

So, here we are, in 2012, watching as every day, little by little, government under this administration, taking over larger and larger segments of our lives, telling us what to buy, telling us what to eat, telling us what sort of medical care we need, or what kind of car we must purchase or what sort of lighting device we must use in our homes, and spending our money to reward individuals for kowtowing to the administration or enabling the goals of the administration, or paying graft to the administration for most favored or more favored status when the goodies, our money, are handed out.

Is this really consistent with what the Founders intended? Is it Constitutional? Is it, perish the thought to use their favorite word, “fair?”

Lastly…if the innovation is so wonderful, be it an electric car or space-age light bulb…should the marketplace decide? If it is such a grand idea, why are not millions of Americans already opening their wallets to purchase or invest in the product?

coldwarrior on March 13, 2012 at 6:09 AM

I see all the calculations that the $50 light bulb would see a pay off after two years. But, I see it this way.

I have a $3 light bulb that I put in the outside door lamp 10 years ago. I will have to replace the outside door lamp before I replace the light bulb.

Why would I want to replace my $3 light bulb that lasted over 10 years with a $50 light bulb?

LoganSix on March 13, 2012 at 8:23 AM

LED may be the wave of the future…and probably is. Still have that extreme temperature thing…outdoors, ice, snow…but the LED has arrived. Generally efficient, less power required, can adjust the lumens and the color where required.

BUT…and this is the part most have seemed to have ignored, missed, or just don’t seem to care….it is not the duty of government to pick and choose winners and losers in the free market.

It is not the duty of government to use taxpayer money to reward one innovation over another.

And certainly it is not under the powers allocated to government by the People to tell the people what products produced by private citizens that US citizens must purchase.

This is the whole problem with the current administration and the progressives overall.

Dictatorship is not what we are about as a nation.

In all our history over the centuries no dictatorship came along with promises to be a totalitarian state or came along with promises of sending citizens to the gulags or the lagers and gas chambers.

Rather all came along with promises to make everything better for all the people, to root out evil, to turn back the tides, to make everyman a king in his own home, and a lot of other goodies along the way so long as they did not intefer with the goodness of government no be an obstructionist in the struggle for world peace and freedom.

So, here we are, in 2012, watching as every day, little by little, government under this administration, taking over larger and larger segments of our lives, telling us what to buy, telling us what to eat, telling us what sort of medical care we need, or what kind of car we must purchase or what sort of lighting device we must use in our homes, and spending our money to reward individuals for kowtowing to the administration or enabling the goals of the administration, or paying graft to the administration for most favored or more favored status when the goodies, our money, are handed out.

Is this really consistent with what the Founders intended? Is it Constitutional? Is it, perish the thought to use their favorite word, “fair?”

Lastly…if the innovation is so wonderful, be it an electric car or space-age light bulb…should the marketplace decide? If it is such a grand idea, why are not millions of Americans already opening their wallets to purchase or invest in the product?

coldwarrior on March 13, 2012 at 6:09 AM

Finally nailed it. I love LED’s and think they are the future of all lighting, but the marketplace should drive the change – NOT the government. Just like cell phones and flatscreens, the market will eventually get the price down and then we’ll all be buying them. The government wastes tons of our money trying to “bend the curve” and it doesn’t make sense.

Free Indeed on March 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM

I’d like to know how long ago this prize was announced. If it was ten years ago, then it may be appropriate, at least on market principles. If it was four years ago, or if Philips looked like the likely winner, then it was not.

Whether it’s okay on Constitutional principles is another question, and on that we can argue.

Still, if it was a ten-year open competition, that puts a much different light on the matter. No matter how good the prize, it won’t affect the marketplace unless it’s technically AND economically viable. And although $50 million sounds like a lot (and may have been too much to offer) it won’t make an uncompetitive product competitive.

Many people are in favor of NASA using competitive prizes. The difference here, if any, is a matter of how far ahead the finish line was set.

And high-efficiency lighting certainly has promise in military uses.

njcommuter on March 13, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Here’s the part I can’t figure out…

Phillips isn’t some start up company that’s hard up for resources. They are a huge and successful company with plenty of resources for R&D. So why do we need to give this company $10 million of our tax dollars to develop any product at all?

gravityman on March 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Why would I want to replace my $3 light bulb that lasted over 10 years with a $50 light bulb?

LoganSix on March 13, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Exactly. Most of my less than $1 incandescent bulbs have lasted much longer than people keep talking about – many months and even many years. At $1 each, I can replace that bulb every year for 50 years before I reach the cost of the LED bulb. The energy savings is trivial and I won’t be in my house for 50 years – hell I won’t be alive for another 50 years. If you live in Kalifornia where they jack up electicity rates unreasonably high it may be worth it, but not here in Colorado where electricity is relatively cheap.

dentarthurdent on March 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM

coldwarrior on March 13, 2012 at 6:09 AM

Congrats and thanks – you actually hit the core issue on the head.
The gubmint should not be involved. Let the free market decide as companies develop better technologies and make them economically feasible.

dentarthurdent on March 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Philips? That Dutch company?

Ward Cleaver on March 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Philips? That Dutch company?

Ward Cleaver on March 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Yes – but I’ll buy their incandescent bulbs or anything else of theirs any time instead of anything from GE.

dentarthurdent on March 13, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Philips? That Dutch company?

Ward Cleaver on March 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM

They’re Dutch? I thought they were from either Holland or the Netherlands…/s

dentarthurdent on March 13, 2012 at 6:35 PM

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