In California, The Only Thing Lost is Your Freedom to Choose

August 11, 2009

In the wake of billions of dollars in state budget deficits and an 11.5 percent state unemployment rate, California bureaucrats can’t wait to get their hands on your TV set – particularly if you’re thinking of upgrading to a very large Plasma or LCD model, as prices continue to fall.

Regulators at the California Energy Commission are poised to enact new restrictions that could eliminate as many as one-in-four current TV sets from stores in the Golden State.  Sound ludicrous?  Think again.  They’re very serious.

Under the guise of energy conservation and with the wholehearted support of environmental and utility company lobbyists, appointed officials in Sacramento are “crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s” on the new regulations that would give Californians only one choice when buying TV sets – buying from an approved list of TV sets that meet new energy regulations.

In the 17th century, such sparse decisions were named for Cambridge, England livery stable owner Thomas Hobson – who offered customers the choice of either taking the horse in the stall nearest the door or taking none at all.

“’Tis Hobson’s choice – take that, or none,” goes a poem written in 1688.

That’s the same menu offered to new TV buyers under the overly-restrictive proposal from the California Energy Commission.  The proposed regulations would effectively ban the sale of 25 percent of current big screen TV models and 100 percent of plasma TVs larger than 60 inches in California.

Never mind that TV manufacturers have voluntarily made incredible strides in energy efficiency, and are already saving many kilowatts of electricity for investor-owned utilities (who are not so quietly behind the latest proposal) and for California ratepayers, who benefit from more efficient products that were marketed without any government regulation whatsoever.

Mike Rosen, an editorial writer for the Denver Post newspaper, predicts what comes next.

“Having established the principle that bureaucrats can dictate the size of your TV set, you can expect their next move to limit your viewing choices to PBS and the National Geographic channel,” Rosen wrote back in April.

Another prediction from the same column:  “if California goes ahead with this plan, they’ll get a lesson in the law of unintended consequences in the real world. There’ll be an instantaneous gray and black market for non-complying big-screen TVs. Consumers will buy them on the Internet from places where they’re not illegal or they’ll cross borders to bring them in from neighboring states.”

Who is hurt most by this illogical and unnecessary intrusion by government?  None other than Californians themselves, including the hundreds of small business people who own and operate the high-end specialty retailers that make their living from sales and installation of very large Plasma and LCD screens to clientele from San Diego to Hollywood and Sacramento.  Those retailers will be on the doorstep of the California Energy Commission this week to decry the swift moving proposed regulation, which regulators seem hell-bent to implement.

The California Energy Commission’s ban on big-screen TVs would cost California $50 Million a year in lost tax revenue and literally destroy 4,600 jobs, according to a study by Resolution Economics, LLC.

Such heavy-handedness is not always appreciated.  An outcry erupted with an earlier proposal that would have allowed the electric utilities to use “smart meters” to reach into your home and remotely manipulate the air conditioner if they felt you were using too much power on a particularly sweltering afternoon.

As Americans, we love having the ability to choose.  Some of us drive ultra-efficient hybrid cars that sip fuel.  Others appreciate the roominess and appeal of a larger vehicle.  But if California regulators have their way, there won’t be any choices at all for consumers who want a big-screen TV experience.

Instead, they’ll either be relegated to look-alike small-screen TV sets or to cross-border imports of big-screen TV sets from retailers in Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona who might appreciate having some new customers only a short drive away.

Let’s keep the hands of government off the remote control.

Join Californians for Smart Energy and make your voice heard!


3 Responses to “In California, The Only Thing Lost is Your Freedom to Choose”

  1. Sounds like the guy who complained that the “Cash for Clunkers” program was bad because the inefficient engines had to be destroyed and he wanted to resell them!
    Personally, the legislation sounds good to me.

  2. Don Parks Says:

    The Obama speech to school kids on September 8, 2009 was
    to further Obamas’ two goals:

    1. A new pledge of allegiance:

    I pledge allegiance to Obama,
    Ruler of the United States of America,
    and to his associates for whom he stands.
    One nation, under Obama,
    With liberty and justice for Democrats.

    2. A new “high 5” greeting; with right hand raised chant:

    Obama Rules!

    To help your kids keep these goals ever before them
    have them print them on banners, e-mails, and
    post cards (about 20 cents in large quantities).

    Forward this e-mail to everyone on your e-mail list.

  3. Liberal slayer Says:

    Well another fine example of why california is the worst state in the union. The utter scum sucking leiches who think they are smartte than everyone else in this state are clueless morons. One just needs to look at California to see the countries future. Job loss by the thousands every day &growing, debt that can’t be repaid for decades, and taxing everything from air to soda. These loser liberals think they are doing us a favor because we are to stupid to think for our selves. I say you have awakened a sleeping giant who will let this crazy shit happen over our dead bodies. So I hope you Morons are ready for the consequinces of you decisions. You can never control us, we will buy what we want when we want & some of us will buy the biggest energy sucking auto or appliance known to man & run them all 24/7 and I will leave my big block un smogged truck running night & day because I’m free because I can but mostly because it drives you Nazi liberals freakin nuts. So go fuck yourself and watch proud rear view mirror because my hummer loves terrorizing them. As do I. I think a rebellion is coming and it’s not going to be go to country ruining liberals. Stock guns & ammo like the rest of us.

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