How Many Hundreds Of Billions Of Dollars Does It Take To Screw In A Lightbulb?
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Today, I am announcing a few key parts of my plan. First, we will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won’t just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.

Barack Obama Youtube address, 12/7/08

Help me out here. I'm a little lost on how having the federal government change all the lightbulbs in government buildings is going to massively stimulate the economy.

Don't government agencies pay people to routinely change lightbulbs anyway? And don't incandescent bulbs notoriously burn out in a year or so? And aren't we constantly told by the Great and the Good that Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs will save us money (that was the justification given when Congress recently outlawed incandescent bulbs as of 2012). So, wouldn't government agencies have changed anyway?

By the way, my impression of government offices is that they have been lit, overwhelmingly, by fluorescent light rather than incandescent light for many decades—cold, clammy-looking fluorescents have been considered good enough for government work lighting for my entire life.

Or is there some problem that was keeping the government from changing as a matter of course ... like they don't always fit in fixtures, and (perhaps less so in the last couple of years than earlier in the decade) they sometimes seem to burn out in very short periods, and that they are ugly and cast ugly light?

I think Obama should pledge to have all of his personal television and video appearances lit solely by Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs. And he should get all the Democratic movie stars in Hollywood to pledge that their next movies will be lit only by CFLs.

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