Mitt Romney's wild exaggeration is a joke, but the lack of 100 watt (and soon 75 watt) bulbs pisses me the hell off. CFLs are *not* a valid replacement - as was pointed out above, the color temperature may be OK but the spectrum is often terrible; you see every color but only half of each one; the worst bulbs (and it seems to be impossible to figure out which are OK and which aren't) cast a ghastly light that makes it nearly impossible to read or judge color, and makes everybody look like zombies.
Combine that with the fact that 'instant on' with CFLs in my experience means 'instantly turns on at 20% brightness, achieves full brightness in three minutes'. We've got a CFL in our entry room that works about as well as a half-lit candle for the first 45 seconds it's on - which are the only 45 seconds you're in the room, as you traverse it with five bags of groceries and a randomly-oscillating probability field of a four-year-old boy.
LEDs often seem no better; even if I could afford them, it's a crap shoot with color quality, again. I got several quite-expensive ($200+) photo LED panels for my work, and they're fantastic. The $30 consumer bulbs that are supposedly as bright as a 75-watt incandescent and 5000k? My ass. I put one over my dining room table as a test, and I could literally barely read. The light was maybe 70% as apparently *bright* as a 100 watt incandescent bulb, but it somehow managed to turn a copy of The Economist into a mimeographed version of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The other problem with most LED lights is the light *distribution* - even the ones labeled specifically to have full distribution act like spotlights. This, of course, means that your bathroom sconces suddenly light up a 100-square-centimeter area of the ceiling and fill the rest of the room with the equivalent of a 20 watt incandescent, but over random shards of the frequency spectrum.
High quality LED lighting can be done; the photo lights I have are proof. They're brighter than the 1500-watt halogen work lights we have, the light is great, and the damn things can run on *batteries*. But whatever they're putting in consumer bulbs is freaking awful - expensive as hell and nearly worthless for illumination.
So now I'm stuck with a choice between cutting the brightness of my house by 25%, using CFLs that probably will make my eyes bleed but some of them are OK and who knows which ones, or spending $2500 on photo light panels and lag-bolting them to the ceiling...
The only other option seems to be figuring out a way to use three-way bulbs in normal sockets. I'm not sure what happens if you do this (maybe you only get the lowest wattage, or the highest?) but the damn three-way bulbs are still widely available in 75/100/150. I've tried the normal-form-factor halogens, too. The package said that it was 72 watts, 100 watts equivalent. But it's a not CFL, I think yay, good light!
Well, I get home and feverishly screw the thing in, and lo, dim, eyeball-burning light. They managed to combine the power consumption of an incandescent with the unbearable spectral response of a CFL - genius! And why so dim? I read the box further about the '100 watt equivalent' claim. Turns out the 72 watt halogen bulb is 1150 lumens is 'equivalent' to the 100 watt tungsten at 1300. I guess the 72 watt bulb's lumens are brighter than the 100 watt bulb's lumens, and I just can't tell. *rolls eyes*
At any rate, I don't philosophically oppose government regulation in situations like this. It's often needed to provide a prime-mover impulse for something everyone knows they ought to do but the market won't support due to a kind of tragedy-of-the-commons effect; seat belts in cars are a good example. The small percentage of people who refused to spend more for a car with belts, combined with the larger percentage who'd just go 'meh' and default to no-belts, was enough to tip the balance so that belt-including manufacturer A would be at a slight disadvantage vs. old-skool manufacturer B; in an industry where every percent is crucial, a forward-thinking but slightly more costly option could be critically damaging business-wise. The problem is solved by the government saying, OK, kids, everybody do this at once and we're all even.
But in this case, the problem is that there really *isn't* an alternative that does the job. There just isn't - or if there is, I can't find it or can't afford it. All this is is a regressive tax on the poor that lowers quality of life for everyone who can't afford a kitchen bulb that's good enough for Annie Leibovitz.
If this plastic does the job, sign me up - recycling be damned. I just want to light up my fucking house.