Edison would have spurned the recent sleight of hand by Congress that leaves the new lighting standard -- under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007-- on the books but takes away its funding for nine months. How can inventor-entrepreneurs like Edison make a profit if every time they try to make a technological advance some nut in Congress pulls the rug out from under the them and their breakthroughs? And if investors are going to put their bets on more efficient technology, they have to know that a congressional holiday on common sense will not come along to undercut demand for their product.Correct me if I am wrong, but Congress did not outlaw candles, tax the sale of wax, or do anything remotely similar to boost demand for Edison's inventions. His inventions that succeeded did so because they were great inventions that could be manufactured and marketed profitably. Other ideas (such as rubber from goldenrod) were impractical and were abandoned. The rug-pulling by Congressional nuts to which Sloan refers took place in the passing of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 itself, which pulled the rug out from under Edison's original invention and the industry that manufactures it. The defunding of the law was pulling the rug out from under the rug-pullers. Anyone investing in new lighting technologies should be patient enough for the technology to win in the marketplace and not be relying on a governmental decree to "make a profit."
There is further irony in Sloan's question, "How can inventor-entrepreneurs like Edison make a profit if every time they try to make a technological advance some nut in Congress pulls the rug out from under the them and their breakthroughs?" Ask the energy industry. Except it's not Congress, but the Executive Branch pulling rugs.
Sloan is right about one thing. The success or failure of inventor-entrepreneurs should not be dependent on the whims of politicians. But the path Sloan advocates would only lead more would-be Edison's into the black hole of bureaucratic obstructionism, and the bulb that could light the way out of that abyss has yet to be invented.
UPDATE: I wonder if Thomas Edison would have endorsed this?