Our country is facing still endures the Great Recession that has put approximately 10 percent of our nation out of a job. It is estimated that many more have given up searching for a job and others still are under-employed, meaning that they are working part-time without benefits. Many Americans curtailed excess spending and are saving money in case of a rainy day. Most people, when they are facing severe debt and drowning in bills for instance, do not decide this would be a good time to remodel their kitchen.
The same would not be said for the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. The House of Representatives is sometimes called the “People’s House” because it is the body where individuals have the most influence and can be inflamed by the issues of the day. To that end, one would think she would curtail some spending on her “Green Initiatives” that would waste American tax dollars on frivolous items.
This would not be the case. Instead, the Speaker called a press conference to announce that in the main House cafeteria, the Rayburn Cafeteria, she would be spending $140,000 for new lights and windows shades. This she explained would be a “shining example of sustainability.”
The best news is that it will only take 10 years to recoup our investment from the savings through savings in electricity. Isn’t that great? Only 10 years. In a decade there is no telling what new technologies would make the current efficient measures inefficient or what the next wasteful trend will be.
Furthermore, Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers said that the fixtures had dropped in price from $800 per unit to $300 and that they would probably continue to decline in price. Maybe we should wait for them to drop further, while so many Americans struggle to pay their electric bill.
Moreover, most people clearly see that we have a mountain of debt and yet Washington continues to spend and spend. Deficits and debts are a staggering avalanche that threatens to pour down upon all of us.
During this very difficult economic downturn that has hurt millions of Americans, perhaps Speakers Pelosi should have waited for better economic times to remodel the “proverbial kitchen” along her green lines. Then after all, perhaps those green LED lights that were a “must-have” for the Rayburn Cafeteria would have decreased even more in price and been a little more reasonable.
Ten years is a long time to recoup the cost of light bulbs, especially $140,000 worth of light bulbs. Of course, perhaps I am just cynical. All too often we are told that the government will be saving money and it turns out that the savings are truly realized.
Now is the time that we should exploring and utilizing all of our energy sources, seeking a way out of this terrible recession that is gripping our country. Our country has been made prosperous because of our abundant supply of cheap energy and we need to continue to ensure that our manufacturing sector and other job producing sectors have a continued supply of inexpensive energy. Traditional energy should not be sacrificed at the altar of green energy.
Mike Carey is President of The American Council for Affordable and Reliable Energy (ACARE) a coalition of businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals who support public policies that encourage the production and delivery of the energy required by a growing economy.