Using less energy is a great way for governments (and the rest of us!) to save money. Every dollar saved with fluorescent light bulbs or fuel-efficient fleet vehicles is a dollar we don't have to pay in taxes. Those new LED police car lights that lie flat against the roof or even sit inside the car use less energy and leave more money in the budget for handcuffs, bullets, and other tough-guy law-and-order stuff. A small investment in software that shuts off idle monitors saves the King County government in Washington $140K a year.
So why do conservatives sneer at conservation? Candidate Obama recommends saving gasoline by inflating your tires, a small but perfectly sensible personal energy policy requiring no taxes or regulation, and John McCain portrays the suggestion as unmanly and unAmerican. Our Nobel-Prize winning Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu suggests using lighter-colored roofing and paving materials to reduce energy usage (less heat absorbed by your building, less urban heat island effect, less air conditioning!), and all Pat Powers can say is, "He's kidding, right?" (Credit where credit's due: two years ago, conservative Glenn Reynolds thought white roofs were worth a try.) And the cattily conservative Fastidious takes pride in declaring her distaste for "'green' life-styles" and "anything 'save the planet.'"
Hmmm... our grandparents scrimp and save to get through the Depression and World War II, and they're called the Greatest Generation. Folks propose practical ways to use less electricity or gasoline nowadays, and they're laughed at and branded hippies or pansies or socialists or who-knows-what. Go figure.
Update 13:15 CDT: Let the conservatives sneer while you laugh all the way to the bank with your energy bill savings: here are some more tips from KELO and from those wacky liberals at the United States Department of Energy.
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