Friday, November 04, 2005

The following is from a press briefing by Ari Fleisher on May 7, 2001.

Is one of the problems with this, and the entire energy field, American lifestyles? Does the President believe that, given the amount of energy Americans consume per capita, how much it exceeds any other citizen in any other country in the world, does the President believe we need to correct our lifestyles to address the energy problem?

MR. FLEISCHER: That's a big no. The President believes that it's an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policy makers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one. And we have a bounty of resources in this country. What we need to do is make certain that we're able to get those resources in an efficient way, in a way that also emphasizes protecting the environment and conservation, into the hands of consumers so they can make the choices that they want to make as they live their lives day to day.

Q So Americans should go on consuming as much more energy than any other citizens in any other countries of the world, as long as they want?

MR. FLEISCHER: Terry, the President believes that the American people are very wise and that, given the right incentives, they will know how and they will make their own right determinations about how much they can conserve, just as the President announced last week that the federal government, as part of its consumership in California will reduce energy needs -- for example, the Department of Defense facilities in California, by 10 percent. He believes the American people, too, will make the right decisions about conservation and the program he will announce shortly will also include a series of conservation items.

But the President also believes that the American people's use of energy is a reflection of the strength of our economy, of the way of life that the American people have come to enjoy. And he wants to make certain that a national energy policy is comprehensive, that includes conservation, includes a way of allowing the American people to continue to enjoy the way of life that has made the United States such a leading nation in the world.

What does this tell us about our country? We are afraid to face facts and would rather live in a fantasy than make the hard choices about how we should live. Is it sane that millions of us drive 10, 20, 30 mils a day to and from work and that there is no other option, that there is no other way to get to work than to drive. Live closer to work? The way the country is zoned most of us can't live close to work. There is no housing in our cities. Our cities are designed as shopping zones, office towers but not as places to live. Everything is designed for cars, not for people. If someone suggested limiting car traffic everyone would freakout because it would freeze the economy. The President needs to make a choice or the choice will be made for us. The days of cheap oil, of the ability to waste this precious resource, are over. I blieve there will be a massive economic disaster in the coming years that alter the way we live. A choice will be made for us and it will change everything about this country. Don't buy a new car! Don't move into the suburbs! Stay close in to where the action is or face the consequences of being stuck in the middle of nothing.