This editorial is from the Baltimore Sun from November 3rd — the day after the election. It gets at some of the problems of putting what we want into the context of what we actually want to pay for or invest in.
After devoting long minutes to careful analysis of Tuesday night’s election returns, I now know what Americans want:
- We want roads and bridges that are always in good condition but do not require tax money for upkeep.
- We want world class schools with teachers who are so dedicated that they will work for minimum wage. (Note: the best one should be in my neighborhood)
- We want 60-inch plasma TVs that cost $200 and are produced by workers in Ohio making at least $30 per hour.
- We want our military to win every war, every heart and every mind, everywhere, at no cost in lives or money.
- We want cheap, clean, efficient mass transit that goes through someone else’s neighborhood.
- We want no-fat triple-decker hamburgers that are good for you and taste great.
- We want fast, efficient, friendly government services provided by clerks who work happily for free.
- We want “clean” coal and domestic crude that does not produce pollution or require digging or drilling.
- We want SUVs that get 100 miles per gallon and produce jobs in Detroit.
- We want Social Security benefits to go up and Social Security taxes to go down.
- We want cheap labor from legal citizens who don’t mind living in poverty.
- We want clean drinking water and pristine parks and the right to dump anything, anywhere.
- We want colleges that are inexpensive and not too hard but produce world class leaders.
- We want football where every hit is brutal but no one gets hurt and baseball where everyone hits 40 home runs but no one uses steroids.
- We want government to deliver all these things — then cut taxes and then cut taxes some more. Mostly, we want what we want, and we want it now.
- Personally, I want leaders who will tell us frankly that all these things are not possible, that the blessings of infrastructure and education given us by our fathers are wearing out. I want thinkers who can paint a picture of a greater America that could exist in 50 or 100 years, and then unite us with a roadmap to get there. I want America to have a shared vision and an understanding that we all benefit when we all contribute, and that we all suffer when we demand only for ourselves. I want leaders who will tell the truth: that there is no free lunch.
- But then, I also want the World Series to end in early October, yet I know that some things are just too grand to even wish for.
Mac Nachlas, Baltimore