December 22, 2008 Wants and Needs

It’s the time of year when visions of sugarplums and Christmas songs get stuck in your head. Here’s what’s been playing in my head for the last three days (with apologies to the Rolling Stones):

You can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you need.

We’ve spent most of the last three days recovering from one storm, working outside during the last storm, and getting ready for the next. We had to get up a new shelter for the goats (easy to assemble kits just aren’t, especially when it’s 5 degrees outside) and then sort out the goats we wanted to bring closer to home and get them loaded. It was only a 10 mile haul, but we lost the open window in the weather and had to deal with drifting snow across the last 1/8 mile of road. Craig dug out the road by hand while I put chains on the truck. And did I mention there were two frozen pipes to deal with? One thawed successfully, but there is an ominous dripping sound inside the wall between the laundry room and the garage. That will be one of today’s projects.

Now you can see why “you can’t always get what you want” keeps going through my head. The last big news flash out of Olympia before I became consumed with snow was the governor’s budget and the proposed cuts to make expenses balance with revenue. There are and must be cuts into things we want in order to focus on things we need. Over the years we have asked government to do a whole lot of inherently good things that aren’t core functions of government.

We have asked for all of our wants as if government and Santa Claus were synonymous, as a child insists on a pony for Christmas. At the Greater Spokane Legislative forum, one audience questioner noted that children will ask for everything, and a good parent knows when to say no and stick to it. Sen. Lisa Brown rejected the analogy and kept putting the responsibility for the budget problems back onto the people, saying that the legislature was just responding to the people’s requests. Sen. Linda Parlette had a much better response –like a good parent she is ready to make the tough decisions to separate needs and wants.

You can’t always get what you want, but we just might find we can get what we need – if our legislators stick to conservative principles and exercise fiscal discipline.