Snow removal is just one of the many city services that drain the coffers.

Snow removal is just one of the many city services that drain the coffers.

The Society of Want

Life never seems to get any easier for the average Jack and Jane.

Life never seems to get any easier for the average Jack and Jane. Everywhere we turn, government has their eye on our own personal bottom line. Friday’s front page headline in the Star was yet another example: “Nelson taxes going up 3 per cent.”

Compounding the negative number crunching is an era where few are seeing their personal wealth increase. Zero per cent increases for public servants, shrinking balance sheets for the small business owner, holding the line on wages for those who work for bigger corporations… in the end it just doesn’t add up for the average.

So what is government to do? The most daunting problem for those we elect to guide us through these rocky times is that we are the Society of Want.

We want a better house, a better car, a better television, a better smart phone, a better quality steak and better vacations. When it comes to government services we want better education, better health care, better care for seniors, better parks, better roads, better police services and better foreign policy.

The wants are endless. The money isn’t.

On the flipside of our wants, we make the puzzle for politicians more difficult by adding a twist.

We don’t want pipelines, we don’t want ski resorts, we don’t want imposed contracts, we don’t want tax breaks for corporations and we don’t want any more degradation of our natural environment.

We want it all, but we are not willing to sacrifice what we already have. We want all the perks of a healthy and vibrant society, but don’t want to pay for it.

No political party or city council has ever been able to solve the great mystery of perfect leadership. No premier or mayor has ever been able to keep everybody happy. It simply doesn’t happen.

No matter how many open house budget meetings or elections we hold, it will always come down to service versus taxation. If we want more, we have to pay for it. If we want less, we have to sacrifice. While politicians have their hands in our pockets, we are pulling them in dozens of different directions with wants.

The bottom line is what we the people make it. If we want it any other way, a long look at what we need is the most daunting step of all.