I have every reason to believe that Deval grew up the way I and many of us did. Pay your bills. Admit your errors. Take personal responsibility. Don’t leave your mess for someone else to clean up when you’re gone.
Only now do many of us seem to realize the problems of treating government like we were little kids hiding from our troubles. There’s no more room under the bed and things need resolution.
When Deval came in as governor, there was a collective nod about his promises and vision. Together he and Lt. Gov. Tim Murray plan fundamental and widespread changes, plus playing catch-up for the B.D. fantasies.
Tim Murray’s campaign contained some key progressive visions of his own. Specifically, he sees mass transit and vastly upgraded trains for people and freight. We can use these to enliven our economy in numerous ways. Linking our second-tier cities, such as Worcester and Lowell, and the other few manufacturing area, is an essential – but slow and costly – step.
Obvious benefits include increasing the wealth and employment in these areas outside of the Boston Standard Metropolitan Area. It also can put people where they want to and can afford to live. In the mid and long term, it would reduce their commutes and their reliance on cars, better for them and their families as well as the environment.
The Hard Road
This is not the place to make the arguments and lists of benefits. The concept would be that we would return to being a leader in modern transit and industrialization. Our economy certainly needs that.
To return to the Deval/Tim vision, such things look hard, as is the nature of most things progressive. They require underlying changes on many levels. Whether it is integrating our public schools (still in the works) or making mass transit so great people stop driving to work, such fundamental changes are complex and demanding.
That is a central reason why the Republican Party did so well nationally in Ronald Reagan’s time and that of the Bushes, elder and younger. They didn’t ask for long-term commitments, for personal sacrifices, for visions that required thought and courage. They did repeat that they would not raise taxes, although the god-awful deficit and national debt are absolutely taxes that we and the next generation must pay.
Source Note: I confess to seldom citing the Boston Herald because of its often short and sparse articles. However on funding, its writers, particularly, Casey Ross, can be spot on.
Consider two ramifications recently:
- A key commonwealth funding source, the lottery, is down again, this time $120 under budget projections. As Ross notes, “Legislative leaders are still searching for ways to close that gap.”
- Senate President Therese Murray is examining leasing or selling bridges and roads to private firms to move maintenance costs. Here Ross cites the scramble to finance the $19 billion or more needed to make up for the delayed maintenance from the no-taxes strategy of the past two decades.
Of course, in our heart of hearts, we know that it is puerile to delay the necessary. It can be dangerous too; think pretending that skin cancer will just go away. Likewise, trimming pork for folks at home or the small tax hike 18 years ago could have meant that we wouldn’t be looking at those billions in overdue, constantly increasing costs now.
The legislature finds itself in an icy lake of duty. There’s much to do and none of it is simple, but they can’t stand still any longer. By laying out the essential problems, Deval is not letting us hide any longer.
We can understand by the legislature initially hid from the various funding options and proposals. They represent a level of responsibility that they haven’t faced in a long time. They’ll have to explain and sell the realities to constituents who are used to hearing that we can delay and that and that.
Well, we had our no-taxes, no hard-choices meal. The bill is here. As my mother was so fond of saying, “We’re all adults here.”
Progressive goals can be much harder to reach, but we end up in a much, much better place.