Editorial: Happy New Year, please

When the crystal-covered ball high above Times Square drops down at midnight as the old year dies, will we be celebrating the demise of 2010 or the promise of 2011?

Probably both.

This year was far from the worst of the past three or so, but who will lament its passing? Are we still in the grip of the Great Recession? Or is the worst of it truly in our rearview mirror?

This country’s best and brightest haven’t yet figured that out (assuming they can), which leaves us no choice but to carry on and hope for the best. If we’re good at anything, it’s doing just that.

What can we expect in the new year? Some serious economic challenges, certainly. It’s disturbing and frightening to hear the superintendent of the Mattituck school system liken himself to the captain of the Titanic as he faces upcoming school budget deliberations. Governor-elect Cuomo has made it quite plain that the state has no money and budget cuts are coming, including state aid to education, one of the topmost reasons for the unfortunate Titanic comparison.

Can we avoid getting slammed again by spiking energy costs, particularly gasoline and diesel fuel? Driving here and there is one thing, but when most of the stuff we use and eat is carried by trucks, it all becomes more expensive.
People of all political persuasions have long rattled on about the need to keep spending under control, to “tighten our belts.” And yet the reverse seems to take place year after year. If only half the candidates who promised to “run a tight ship” and operate government “like a business” did what they said they’d do, we’d have the most efficient and effective public sector since the time of the Romans.

Obviously that’s yet to happen. That’s understandable, to a certain point. The conundrum, Town Councilman Bill Ruland observed during a town budget discussion, is that people often make conflicting demands for maintaining low taxes while also maintaining services.

These lean times demand an end to that. It’s unrealistic to keep pinning the blame on “they” and “them.” We’re in this together and the sooner we accept some responsibility the better.

Who knows where 2011 will take us, but wherever it is, it’s clear it won’t be a solo trip.