Local connection: Trying to solve a gigantic problem

In recent weeks as Governor Lingle and the legislature wrestle with the budget crisis we've heard a lot of cynicism about the process. Republicans think the legislature is in the pocket of the unions. Democrats think Lingle will balance the budget on the backs of those who need state services the most. But you know what? Both sides are trying to solve a gigantic problem neither one of them is responsible for.

This mess started on the mainland with reckless behavior on Wall Street. The two parties are doing some sniping, yes, but not as much as usual. The Democrats saved employers from part of a soaring payroll tax, probably saving some jobs. The governor cut her own pay first and has tried a number of sensible spending reductions.

If it feels like essential services are being cut, it's because state government does Hawaii more good than we sometimes like to admit. Similar dramas are being played out in other states. We can help by giving politicians the space to do the right thing.