So stop listening to politicians who tell you that we can.
In my most recent post for US News & World Report, I make the case that we, the voters, are partially to blame when politicians let us down. President Obama isn't the only one who tells us what we want to hear. He's just really good at it.
But shame on us. The voting public seems unwilling or incapable of recognizing that addressing real policy challenges inevitably requires serious tradeoffs. You don't lose weight by eating more ice cream.
Yes, we can curtail our carbon emissions ... by raising the cost of polluting activities, like driving, heating our homes, and manufacturing things.
Yes, we can make Social Security solvent for the long run ... by cutting benefits, raising the retirement age or increasing the payroll tax.
Yes, we can simplify the tax code ... by cutting "loopholes" that many of us benefit from, such as the home mortgage interest deduction.
But how do we treat politicians who embrace ideas like creating a carbon tax, raising the retirement age for Social Security or limiting the home mortgage interest deduction? Not well.