No wonder Washington state voters have such a low opinion of our lawmakers in Olympia. We keep hearing our Governor and legislators whine about how painful it will be to close a $5 billion budget gap, when in fact, as everybody knows, the solution is actually very, very easy:

The Legislature opens today for a wrenching 105-day session that will focus on chopping billions from the state budget.

But respondents to the latest Elway poll have a clear target for all that budget cutting: waste and fraud.

Some 71 percent of those polled said the state would have enough money to balance the budget if it eliminated waste and fraud.

But, you know, those damn politicians just won't cut all that waste and fraud because it's just so much easier to propose new taxes, hike college tuition, slash K-12 spending and cut tens of thousands of children from our health care rolls. Or something.

(Sigh.)

Honestly, I don't know who to be angrier at... the Republicans and their media surrogates for perpetrating this bullshit, the 71 percent of voters who willfully swallow it, or my fellow Democrats who somehow manage to continue to win elections while consistently losing the debate?

There's a legitimate conversation to be had over the proper size and scope of government, and if 71 percent of voters don't want the state to maintain the level of public services and infrastructure we now enjoy, then I suppose I'm just on the losing end of the democratic process. But to think we can avoid painful (and ultimately, counterproductive) cuts without raising taxes in the face of a $5 billion shortfall, simply by eliminating "waste and fraud," well, that's not just lazy and stupid, it's totally fucking delusional.

In the end, we'll get the government we pay for. And I guess, the government 71 percent of us deserve.