Which do we want, a working health service or tax cuts?
As national wake-up calls go, the HSE's blunt assessment of the financial needs of the health service for 2016 - as revealed in this newspaper yesterday - is the equivalent of the reveille or bugle call sounded at sunrise in military barracks.
For months now, political parties have been rolling out promises of tax cuts like the financial crash never happened. And that is before the general election campaign has even begun.
In our newly rediscovered 'la la land' - which completely ignores the worrying signs coming from the global economy - it will be Budget giveaways every year between now and 2020. Moves will be made to gradually phase out USC. The top rate of tax will be cut. More people will be taken out of the tax net. And for some of the parties, water charges and the property tax will be abolished.