A few New Year's wishes
New Year's Day is a time for resolutions and wishes. None of us want to make resolutions we won't keep. But we have a few wishes for 2015, and here they are:
■ Peace on Earth is probably a little ambitious, so we'd settle for an even slightly more stable world by this time next year. That will be challenging. The new year begins with the world more dangerous than it has been in a generation. The barbarous Islamic State is still uncontained in the Middle East, where terrorist groups are intent on spreading their hatred. We hope President Barack Obama can deliver on his promise to degrade and destroy this particularly virulent strain of Islamic militancy. Likewise, the administration must make sure its gamble on a nuclear containment treaty with Iran pays off.
Russia may be even more menacing to its neighbors now that its economy is collapsing. And with the declaration this week that the war in Afghanistan is over, we hope the dying of U.S. troops is over as well.
Dealing with these multiple crises will tax the Obama administration's skills, and will be easier if it establishes a better relationship with Congress.
■ Speaking of Congress, the Republicans take over today. The new GOP leaders must find a purpose beyond simply blocking Obama's initiatives. They must forge an agenda for growth and government restraint, and find partners among moderate Democrats to pass constructive legislation. Americans are sick of Washington's dysfunction. Hopefully, Republicans will realize if they want to retain their majority beyond 2016, they'll make sure they're focused on results.
■ In Michigan, 2014 ended in disappointment. Lawmakers failed in their key task: passing a transportation bill that would finally fix the state's miserable roads. Instead, they punted the issue to voters, banking they'll pass a sales tax hike in a special May election.
That's a risk.
When the Legislature reconvenes, lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder should try again for a legislative solution.
We've all noticed that the price of gasoline has plummeted to below $2 a gallon at many stations. This is a perfect time to pass a fuel tax to raise road funding the right way. We wish they'd do it.
■ It is truly a new year for Detroit, having exited bankruptcy at the end of last year and returned to elected control of city government.
It's been six decades since the city's prospects looked so bright. It has a clean balance sheet and new energy. Downtown is booming, and the neighborhoods are finally getting some attention. We wish an upward trend line for Detroit.
Beyond that, our wishes are fairly simple:
How about a collective wish that we all keep our individual resolutions. Keep watching our diets, breaking bad habits and wearing our Fitbits. A healthier Michigan will be a happier Michigan.
And as long as we're wishing, we wish Chevy Chase would make another Vacation movie. There's nothing more precious than a good laugh.
Happy New Year!