By Kenneth Kowald
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”I will take that sentiment of hope and courage as the theme for these New Year's Resolutions. Let us resolve:¥ To set a date certain – and soon – to pull out all of our troops from the unnecessary war in Iraq. Elected officials should tell the generals to get the job done in the most efficient and expeditious manner. ¥ To put more “boots on the ground” in Afghanistan, to stabilize that government and to assist the final extermination of Al Qaeda and the Taliban insofar as that is possible. ¥ To ensure that all combat veterans are given the best and speediest care when in need.¥ To make certain that all who worked or lived near or at Ground Zero have the proper care for any ailments they may have suffered. ¥ To be a leader in the fight against climate change and global warming. Only those who will not hear or will not see oppose taking action now. ¥ To set an energy policy for this country that encompasses a wide range of efforts to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. ¥ To make proper health care available to everyone in this country. We now rank 37th in the world in effectiveness of health care, according to the World Health Organization. This is outrageous. ¥ To pass immigration legislation that is humane, efficient and enforceable. ¥ To make firm commitments to making New York City an environmental leader. That includes adding 1 million trees to the city's urban forest by 2017 and maintaining them and all of our green canopy properly. ¥ To make all segments of government – on every level – responsible for energy conservation and proper greening practices. Government should set the example in this regard. ¥ To protect our national forests and other public treasures for centuries to come from developments that would mar or destroy them.¥ To organize our tax structure so that Warren Buffett's secretary does not pay a greater percentage of her income than he does, according to this great philanthropist's own calculations. ¥ To get some kind of handle on the growing discrepancy in income between the very rich and the hardworking poor. In the 1970s, CEOs typically earned 30 times more than the average employee. Today, they pull in 300 times as much. ¥ To do something really bold and effective about cutting down on automotive pollution in Manhattan. Call it congestion pricing, or call it spinach, but do it. ¥ To do something truly effective about rescuing homeowners from the mistakes they were encouraged to make in taking out subprime mortgages they could not afford. Millions are suffering from the greed that consumed our financial institutions. ¥ To not allow our fear of terrorism to destroy the democratic fabric of our nation. Fear has become too common in our political life. As FDR said, we must not let it paralyze us. Happy New Year!