It's no surprise what most Americans are resolving to do beginning today.
Recent surveys show that roughly 70 percent of Americans say they will make losing weight a New Year resolution for 2014. But here are some issues we hope gain weight in the new year — particularly among elected officials from Congress to Sonoma County.
Bipartisanship and productivity. This year, Congress enacted just 71 laws, according to a Library of Congress listing. That is far fewer than in any year since the end of World War II. Meanwhile, the GOP-controlled House passed more than three dozen pieces of legislation that sought to undo or undermine Obamacare — even though they had no chance of being approved in the Senate. This kind of nonsense needs to stop. Voters are tired of the brinkmanship and the partisan back-stabbing. This is true even at the local level. The Santa Rosa City Council, as well as senior staff, has been torn apart by inner turmoil and dissention of late. It's reached the point where Mayor Scott Bartley has filed a hostile workplace environment complaint against City Councilman Gary Wysocky over a heated argument Wysocky had with the city attorney. All of this is taking time and attention away from more pressing concerns.
Climate change. The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland, ended Nov. 22 with participants agreeing that the world really must do something — at some point in time. The hope is that by the time the nations meet again in Paris in 2015 a serious plan will be on the table to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. But much work remains. And the United States needs to take more of a leadership role. The world must stop kicking the can down the road while greenhouse gases accumulate and the impacts become more apparent.
Concern for the jobless: Congress broke for the holiday without extending unemployment benefits. So starting today, some 1.3 million long-term-unemployed Americans are without any clear means of support. This likely will result in a drop in the nation's unemployment rate, but it's not something to cheer about. People who received these benefits were required to look for work. With benefits now gone, some jobless are likely to stop looking — and will no longer be counted as unemployed.
The fact remains that while Wall Street and many Americans are celebrating an economic recovery, millions are not seeing it — and are in danger of becoming unseen themselves.
There are many other issues that we hope also will continue to gain weight this year including fixing California's broken tax system, bolstering education funding and establishing realistic reforms to the pension crisis that continues to hobble public agencies across the state.
These kinds of weight gains would make for a healthier new year.