I'm probably not the first to say good riddance, 2012

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Everyone wants to believe that our economy is on the upswing, but if it happens this year, it will be an accident. In 2012 we heard nothing from the president about how he will rebuild the nation, other than middle-class tax cuts. Republican leaders tell us we have to cut Social Security and Medicare and every other program that helps people, but that’s where their reforms stop. My friends in business keep telling me that we shouldn’t bash Wall Street, but the list of self-dealing, corrupt players grew much longer in 2012 thanks to a bunch of fresh convictions.

Local sports fans had little to cheer about last year. The Islanders are on their way to Brooklyn because their owner couldn’t get a taxpayer-financed arena, and there were no solutions offered to keep the Nassau Coliseum from going dark too many nights of the year. The Mets continued to disappoint their loyal fans with promises of better days ahead that are empty words. The Yankees made it to the playoffs, but some of their better players will be gone this year.

If Congress and the president somehow managed to keep us from going over the so-called fiscal cliff as this column went to press, 2013 might be a brighter year. We know there’s plenty of money sitting on the sidelines, but no one is going to invest in this country if our tax policy is destructive. Delaying a long-term solution for another six months or a year opens the door to more hostage-taking in Congress that would make 2012 look tame compared with 2013.

They say that we either live in hope or die in despair. Let’s get past the despair of 2012 and move on to a hopeful 2013.

Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column? JKremer@liherald.com.

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