Monthly Archives: January 2014

My 2014 predictions

It’s a new year, and if you’re like me, you like reading all the top 10 prediction lists for 2014.  Some of them of pretty hair-brained but others, like this one, are full of fascinating insights of what’s in store.

My past predictions for 2012 and 2013 were hardly fearless – but they did have the virtue of being right about 70% of the time.  So, without further ado, here are my predictions for 2014:

1). Congressional Predictions: Republicans almost gain control of the Senate, but fall short with 50 seats (giving the Vice President the tie-breaking vote).  House elections edge in a Republican direction, with about 240 seats taken and the Democrats getting about 190.  Criticism of Obamacare will continue to be a successful issue for Republicans, but the faster pace of economic growth in 2014 will somewhat offset the loss of public confidence.

2). Obamacare will still be a lightning rod, as its main flaw becomes evident – namely, the “mandate” is too weak and initial penalties for not buying health insurance do little to incentivize the young and healthy to do so.  This will change in coming years as those penalties increase — if the law lasts past 2017.  By the end of the year, though, things will still look rough.

3). Republicans don’t even pretend to not raise the debt ceiling this year.  They learned their lesson, right?  If political shenanigans and economic  know-nothing-ism don’t damper economic growth, then. . .

4). The best end-of-the-year estimates will suggest that US economic growth was about 3% for 2014, somewhat higher than initially projected by most economists.  Unemployment will be down to about 6.3%.  The median income of Americans will, however, stays pretty much the same as always.

5). Immigration legislation still doesn’t pass. Minimum wage legislation goes nowhere. Does anyone even remember when Congress passed a big bill?

6). Under pressure by insiders (mainly poor Joe Biden), Hillary Clinton will announce her intentions in December. Everyone will be shocked when she decides she’s had enough politics and declares her intention not to run (okay – so I’m going out on a limb on this one).

7). Fighting is still occurring in Syria, but the outlook is more hopeful as less-radical rebels break the back of more radical Islamists .  The government will have the upper hand over every group, but serious negotiations will be taking place.  Terrorist bombings against civilians in marketplaces and religious centers, however, will become more common.

8). The Iraqi government tries to take a hands-off approach to areas now dominated by Islamist militants.  It backfires as the militants brutalize the civilian population and use the area as a staging ground for attacks elsewhere.

9). Negotiations often have a way of breaking down in the final days, but I’m going to say that the US and Iran strike a nuclear deal that includes frequent and expanded inspections of enrichment facilities.  Congressional Republicans attempt to enact new sanctions out of frustration with the agreement, but will ultimately be unsuccessful.  Comparison’s of President Obama’s foreign policies to Jimmy Carter’s become more frequent.

10). Thailand’s military takes over amidst chaos surrounding elections.  The Powerpoint slide I use for Thailand in my World Regional Geography class has three bullets. Once bullet says Buddhist and another says Political Instability.   I don’t remember what the third thing is.

11). China’s economy does worse than expected and protests increase.  President Xi of China is attempting to reform China’s myriad economic and governmental difficulties.  If he fails, however, historians may view him as China’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

12). Google glasses and smart watches will become mainstream by the end of the year.  People will take to the watches much more, because Dick Tracy was cooler than Clark Kent.

13). Pope Francis’ increasing popularity leads several well-known celebrities to publicly make a big deal about converting to Catholicism.

14). And. . . finally . . . the Academy Award for the year goes to . . .

12 Years a Slave, a movie I wish I’d gone and seen the evening I made the mistake of seeing Thor 2.  My personal choice of the movies I saw, despite its head-scratching flaws, was Gravity.  As for 12 Years a Slave, it probably doesn’t hurt that Deon Cole may have had Hollywood’s relationship to African-Americans pretty much right. . .

So, there we are, 14 predictions for 2014.  Keep tuned in this year – with well over a thousand views this past year, not to mention my book project being done, I feel a bit of pressure (in a good way) to post more regularly in the year to come!