Carl's Predictions for 2011
1. Jeb Bush will enter the primary race for the Republican Nomination for President and become the instant Republican front runner, gaining support from across the Republican establishment because of their fear of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.
2. Cities and states across the nation will enter a state of severe fiscal emergency, leading to drastic layoffs, conflict over public employee pensions and health benefits, and, in some cases, bankrupcty and default, whatever that looks like for governments at that level. This will make it totally clear to everyone that the nation has not entered a recovery from the economic crisis and will endanger the political position of Obama, because there is virtually nothing that can be done to resolve the crisis.
3. The housing crisis will drag on, with no real resolution in sight, leading to increased desperation for middle- and working-class families, and financial problems for banks holding all those mortgages.
4. After Obama begins to cooperate with the Republicans in Congress in an attempt to 'privatize' at least a part of Social Security, the progressive community will become increasingly shrill in their dismay with Obama, leading quite likely to a progressive challenge in the primaries (particularly if Jeb Bush enters the race on the other side).
5. The Higher Education Bubble will become more obvious, as more and more colleges raise their tuition and fees, more and more students (rightly) resist taking on loans that they will have trouble paying back, fewer students decide to go to four-year colleges, and more and more colleges begin to falter financially and go bankrupt.
6. In general, the economic condition of the average person will continue to deteriorate, even as the wealthy continue to enjoy unprecedented levels of prosperity and luxury. Rising food prices and near record levels of unemployment, combined with the housing crisis and the governmental fiscal crisis, will jeopardize the ability of ordinary people to provide for their housing, food, transportation, health care, and education, let alone the little luxuries like vacations that Americans became used to in the last half century. Pensions will continue to become things of the past, leading to increased poverty among the elderly, as many baby boomers retire without having made adequate provision for their retirement needs.
7. It will start to become obvious that the next 'bubble' is health care, and that the cost of American health care is fast becoming unsustainable. The question will be: how in the heck do we go about rationing health care in order to reduce costs.
8. On the bright side, immigration will probably cease being the hot-button topic it has been, since the economic opportunities in America will stop looking so attractive to people south of the border. To the contrary, there will be an increased effort to keep the intelligent and well-educated foreigners who have received Ph.D.s from American universities, in order to increase our R&D. If Jeb Bush wins the Presidency, he will fashion an acceptable immigration package that will pass Congress.