Predictions for 2013
- We will go over the “fiscal cliff.” In 2013 it will be fixed early in January along these basic lines: Taxes for those making $250K and up will continue to revert to the pre-Bush/Clinton-era tax rates. Capital gains taxes will go up, though maybe not to the Clinton era. The Obama payroll tax cuts will be extended for another 2 years. Unemployment insurance will be extended. In return for lessening the amount of automatic military cuts, additional stimulus spending will be passed. Medicare and Social Security will not be touched if we go over the cliff.
- The Republicans will try to crash the economy over the debt ceiling. Pres. Obama has ruled out simply ignoring it with the authority of the 14th Amendment, so I predict that if the GOP won’t raise it dramatically, he will use the “platinum coin seineurage” option. That is, U.S. law allows coins to me made in any denomination whatsoever as long as it is made of platinum. So, I predict that if the GOP tries to crash the economy (or hold it hostage in order gut Medicare and Social Security), Pres. Obama will have no choice but to have the Treasury Secretary direct the U.S. Mint to mint between 10 and 20 platinum coins worth $1 trillion each and deposit them in the U.S. Treasury and pay the U.S. bills with them. This will lead to some inflation (and some market uncertainty), but not as much as defaulting on U.S. debt.
- IF these 1st 2 predictions are correct, then I predict that 2013 will see economic growth: New housing starts, an increase in manufacturing jobs, and exports. Unemployment will drop to 6% or lower. On the other hand, IF I am wrong about 1 and 2 and we get either no deal or a bad deal on the “fiscal cliff,” then we’ll have rising unemployment throughout the year until we reach 9% or more. If the GOP forces a default on the debt ceiling (and Pres. Obama doesn’t use the platinum coin option or the 14th Amendment “nuclear option”), then all bets are off. We go into full-fledged depression.
- We will get filibuster reform in the U.S. Senate, but probably not enough reform to stop obstructionism through “secret holds,” etc.
- Immigration reform will pass because the GOP is tired of losing so very badly. It won’t be piecemeal, but quite comprehensive–and the first non-punitive immigration reform since the middle ’80s.
- Pres. Obama will use Executive Orders far more than in the 1st term. Many of them will please progressives, but some will enfuriate them. One that will thrill progressives is that he will finally close Gitmo, no matter the outrage by Congress.
- The Environmental Protection Agency will take stronger action against climate change. However, the Obama administration will try again to authorize the Keystone pipeline and, again, environmental and labor acting in civil disobedience will block this.
- The Middle East will be troubled. (Yeah, I really went out a limb there, huh?) Assad’s regime in Syria will fall, but it’s a 50/50 chance as to whether Syria desolves into an ethnic/religious civil war. Iran will continue to be a thorn in the U.S.’s side, but we won’t go to war. If Netanyahu loses his election in January there’s a slim chance for progress in Israel/Palestine, but I think Netanyahu will be reelected. There may be a 2nd nonviolent revolution in Egypt.
- Gay rights, including marriage equality, will make continued strides in the U.S. and around the world. I predict that, in June, the Supreme Court of the United States, will strike down the federal “Defense of Marriage Act,” the 1994 law that forbids the federal government from recognizing or granting federal benefits to any legally married same-sex couples. I predict that the SCOTUS will also uphold the lower court decision striking down CA’s “Proposition 8,” which amended the CA state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriages. The Court will rule that one cannot vote away rights already given. HOWEVER, I DO NOT think the Supreme Court will rule that marriage equality must be the law of the land throughout the US. It will limit the Prop. 8 decision to CA or anywhere else where marriage equality was won and then voted away. The SCOTUS will continue to allow the struggle for marriage equality to play out state-by-state and “kick down the road” the question of whether or not marriage equality must be legal for all 50 states and any territories of the United States. Meanwhile, marriage equality will become legal in Australia, France, and the United Kingdom even as strict laws against “homosexual behavior” continue to be promulgated in parts of Africa and Asia.
- Pressures will mount on the Obama administration to speed up its exit from Afghanistan and to cease its use of drone strikes. I don’t know who will win in these confrontations.
- My oldest daughter will graduate high school in the top 5% of her class, will be accepted into all 6 of the elite schools to which she has applied–and will have to choose, in part, based on which gives the most financial aid. Her younger sister will graduate middle school in the top 5% of her class, too.
- The Republican “war on women” will continue on the state level and this will continue to cause them electoral grief at both the state and federal level.
- The Supreme Court will strike down at least part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, outraging civil rights groups–and leading to a new 21st C. Voting Rights Act in response.
- Attacks on unions will continue–with wins and losses on both sides. 2013 will be the year of the strike and the boycott.
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