Predictions 2018 are upon us. What will happen?
Hello, America, it’s 32F in the ATX, headed to 60F on Saturday.
So, every 2 January the Big Red Car makes his predictions for the year ahead.
Last year, we were pretty damn good.
Not perfect, but pretty good.
Politics is always a fun one. Here goes.
The US Congress passes an infrastructure bill with a small amount of bi-partisan support. It will be a deficit busting, Jabba the Hutt, pork project of gargantuan proportions. It will include something for every state, every industry, and every Republican Congressman running for re-election. It will be an all-you-can-eat buffet with seconds and a take home container of desserts. The Republicans will say, “Deficit? What freakin’ deficit?” Every politician will be a pig at the trough trying to get theirs. It will be huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge!
Speaking of elections — Republicans pick up a half dozen seats in the Senate.
Republicans lose ten seats in the House — all from states with high SALT and in affluent, property-rich Districts. Otherwise, the Republicans hold serve rather handily.
The Democrats are unable to find a central message, theme, or leader. They have nothing to run on except, “Hey, Trump.”
President Trump is all over the campaign trail supporting Republicans in tough races. He goes all in and drags all of his campaign operative pals with him. All the naysaying Republicans will be begging him to come to their state or their District. It will be big league.
The big issue is “How did the candidates vote on tax reform?” The economy, jobs, taxes — “It’s the economy, stupid.” Imagine the debates wherein the Republican points at his/her opponent and says, “That son-of-a-bitch wants you to pay more taxes. Vote for him/her if you want to pay more taxes.”
The sexual antics of male Congressmen blows up as names and settlement amounts are all publicized. It is so much, it becomes impossible to keep track. Female candidates will do very well.
Big hidden story becomes how much President Trump has shrunk the size of Federal employment through attrition and hiring freeze.
Right after the election Speaker Ryan floats a trial balloon on fixing entitlements. Gets shot down by President Trump who says, “Wait until after 2020, Paulie boy.”
President Trump begins to practice Tweet Discipline. He still tweets, but Gen Kelly puts some Leatherneck discipline on him. Kelly denies it, but it is Kelly. This will creep up on you. At first, the media will miss it and then somebody is going to say, “WTF?”
The brain trust of Pence, Mad Dog, Kelly, McMaster, Pompeo, Tillerson, Coats begins to rock and roll. Trump runs policy through them and we have adults running things.
The House and Senate begin to purge some of the Undocumented Democrats — Flake, McCain, Corker. The others — Murkowski, Collins, Rubio — begin to follow Lindsey Graham’s lead and work with the President. McConnell and Ryan work with each other and the White House. It becomes a great team. Bannon, Priebus, Flynn — not missed.
Donald J Trump begins to act like President Trump six days a week. Melania keeps him in line.
President Trump loses 15 pounds and does a weight loss commercial for Nutrisystem.
Former President Obama takes a back seat and is cautious in his support of any mid-term candidates, remembering it was under his admin that the House and Senate were delivered to the Republicans. He kicks it up a notch on the money-making speaking circuit and the book writing business. He plays a lot of golf and decides politics is too hard for him now.
North Korea will find a way to initiate direct talks with South Korea first. It will be initiated by the Olympics. This will lead to a proxy convo which will work to dispel the tension on the Korean Peninsula.
If North Korea tests a mid-ocean nuclear device, the US will attack North Korea with a “bloody nose” attack taking out all nuclear weapon launch sites, all launchers, all power plants serving launch sites, the command & control, and wait to see North Korea’s response. If they respond militarily, the US will decapitate North Korean leadership and wait to see if North Korea fires artillery at South Korea. If North Korea fires a single round, the US will wipe out every artillery tube within 50 miles of the DMZ with three carrier strike groups, three cruise missile subs, four squadrons of bombers from Guam, and the combined ferocity of American air power in South Korea and Japan. The shit will be over in a week. No nukes will be used.
China will not be helpful as it relates to North Korea, but they will not become involved if the US attacks North Korea as long as the US doesn’t use nuclear weapons.
Once North Korea is solved, China and the US face off on trade. It gets ugly and vindictive.
The fighting in the Ukraine will ratchet up as lethal American aid begins to arrive. The Ukrainians will discharge their duties with skill and aplomb. They will use anti-tank, artillery, and anti-air weapons supplied by the US with great results.
Putin and Trump will circle each other like a couple of Rottweilers. Any notion that these guys like each other will evaporate.
Putin will test NATO in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia. This will be the result of the lethal weapon support to the Ukraine.
President Trump provides moral and covert support to Iranian rebels. The Iranian Rebellion becomes a thing.
President Trump decertifies the Iranian deal.
ISIS is reduced to 500 men in a tiny bit of land in southeastern Syria.
The Iranians exert considerable influence over Iraq and develop a crescent of power which reaches from Iran through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon. Iranian funding of Hezbollah gives them incredible power in Lebanon’s politics where Hezbollah continues to emerge as a political force.
The Israelis get jumpy about having Iran on their border.
The new Middle East teams are the US-Israel-Saudi Arabia v Iran-Syria-Russia. Iraq is under the thumb of Iran.
The US holds Pakistan’s feet to the fire, terminates almost all financial aid, and puts them on notice about harboring terrorists.
As part of the Pakistan issue, the US cozies up to India — long, long, long overdue. India will emerge as a critical US ally in regard to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China.
The war in Afghanistan begins to wind down as the US drives toward destroying the Taliban in much the same way it did ISIS.
The US continues to conduct “freedom of navigation” exercises in the South China Sea and the Chinese continue to build and fortify their dozen atoll islands.
The Wall gets started as part of the DACA deal and the infrastructure bill. Mexico does not pay for it. President Trump attends the official groundbreaking which is in California.
Immigration continues to march along with a huge decrease in illegal immigration. ICE continues to expel criminals and illegal aliens as ICE staffing increases.
There is a deal made between the Republicans and Democrats on DACA which leads to a deal on immigration. Part of the deal is a general amnesty. Yes, a general amnesty.
Chain migration, immigration lottery, birthright citizenship are dead.
Chicago, Baltimore become more deadly. The killing is primarily black-on-black. The Feds step in and begin to patrol the streets. It works and the murder rates plummet.
There is a huge fight on sanctuary cities. It gets nasty as the Trump administration attempts to obtain sanctuary city legislation as part of immigration reform.
Illinois declares bankruptcy.
Power is restored in Puerto Rico by the end of the summer.
More states legalize recreational marijuana.
The entire state of California is stoned on Friday through Sunday. Nobody notices.
Businesses jump all over an improving economy. The reduction of corp tax rates is a psychological game changer, but the repatriation of overseas profits is a bust.
There is a huge Silicon Valley sexual deviancy scandal wherein it turns out men/boys with power and money behave badly. The surprise is how badly they behave. Ugh. It is rooted in sex, drugs, alcohol, deviancy, men/boys, and willing women. It turns out to be an incredible mess. Read the Vanity Fair article, but take a shower afterward. The venture capital business gets a black eye.
The US pulls out of NAFTA which turns out to be a non-event. Relations with Mexico improve as The Wall is under construction and they didn’t pay for it.
Amongst Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, Google does the best and continues to own search (haha, sorry) which drives their business. These companies, plus Apple and Microsoft, become the Standard Oils of their time. They become lumbering giants casting a deadly shadow behind them.
Tesla comes back to reality when it cannot figure out how to produce all the cars it has on order. The other car companies, particularly the luxury cars, get into the game and there is no real unique selling advantage to a Tesla as “first mover” advantage is squandered. Tesla stock dives by year end.
The United States becomes an incredible energy machine, not only independent, but dominant. LNG becomes a strategic weapon freeing eastern Europe from the Russian Bear’s influence.
Cryptocurrency continues to face enormous volatility but trends down by year end. The SEC and other countries — South Korea, China — begin to corral the bad actors. The tax treatment is firmed up and it makes bitcoin into a piece of property, not a currency. The bubble breaks, but not until year end.
Still no killer app for the blockchain though it is being worked by the smartest people in the world. The basic premise that the world “needs” the blockchain is finally seen to be the Emperor and he is a fat, white, naked guy.
US GDP growth (currently 3.3%) accelerates and leaps over 4% like the low hurdles. Begins to court 5% with flowers and candy. By year end, nobody can remember GDP growth below 3%. There is no single big driver. It is the cumulative impact of a lot of things starting with the President’s bully pulpit.
The tax bill bears tasty fruit. Repatriation of foreign profits is a bust.
Job growth in the US accelerates and real wage growth begins. By year end, employers in certain industries are competing viciously for workers the old fashioned way — money.
Median family income makes solid upward move.
The Labor Force Participation Rate continues its upward movement.
Welfare and food stamps rolls continue to contract.
NYSE hits 27,500 by 31 December 2018. It is a straight run.
The Mueller investigation will not be finished by year end, but it will be pretty damn clear there is no collusion case to be made.
The Mueller investigation will rotate from collusion to obstruction of justice to financial skullduggery to which fork folks used with shellfish. Those who wore white after Labor Day will come in for a lot of scrutiny.
The new FBI Director Wray will conduct a Night of the Long Knives restructuring. All the household names will be gone — many by retirement.
It will turn out that the FBI is a fine organization filled to overflowing with dedicated men and women, but that Comey, McCabe, Baker, Strzok, Page were coloring outside the lines. Director Wray will try to get them out the door with no wounds.
The DOJ will receive a similar makeover and Rosenstein, Ohr will be gone, maybe not by year end. Rosenstein will not go until the end of the Mueller investigation.
It will turn out that the Russian Dossier was used to obtain a FISA warrant. This will mean a political campaign purchased a bit of opposition research, camouflaged it as an intel work product, gave it to the FBI, tried to troll it to the media, gave it to John McCain, and it was bought hook-line-sinker. The Obama admin, through its FBI and DOJ, will have investigated an opposing party’s presidential campaign based on oppo research from its party’s candidate. The Obama admin weaponized the FBI and the DOJ to harm its political enemies. This will turn out to be some explosive stuff. Nobody will be punished. Nobody.
The FBI and the Mueller investigations will be outed as outrageous leakers, no surprise given the admissions of the FBI’s Director Comey. What FBI Director leaks to the NYT through a Columbia law prof? Uhh, that would be James Comey.
There will be no Uranium One investigation, but the conduct of the Hillary Clinton interrogation will be outed as an incredible blunder and against a half century of policy and precedent. HRC will skate free for everything. Not a glove on her.
It will turn out we have had evidence of UFOs and extraterrestrial life for decades. Decades.
The #metoo phenomenon will be huge. It will be incredible to find out how badly men in power behaved. It will, however, change nothing. The pendulum will swing so far, the bad acting men will try to attain victim status.
There will be a wholesale migration of wealthy to states which have low or no state taxes.
We will make no real progress on race relations as the usual industrial strength race baiters will continue to do what they do best.
Chicago and Baltimore will emerge as examples of unspeakable violence visited upon their own citizens.
We will make no real progress on gender bias. It will be incredible to learn how many men continue to be tone deaf on the subject.
ISIS will be reduced to an idea and not a very powerful one.
The world will continue to suffer lone wolf and cellular terror episodes until sterner measures are taken.
The funding of Hamas, Hezbollah by Iran will be obvious and apparent. There will be consequences.
Enhanced vetting will identify and stop a significant amount of terrorists trying to come to the US.
Europe will, collectively, do an about face on its immigration policies and re-institute its national borders as a barrier to the widespread transport of terror.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will be killed in a drone strike.
Those who are involved in terror funding will begin to disappear worldwide.
So, dear reader, there you have it. No chicken excrement little list of predictions. Bold, specific, huge predictions.