When you’re in the blogging rackets, there are some things you have to do if you want to survive. The most important thing to do is let everyone know you’re a badass. You can, for instance, pick out the biggest blogger on the yard and beat the hell out of him to send a message to the other bloggers. Alternatively, I went for the hand over the candle move, as I found it more aesthetically in tune with my oeuvre.
The other thing you have to do is write a New Years prediction post. I did one last year and one the year before that. Last year I got most everything wrong, but in my defense I was not trying very hard. I was going for yuks. I did think the economy would perform better and the stock market to bubble up so I was wrong on both scores. The GDP will come in under 3% for the year and the DOW finished a shade below where it started.
On the political front, I missed the Trump story entirely, but I can be forgiven for that as he was not running when I wrote that post. On the other hand, I would never have predicted his campaign anyway. I have been right on the larger theme of disintegration, just not in the details. I figured the Democrats, for example, would be in full meltdown by now. I think Trump sucking all the air out of the room has been a great benefit to Clinton, so far.
That’s enough of that. Let’s dust off the crystal ball and look at what it says about 2016.
The Fed will settle into a pattern of incremental rate hikes, showing a willingness to err on that side in order to claw back toward normalcy. Obama is a lame duck so the politics are right for taking the pain of rate hikes in 2016. The quarter point hike was shrugged off by markets so we’ll see similar hikes through the first half of the year as long as the waters remain calm.
The Federal Reserve has a tricky problem to solve in that they have to rebuild their tool case so they can address the next emergency, but they have to do so slowly so they don’t touch off a new emergency, requiring them to blow their reserves. The best time to do that is when one party is on the way out and the other is on the way in. That way, a recession can be blamed on the loser.
The political class is in a full panic over the rise of Trump in the GOP and the disastrous performance so far by Hillary Clinton. Not much attention has been paid to Hillary and her terrible campaign thus far, but that’s about to change. Donald Trump has played the Bill Cosby card on the Clintons and so far the liberal press is playing along. The Post and the Times have signed off on discussing Bill’s rape problem as a legitimate campaign item.
I’ve been saying for years that the Cult will eventually purge the Clintons. As valuable as they have been to the Democrats, their verminous rapacity offends the sensibilities of the typical Progressive. In many respects, the Clintons represent a part of the past the Cult would like to memory hole and this election may be the perfect time. 2016 will be the year the liberal media turns on the Clintons, even if it scuttles the Democrats chances of winning the White House.
Speaking of Trump, I’m going to say he finishes third in Iowa, but close enough to make it meaningless. Cruz will win because he has the support of the religious groups and they tend to rally around one candidate. Rubio looks like the horse the establishment plans to ride. My guess is the Carson vote goes to him as they have always been the most skittish voters. The final totals will be a virtual three-way tie so while Trump will be third, he can pitch it as a tie.
Trump will win New Hampshire and by a big margin. His performance in Iowa will be enough to dispense with the idea that he will fade away. It will also reassure New Hampshire voters that he is not a religious wacko or beholden to them. This means more to these voters than commonly understood. Trumps big win in the Granite State will cause the Old Man of the Mountain to spontaneously reassemble.
Shifting to something lighter, I’ll pick the New England Patriots to make the Super Bowl and they will face the Arizona Cardinals. Similarly, I will pick the Red Sox to win the American League and make it to the World Series. The shocker will be that the New York Yankees become the first team in baseball history to finish 0-and-162.
English soccer leagues will not go bankrupt this year as I expect to be in attendance for games in the spring. That means I’ll either have to find some other excuse, but I’m leaning toward sucking it up and indulging in some good old fashioned hooliganism. If my British readers hear of an old man speaking with a funny accent leading a soccer riot, it’s probably me.
On the technology front, cord cutting will accelerate through the year and begin to threaten the current arrangements. The math of cord cutting is obvious and now the technology is making it easy. Old habits die hard, but they die faster when the new habit is easy to acquire. Plugging in a magic box and watching TV on demand is reaching the point where anyone can do it. By this time next year content providers will be scurrying to find a way to survive in an on-demand world.
Finally, let’s make some predictions about the foreigners. The collapse of oil prices will further destabilize the Middle East leading to more migrants flooding into Europe. The story of 2016 will be the sudden shift in the political consensus with regards to immigration as the established parties seek to check the rising parties of the Right. Suddenly, it will be Ok to talk about borders, deportations and assimilation.
The Russians will quietly begin to court the Kurds, offering low-level military aid with promises of more aid to defend against the Turks. The Turks will respond with even more aggressive acts against Russia air and sea assets. The first real crisis of NATO since the Cold War will be how to handle the potential outbreak of war between Turkey and Russia.
North Korea will test a fusion weapon setting off a true crisis in Asia. China can tolerate a crude atomic weapon in North Korea, but she cannot tolerate them having a fusion weapon. Similarly, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan will have to fundamentally rethink their defense posture. The great shift in 2016 will be from containing China to working with China to deal with the NORKS.