My top ten predictions for the New Year

My top ten predictions for 2014

1.  The success of Republican obstructionism in prolonging the Great Recession will produce a voter backlash, but one aimed at the Democrats and Obama.

2.  Lack of serious attention to global warming as the world’s central policy crisis will persist.  Carbon emissions will continue their steady, dangerous rise.

3.  Faced with mounting college debts and paltry job prospects after graduation, students will begin to question the value of higher education with fierce intensity. 

4.  Leaks of information about unlimited government powers to monitor people’s phone calls, emails and Internet browsing will continue apace.  Court cases on the issue will proliferate, generating a Supreme Court decision, probably in 2015.

5.   The precipitous decline of American journalism will be recognized as a national embarrassment as serious reporting on factual matters is replaced by incessant chatter of poorly informed opinions.

6.  The growing gap of inequality in wealth and income will widen further, while those with the power to do anything about it relish the fabulous benefits it brings them.  Blaming the poor and unemployed for their own misery will skyrocket as a popular political meme.  

7.   Celebrations of a new fossil fuel boom from widespread fracking will fade as its underling economics and environmental consequences become more widely known.

8.   The future of American football as the national game will fall under a shadow as the facts about long term brain damage to players gain public recognition.  Parents will pull their children out of Pop Warner and high school football programs.

9.   The spread of online shopping and long distance shipping will rapidly erode the vitality of local businesses, causing concerns about a new, hyper version of the Wal-Mart effect, devastating jobs, communities and families across the country. 

10.  The vitality of popular music in its many national and international genres will continue to shine and surprise, even as the quest to make a living in the music business becomes increasingly difficult.

Bonus forecast:   The gnawing question -- What are conservatives conserving? -- will remain embarrassingly unanswered.