Here are my predictions.
On the political front, things are not going to be good.
- We can expect an assault on Social Security, the dismantling of which is a long-held dream of the oligarchy. This will be facilitated by Obama, the faithful servant of the oligarchy, who has already signaled that the fix is in by (a) reducing the employee contribution to 4.2%, thus creating a resource problem where there wasn’t one before; (b) saying that he wants to ‘reform’ it so that others don’t do a worse job; and (c) encouraging his ‘Catfood Commission’ to use Social Security as part of their budget deficit plans.
- We can also expect Obama and his Education Secretary Arne Duncan to continue their assault on public education by diverting resources to charter schools and continue the practice of bribing school districts to fire teachers.
- We will see Obama go along with the attack on public sector employees (he has already frozen their salaries) by cutting their numbers and undermining their unions.
- We will continue to see further encroachments on our civil liberties and a further tend towards an imperial presidency, all in the name of fighting terrorism.
- We will see a further attempt to siphon wealth towards the oligarchy by means of ‘tax reform’.
- Providing adequate health care to people and controlling its costs will loom as the biggest problem facing the US because of its refusal to adopt a single-payer system.
- There is going to some political theater in February when the debt ceiling will need to be raised in order to continue funding the government. The oligarchy needs this to happen so the ceiling will be raised but there will be some Kabuki theater before it happens in which Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress will pretend that they are being held hostage by the mean old Republicans in Congress and that they are forced to concede to some of their demands in order to keep the government running. I don’t know what specifically the Democrats will ‘reluctantly concede’ but you can be sure that it will be something that harms the less well-off.
- There will be no end to the military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and only token reductions in forces in those two countries. Furthermore, the wars in Pakistan and Yemen will escalate.
As I have said repeatedly, the oligarchy is most successful in their assault on the poor and middle class when a Democrat is in the White House because then the base of the Democratic Party is lulled into inaction, thinking that the president is looking after their interests when all the evidence points to the opposite. Measures that would have had them howling in protest if a Republican president proposes them are meekly acquiesced to when a Democrat advocates them.
On the bright side, the longer-term prospects are better. All oligarchies contain within themselves the seeds of their own destruction and from the ashes of the wrecked US economy, there might emerge a better society. But the interim is going to be brutal.
There is also every indication that religion will continue its slide into oblivion. I know that this does not seem obvious, but the signs are pretty good, actually.
I will elaborate on these issues in the coming year.