Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017 Predictions

Starting off with a belated New Year's resolution: this will be my last post about politics in 2017.

Trump is off with a bang as he continually picks fights with the press over easily verifiable trivia like how many people attended the inaugural. He does this to (i) establish that the (very unpopular) press is against him, which of course it is, and (ii) drive the "reality-based community" crazy, which worships every pronouncement of the prestige press regardless of its importance or credibility. 

This, I predict, will continue throughout 2017. But what about more substantive topics?

People protesting the inaugural had various loudly but vaguely expressed complaints. Protests usually center around policies like a declaration of war or a piece of legislation. But these seem to be directed at Trump, The Personality. People think they've come to know his personality based on what they read in the prestige press, and they're afraid of what it says about what he might do. He seems like kind of a jerk, but I've never met the man. Going on the totality of his words and actions over the last 30 years, especially the time before he did anything political, the likelihood of him doing something radical seems remote. 

Here are my predictions for 2017:

1. At least 100,000 immigrants will legally enter the United States, including many Mexicans and Muslims.
2. No federal law will be passed that will restrict any kind of sexual behavior.
3. No federal law will stop businesses from having transgender restrooms if they want. (This one might happen because of the Republican Congress, but it will be over Trump's indifference or objections.)
4. Roe v. Wade will not be overturned.
5. Gay marriage will still be legal.
7. There will be no purge of climate scientists from federal agencies
8. There will be no federal school voucher program other than the one that already exists in DC.
9. The federal government will take no action intended to favor the KKK. (This one seems ridiculous, but the popular chant at these protests is "No Trump, no KKK..." So someone is saying he likes the KKK.)

I was going to add one about the number of minorities killed by police not increasing over some baseline year, but it's surprisingly hard to find the numbers on this. 

The most likely place for radical action is in trade policy, but it appears to me that we are already under a radical regime there, so what Trump is promising seems to be more of a radical tack back the the center, if that makes any sense.

I care a lot less about the substance of what the president is doing than most people who follow politics. I don't claim to be able to predict the outcome of various trade policies and technical stuff like that. Moreover, the president has a lot less power than people think. 90% of what the government does is from unelected bureaucrats who can't be fired. So I'll be happy to revisit this in 365 days, even if I turn out to have been wrong. It's all just a sideshow. The modern world was made by Newton, Edison, Ford, the Wrights, Hewlett, Wozniak and people like that. Politicians want so very badly to play a role, and they want you to believe they play a role, but they're just a bunch of gasbag lawyers whose only use is to haul water up the sidelines for the real players.   

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