My Predictions for 2019
My Predictions for 2019
I have already recapped my predictions for 2018, noting my hits and misses. Now it’s time for my predictions for 2019. Not all are seriously meant but some are more seriously meant than they may appear. I will leave it to the reader to figure out which are which. To the predictions:
1. Embarrassed by the disdainful reaction to the outcome of its HQ2 process, which wound up choosing the pricey suburbs of Washington and New York City for its new offices, Amazon will announce an HQ3 plan, promising to select only distressed areas. Desperate governors and mayors across the country will immediately begin talking down their cities as miserable places where nobody wants to live.
2. In early January, President Donald Trump will cave, achieving neither his border wall nor a more pliable Fed. Markets will react with cautious pessimism.
3. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere will continue its rise. In November 2018, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa observatory found the highest levels ever recorded. It’s true, as skeptics insist, that some of the increase is from natural causes; but unless one believes that the number of volcanic eruptions has been climbing rapidly, most of the increase is from us. Meanwhile, in an effort to demonstrate their commitment to helping out, multiple companies will follow the lead of Valser (owned by Coca-Cola), and use environmentally friendly carbon-capture technology to put those little bubbles in their beverages.
4. While we’re on the topic of climate change, the melting Arctic ice cap will continue to pour thousands of gallons of water per second into the oceans. Skeptics will seize on the news as evidence that fears of coming water wars are overblown, as there will be plenty for all.
5. At the end of 2019, significant numbers of US armed forces will remain in both Afghanistan and Syria.
6. The New England Patriots will win Super Bowl LIII. I understand that this may not be this season’s highest-probability outcome, but I adhere to my practice of always picking the Patriots. As I have explained in the past, this annual prediction involves no rooting interest; I tend to cheer the underdog. It’s just that this is the way things seem to work out.
7. Speaking of professional football, fraud in the settlement fund established to pay former players who have suffered neurocognitive damage will turn into a much bigger story than anybody expected. Earlier this month, the court overseeing distribution of the fund appointed retired federal judge Lawrence F. Stengel to look into the National Football League’s persistent allegations that certain law firms and doctors are filing false claims.
Although the great majority of claims are surely genuine, Stengel is bound to discover quite a few that aren’t. With the amount available likely soon to top $1.4 billion, there’s temptation aplenty. When Stengel’s findings hit the headlines, the NFL, which long denied any responsibility for long-term cognitive harm to its players, will receive an entirely undeserved public relations boost.
8. Although House Democrats will investigate the Trump administration vigorously, no resolution of impeachment will reach the floor for a vote. Trump, his bizarre presidency in tatters, will tweet that his survival is a vindication.
9. After special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report finds “no clear evidence” that Trump has committed a crime, NeverTrumpers will create a GoFundMe, asking 10 million of those who feel as they do to pledge $100 apiece, in the hope of raising enough money to pay Trump to resign his office. After initial resistance within the Resistance, logic will triumph: If Trump constitutes such a menace to the republic, surely $1 billion is a cheap price to be rid of him.
10. As tech companies tout the virtues of virtual reality in the classroom, home-schoolers will take the idea one step further, creating virtual classrooms to link their children with others, but without the need to leave home. Educational authorities will claim the right to regulate, arguing that this new development means home-schoolers are operating an actual school. After litigation that stretches past 2019, libertarian forces will win a rare victory. Hundreds of thousands of parents of school-age children will join the network, imitators will enter the market, a tipping point will be reached, and the classroom as we know it will go into a rapid decline.
11. The highest-grossing film of the year will be “Avengers: Endgame,” if we count actual revenues during calendar 2019. If instead we count all ticket sales during the movie’s run, “Star Wars: Episode IX” will come in first. Meanwhile, not until midsummer will Marvel finally announce a release date for the “Black Panther” sequel.
12. Notwithstanding the openly expressed skepticism of the federal judge overseeing the case, the $69 billion merger of CVS and Aetna will proceed. In its brief, the Justice Department argues sensibly that the Tunney Act, which allows judges to review proposed antitrust settlements, does not grant judges authority to compel the department to investigate aspects of a merger that were never raised in its lawsuit. As the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit noted in 1995, the statute isn’t “an authorization for a district judge to assume the role of Attorney General.” There’s a big difference between concluding that the settlement insufficiently protects the public and concluding that the Justice Department brought the wrong case.
13. The Washington Nationals will overcome the loss of superstar Bryce Harper in free agency and win the World Series over the Houston Astros.
14. Wealthy progressives who continue to sneer at the Republican tax cut as a giveaway to the rich will not offer to return to the US Treasury their gains from the rate reductions.
Those are my predictions for 2019. For you, my loyal readers, I wish a year full of wonder, delight, tolerance, patience, and reason. See you in January.