Did you see 2015 go by? I blinked and it was Christmas. No matter, the future still lies ahead and I am here to fearlessly predict it.
The chaos continues. It’s so reliable; it’s what we humans do. If you are one of the many patient— but misguided— fans of tranquility, 2016 will require yet more patience.
Want to prepare yourself for the fully exposed luge ride of 2016? Get ready by listening to Billy Joel’s 1989 hit song, “We didn’t start the fire,” then think about updating the song for the last quarter century. (see official YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFTLKWw542g )
The Last Person To Retire Has Already Been Born.
After a three-year study, the Society of Actuaries will make an announcement. In the future, retirement won’t exist. In fact, their calculations suggest that the last person to retire has already been born and that the birth most likely occurred somewhere around Cleveland in 1985.
“This is a major change,” their study will conclude, “Some professions will be hard pressed to function. Leisure will become suspect.” The transition to the all-work, no-play society will be difficult for everyone except members of Congress. There, Democrats and Republicans will happily agree on a new full retirement age for Social Security benefits, 105. “Actually,” a future President will say, “the program is no longer necessary, but it’s a feel-good thing and both parties agree that the tax money is super.”
China Will Invade Iran.
The usual prognosticators will be dead wrong about why. Some consider an expanding China as an inevitable natural resource grab, with a particular focus on oil. But the real reason is far more basic.
What could be more basic than oil?
Consider sex. The invasion of Iran will occur as part of the pursuit of marriageable women. The result of the now revoked one-child policy in China appears to have produced some 33 million unattached young men with little or no possibility of finding a mate. The result? China is capable of fielding the largest, ever so eager, army in world history.
Congress Will Search for, and Find, Better Ways to Lie, Misdirect and Obscure.
Decades of success with tried and true techniques such as naming bills to promote something that will actually diminish it or choosing the best budget accounting method to present a lower deficit will become ineffective. Indeed, even traditional, outright lying will prove inadequate for the challenges Washington faces in future years. Congress will seek better tools. They will be found in an entirely unexpected place.
In coming years the federal government will move to the same accounting methods used by non-profit hospitals, only instead of hiding enormous surpluses and obscuring paltry aid to the poor, Congress will use the same techniques to hide rising deficits while still showing a need for tax increases.
The transition to healthcare accounting will be completed just in time for the first Million Patient March on Washington, a national event that will be a combination of Burning Man and Zombie Day. Washington will be evacuated after it is discovered that every toilet on Capitol Hill has been stuffed with hospital gauze.
The RV-to-Mansion Ratio Will Soar.
The ratio, invented by a think tank to track our national shelter preferences, has always been high, with sales of recreational vehicles far exceeding sales of McMansions. But as we head into the 2020s the ratio will soar as the fashion of tiny houses takes off and young families reject large houses.
Vanity Fair will declare that the move is driven by the shortage of household help, but the reality will be a radical re-thinking of space needs as Kindles, iPads, and cell phones eliminate the need for storage space and related furniture.
Large pieces of furniture will become unsalable, unless large enough to live in.
The RV/tiny house movement will also drive the first new union in decades, Cable Cutters United.
After decades of decline, the American labor movement will find new energy in consumers, beginning with a broad movement to escape the tyranny of cable TV. Cable cutting parties will rove the countryside, going block to block, house to house, condo to condo, leading benighted consumers to entertainment free of advertising and nearly free of cost.