I do not fare well with resolutions. I prefer to make predictions and check my accuracy at the end of the year. As I lack clairvoyance, my predictions tend to be relatively vanilla, and pattern driven. Here are my predictions for 2018:
1. Montana will not receive another “Real ID” extension from the federal government. So if you plan to fly, better get your passport before Jan. 22, 2018. Despite the fact that our Montana drivers’ licenses have not caused a national crisis, apparently the federal government believes that with diversity comes risk.
2. Interest rates will continue to climb. The Federal Reserve doesn’t have much choice but to raise interest rates, in light of a growing economy and record low unemployment.
3. Bitcoin’s fallacy will reveal itself. Admittedly, I have very little understanding of what Bitcoin really is, and this limited understanding makes me highly skeptical that Bitcoin will transform our monetary system. The stock market seems to place more faith in Bitcoin than I think the average American will, and thus its current valuation can’t stand.
4. The skills gap will remain as Americans continue to overvalue bachelor degrees. Employers continue to place barriers to obtaining professional positions by requiring a bachelor’s degree as a baseline for consideration. Such a barrier creates a continuing flow of students to four-year colleges, students who become buried in student loan debt due to the climbing costs of higher education. It is a cycle that must stop but won’t until employers remove archaic barriers to entry and focus on skills rather than degrees.
5. Grace and kindness will continue to evade social media. I am astonished by the lack of basic human decency that pervades social media. Until peer pressure requires respectful dialogue, I fear the sting of bullying, blame, and judgment will persist.
6. Health insurance premiums will continue to climb. Until the cost of health care is actually addressed, our premiums will increase, and coverage will decrease.
7. A bipartisan infrastructure package will be passed by Congress. No, I’m not drunk. I do believe that Congress will begin to look to address issues both parties agree upon, and America’s crumbling infrastructure is a bipartisan issue that requires action.
8. NFL players will stand for the national anthem. The need to fill seats will supersede misplaced political protest.
9. The Mueller investigation will reveal nothing of substance with respect to the president and accomplish nothing. The results will be limited to a huge attorneys’ fee bill and ancillary indictments having nothing to do with collusion with Russia.
10. Montana will still be the best place to live without any close competition.
While not all of my predictions are optimistic, I do believe 2018 will be a great year and better than 2017. I hope you enjoy a prosperous and joy-filled 2018.