A glimpse back at the first decade of the 21st century is all one needs to confirm that 2011-2020 is bound to be a decade full of energy, innovation and of course, surprises. After ushering in Snooki, Barack Obama, Lebron James, Julian Assange and a whole host of other public figures in its final moments, decade 1 has set up its successor for a wild ride.
Below are a few predictions for environmental concerns, public figures and major issues that will challenge and surprise a new generation.
1. The official school year will be extended in the U.S (and possibly around the world). In an information age that has brought manufacturing to its knees and given rise to services, schools simply needed to produce more well-informed students that can compete in a competitive world economy. Barack Obama has suggested extending the length of the school year by 1 month.
2. The political spectrum will shift further to the right, and cap and trade legislation (along with climate change concerns) will be extinct. With Republicans in control of Congress, and in 2-6 years, the White House, no one should expect any progress in sustainability policy. However, moderate reforms to Pentagon spending and Government subsidies could induce cleaner and healthier projects in the future.
3. Gay marriage will become a reality in the next 5-10 years. With Dont Ask, Don\’t Tell repealed and the social pressure building on the power structure, we can expect marriage equality to be a prime federal issue, regardless of who\’s in power.
4. Health insurance premiums will continue to rise, and Medicare and Medicaid will eventually become public options in the new market exchanges created by Obamacare (mainly due to rising deficits). While this is obviously the average conservative\’s dream (Medicare becoming an option), the two programs will also be available to the public, which is the average liberal\’s dream. Everybody will end up winning, and the competition will force premiums down in the long run.
5. Sarah Palin will not run for President, or anything, in 2012. Palin has weak approval ratings and the majority of the public finds her unsuitable for the job of President. Plus, why would she run when her chances of actually winning are so slim? She can stay relevant to the political discourse and connect with her supporters by simply stirring the pot and toying with the idea of running. Also, the smartest thing that Barack Obama could add to his campaign in 2012 is Hillary Clinton. She\’s popular, energizing and perfect for a spot on the ticket.
6. The tax code will gradually become less progressive, but it will be simplified so that the lower classes don\’t know they\’re getting shafted. Wealth redistribution to the middle class began to die in 1967, \’distribution\’ has been painted as a socialist concept, and middle class incomes have stagnated for the past 40 years while the rich have gotten wealthier. Healthy and fair taxation looks grim in the forseeable future.
7. If he wins a second term, Barack Obama will be viewed as one of the greatest U.S Presidents in history. Charismatic, moderately liberal, pragmatic and positive, he will be seen as swiftly dealing with major issues effectively and rescuing the country from the worst recession since the Great Depression. Is this a fair assumption? You decide.