Friday, April 11, 2008

Cassandra Award Winning Brother Jim

On November 5, 2004 my brother Jim sent me a list of predictions for the second Bush administration.

Let's see how he did. (I have not corrected any spelling errors.)
A few predictions for the next four years, for those that are more hopeful send me your predictions, for those that are more pessimistic god help us but send them along:

In 2008 we will still have troops in Iraq, will have spent in excess of 1/2 a trillion dollars, will have killed at least 150,000 Iraqis and most tragicly lost over 4000 american lives.
I will give that an A+
In 2008 we will have even a greater number of Americans living in poverty however the wealthiest 10% of the population will be richer than ever.
In 2008 we will have 2 possible 3 new supreme court justices. There will probable be our countries first hispanic justice but all of them will make William Renquest Nixon's "radical right" appointee look moderate. This type of appointment is already the case in the the appellate courts and will continue.
B We did not get an Hispanic judge. Both new judges continue the Rehnquist tradition - result-oriented, activist, and authoritarian, votes that could almost always be predicted based on who the parties were, not what the legal issues happen to be.
In 2008 the economy will be have shed as many high paying technology and manufacturing jobs as it has in the last four years. The median income adjusted for inflation will have fallen 3-5% if not more.
B I don't have a source right now for high-tech manufacturing job losses but we have not gained manufacturing jobs over four years and the median income has gone down.
In 2008 the housing market will not have recovered from the "real estate adjustment" and home values will be 15-25% below their 2004 level.
B Only in some areas have home values fallen that much.
In 2008 a barrel of oil will be $60-65 a barrel if not more.
This may not occur as a crumbling world economy may lead middle eastern countries to gear up production and oil may fall to $30 a barrel.
C- His first inclination was right.
In 2008 a case or perhaps several will be working through the court system to place stricter limits on a womans right to choose.
In 2008 a majority of states will have passed gay marriage bans.

In 2008 North Korea will have more nuclear weapons.

In 2008 Iran will be closer than ever to completing their first nuclear weapon.
In 2008 we will have witnessed at least one if not several successful terrorist attacks on american soil.
F He misses one.
In 2008 Isreal will have had four years of continued violence and terror in Palestine. Having assinated most of the PLO leadership a more radical leadership will be calling for ever increasing violence.

In 2008 Afghanistan will ship more heroin than it has in 20 years.
In 2008 it will take $2.10 to equal 1 euro. We won't see as many european tourist as you would expect.
B At that time it took $1.25 to equal 1 euro - it now takes $1.58. I am giving that a B only because I think we should wait until November.
In 2008 Texas will lead the world in executions.
D He missed the US temporary moratorium because courts are having doubts about using drugs banned from killing animals on people. Some parts of the world are moving up. In 2007 Texas leading the world may have been true.
In 2008 "no child left behind" will still be an un/underfunded mandate and many children will be going to poorly funded, overcrowded, poorly staffed schools. These same children will be tested and found to rank below the top ten countries in math and science.

In 2008 more american will be without healthcare. For those that have healthcare their copay will be at an alltime high and their will be an even larger list of noncovered drugs and proceedures.
A+ A+
In 2008 we will start phasing in a privitized social security plan. If you make less than $60,000 a year when you retire your benefits will be less than if we had stayed with the current system.
F He missed the first successful progressive blocking of the Bush/Cheney/GOP agenda.
In 2008 the deficit will hit a new record high and the idea of a surplus will be but a dream we tell our children about.
B The record high was earlier in the Bush administration.
In 2008 the minimun wage will be the same as it was in 2004 as it was 2000 as it was in 1996. There will be a call for the elimination of the minimun wage in congress. It will be narrowly defeated.
D The second progressive victory following the congressional takeover in 2006. I am tempted to give it a C because of the narrow margin between those wanting to increase the minimum wage and those who would vote to eliminate it.
In 2008 official unemployment will be 6.8% there will be a record number of people underemployed working parttime jobs.
B- But I should wait until November. The official unemployment rate is 5.1% and rising. The U-6 rate of all those who want full-time work is 9.1% and rising. The shadowstats real unemployment plus discouraged using former measures is now tapping at 13%.
In 2008 There will be no estate tax and if there is a capital gains tax it will be at a historic low.
B We still have an estate tax but the estate tax exemption is set at $2 million for an individual ($4 million for a couple); in 2009, the exemption rises to $3.5 million and $7 million. For 2008 the 15% capital gains tax rate for those in the 25% and higher tax bracket and 0% for those in lower brackets is at a historic low.
In 2008 the number of fortune 500 companies that payed no taxes in 2007 will be at an all time high.
Incomplete - no data yet. A 2004 study found that 82 of the biggest and most profitable Fortune 500 corporations found ways to pay zero or less in corporate income taxes at least once in the previous three years.
In 2008 there will be legislation before congress for national draft.
B- Technically true there have been bills filed but still no chance of passing.
In 2008 illegal immigrants will be allowed to receive guest worker visas. This will drive down wages and push overtaxed social services to catastrophic failures.
D We are approaching massive failures without converting illegals to guest workers.
In 2008 Texas will lead the nation in unplanned pregnancies and have the nations highest infant mortality rate. The state will still have an abstenance based sex education curriculum.
Incomplete, frequency of publication of many federal statistical reports has fallen under the Bush administration. At present, about half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, this is not measured by state. The teen birth rate in Texas is 50% higher than in the country as a whole. When last measured, the Texas infant mortality rate, the best single measure of a state's overall public medical system, was getting worse. The abstinence-only sex education programs, required under Texas state law, have had "little impact" on Texas teenagers' behavior, according to an "ongoing study"* funded by the Texas Department of Health. * - No further reports were issued after this first report in 2005. A federal long-term study found that abstinence-only programs had no impact on sexual abstinence. Lubbock Texas, which had an Evangelical charismatic minister in charge of its sex mis-education program, has banned gay student clubs and is starting an all-female high school this year. It still has very high rates of STDs and teen pregnancy. See The Education of Shelby Knox.
I can go on but I can't stomach it.

I toast the future
mostly with gin.
Overall I give him an A-

Jim will never be a media pundit where going along with all your peers in getting it wrong counts as success. For four years ago that was pretty amazing.

Music I was listening to:
Ani Difranco - 32 Flavors - Not A Pretty Girl
The Whispers - Lady - The Greatest Slow Jams

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