For this installment, I will be examining the state of the world in 2011 and what we can expect to happen in the subsequent years to follow. Given the nature of predicting the future, this article will have fewer citations simply because these are estimated guesses; nothing is set in stone until it happens. In addition to that, there will not be any wild accusations such as the complete collapse of the American economy in less than ten months, or green technology obtaining over 30% of the energy market. So sit back and enjoy reading my analysis of what the future holds for 2011.
One of the main questions my readers have is what will the state of the American economy be next year? Most economists agree that there will be growth of around 3.5% which is decent coming out of this recession, however it will only chip at the nations 9.8% unemployment. At best it’ll come down to 9%, however, history tells us that the unemployment number is the most stubborn and sluggish aspect for seeing a recovery, compared to a standard company’s recovery in terms of revenue. The recent tax cut compromise will also come into play here, which may potentially aid in the recovery with low taxes, though at the cost of a massive increase to the federal deficit. What will be certain is that both political parties will take responsibility for the increased growth, considering the 2012 presidential elections will be right around the corner at this time.
For Congress next year, President Obama will most likely be playing defense, as he will attempt to halt the new coming freshmen Republicans from dismantling his legislative victories over the past year, most notably the health care bill. However, this will cause friction in Congress considering the Democrats will still maintain a majority in the Senate, though reduced, and of course Mr. Obama has the veto power which he’ll use to prevent any major changes. Most likely the Republicans will be able to change minor things via amendments, but hardly anything significant as the more popular provisions in the bill begin to take affect. However, the recently passed legislation during the lame duck session of Congress may predict that Mr. Obama may be able to broker more bipartisan deals in the future, pulling moderates away from the right side of the aisle.
Speaking of which, by the summer of 2011 well have a good picture of which GOP contender will be running for presidential elections for 2012. At the top of everyone’s list is of course the former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney who was a frontrunner in 2008 but eventually backed out due to financial reasons. Mr. Romney has the experience and the money to once again be in the limelight for this election however in the age of the Tea Party he may be seen as too moderate. Most likely he’ll face tough questions on his own health care reform bill in Massachusetts which gave pseudo-universal health care to its citizens via private insurance. Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is also a favorite among political analysts, having previously run in 2008 but failed to secure the nomination from John McCain due to his insurmountable delegate lead after Mr. Romney backed out. His main strength is his charisma and passion: he’s a truly likeable guy which can aid him in persuading moderates to back the former governor.
Continuing on, I believe that Tim Pawlenty, the outgoing governor of Minnesota, will not throw his hat into the ring, due to his low popularity in his own home state, and his name is quite unheard of throughout much of the United States. On the contrary the always controversial Sarah Palin will be the one that everyone will have their eye on. Her decision to either enter the presidential election or remain on the sidelines (and most likely endorse and finance a candidate) will effect every single other GOP contender’s strategy. It would most likely be wise for Mrs. Palin to sit this one out, due to consistent polls finding her polling below President Obama for the nomination, losing most of the moderate support that the Republicans have recently obtained. Finally, for the wild card I believe the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will finally run for the presidency, considering he’s been contemplating a run for the past decade, waiting for the right time. However I believe he will do poorly due to his past history with his family issues, especially with his previous marriages, and of course his hyper-partisanship. Mr. Gingrich has repeatedly called Mr. Obama a socialist, Marxist, Muslim, and Hitler, of which during a presidential election will seem as vulgar and turn away many moderates due to his muckraking style of politics.
The world economy will be a dichotomy with onlookers seeing Western Europe and America continue to tangle with deficits and unemployment, while in the East there will be growth. However, India may supersede China for the first time in nearly a decade. This is mainly due to China’s growing internal inflation problem and the rise of consumer prices by nearly 5% in one year, which is greatly affecting their currency. In Europe, all eyes will be on Britain’s austerity gamble to see if the bond markets stabilize and control the deficit they have accumulated in the past several decades. As you may know, Britain and Germany’s approach to the recent recession has been retrenchment, a policy seen in the 1930???s during the Great Depression. Budgets have been slashed to the bone and services cut for numerous social programs sparking outrage to trade unions and other government groups. In 2011 we may see Germany finally call it quits on the bailout packages the Euro Zone has given to nations in trouble such as Greece and most recently Ireland. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has become weary of being Europe’s bank if there’s a crisis and may finally call it quits due to domestic pressure.
In other worldly matters, July 2011 will see President Obama’s plan to reduce combat troops in Afghanistan begin to take effect, though most likely that will be delayed by the request of General Petraeus, the commander of all U.S. Forces in the region. As of now, Mr. Obama reports that the war is on track, especially in the south which was the target of the 30,000 reinforcement surge earlier in the year. However, the biggest test will be whether the newly trained Afghan military can pick up the slack after American and NATO forces leave. With the widespread corruption in President Hamid Karzai’s administration told by Wikileaks documents I doubt any progress will be sustained without some American military presence for the years to come, hence the predicted delay withdrawal.
2011 will also mark the dominance of new media technology such as the iPad, E-Books, and Apps belonging to a variety of companies. Smart-phones and other related devices will become the mainstream and 3G wireless and wifi will become a standard in most local hotspots. Contributing to this boom in electronic sales will be the reduction of these devices, already the Amazon Kindle is $139 and will probably be an even $100 by the middle of next year. Publishers will find it easier to work with digital distribution instead of hard copies due to price and revenue controls. Amazon, for example will begin to regularly sell more digital books than hard copies, which will be a worldwide trend for other companies and devices.
All of this is just a glimpse of what 2011 may bring to the United States and the international community, which will be a mixed bag for everyone. Bottom line though is that the economy will improve, though the question is how much? And will it be able to put a dent in the high unemployment numbers? As this year comes to a close we should reflect what occurred this year; the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the infamous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, riots in Greece after the partial collapse of the economy, Wikileaks, the Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup, and plague of partisan politics just to name a few. The Boston Globe’s.The Big Picture section has an excellent section of photos which you can view here as well, capturing the moment of 2010’s most dramatic events. I’d also like to thank Jacob Cohen Donnelly for the privilege of writing for We the People Politics and my amazing editor Jessica McAdams for her assistance in revising all of my articles. I wish all of my readers the best for 2011 and hope you’ll come back for more insight into today’s issues and events.