National

My Predictions for 2017 Are Looking Pretty Good

Politicians acted more or less as expected. Texas sports teams not so much.

As the year is about to burn out ...

Photographer: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

It’s late December, when columnists offer their predictions for the coming year. But as I did 12 months ago, I’d like first to see how my predictions for 2017 fared. After all, if I’m going to prognosticate, I should face up to my goofs. So, without further ado, here’s my scorecard:

1. I predicted that President Donald Trump would impose additional sanctions on Russia, because the causes of the “new Cold War” are not personal but geopolitical. True, although he had to be pushed and prodded by Congress.

2. I predicted that with Trump in office, the left would rediscover the virtues of limiting the authority of the chief executive, and would also come to celebrate corporate power as a check on government. True.

3. I predicted that the Arctic sea ice would continue to melt. True. However, the September ice extent, usually the smallest of the year, was slightly larger in 2017 than in 2016. (September still saw one of the lowest ice extent measures in four decades. Nevertheless, skeptics out there should feel free to pounce away in the comments.)

4. I predicted that the New England Patriots would complete what I called “the Tom Brady revenge tour” by winning Super Bowl 51. True. I predicted that the opponent would be the Dallas Cowboys. False.

5. I predicted that the Republican-controlled Congress would not enact the needed expansion of the H1-B visa program for highly skilled workers. True. I predicted that the rate of deportations of those illegally in the country would “barely budge from recent levels.” True.

6. I predicted that bitcoin prices would surge early in 2017 and then fall back, although not to 2015 levels. I have to rate this mostly false. Bitcoin did surge, and it did fall back, but the fall left most of the surge firmly in place.

7. I predicted a collapse of the cease-fire in Syria that had at that time just been negotiated. True. (An easy prediction, I admit.)

8. I predicted that Republican leaders in Congress would manage only to fiddle around with the edges of the Affordable Care Act, but would proudly announce a repeal. Mostly false. Republican leaders have indeed claimed to have repealed the act, even as they left most of it in place. But in repealing the individual mandate, they have created a situation in which cost alone might kill the statute.

9. I predicted that “the trickle of well-educated young adults into Detroit” would “become a flood.” Unclear. We don’t yet know the city’s new demographics. (But if Amazon.com Inc. chooses to site its headquarters there, as everyone who cares about redistribution should be hoping, then we’ll see the flood.)

10. I predicted that “The Last Jedi” (known at the time as “Star Wars: Episode VIII”) would be the highest grossing film of 2017, if the 2018 box office figures were included. Too early to tell, but the answer will almost certainly be yes. 1

11. I predicted that more courts would rule that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as structured, is unconstitutional. Not yet.

12. I predicted that Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee would be Allison Eid. False.

13. I predicted that the San Antonio Spurs would win the National Basketball Association championship. Not even close to true.

Those were my predictions. I also mentioned in the column three resolutions for the coming year. You’ll have to take my word for how well I did.

First, I promised to keep an open mind about Trump as president, and to focus not on his words but on his policies. I would say that I’ve done reasonably well, but not as well as I might have hoped.

Second, I resolved to continue to make mistakes in 2017, and to do my best to learn from each one. I assure you that I’ve kept the front half of that resolution. I hope I’ve kept the second half too.

Third, in honor of the novelist Richard Adams, who had just died when I wrote last year’s column, I promised to spend as much time as I could searching for waterfalls. Adams wrote in “Watership Down” that a waterfall is “a beautiful ornament.” I have never stopped believing that in the midst of anxiety and strife and struggle there is beauty all around us. All we have to do is look.

I hope you believe that too.

Tomorrow: My predictions for 2018.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
  1. Although “The Last Jedi” will likely finish well behind “The Force Awakens,” I agree with those who argue that it’s ludicrous to suggest that its numbers are somehow a disappointment.

To contact the author of this story:
Stephen L. Carter at scarter01@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Stacey Shick at sshick@bloomberg.net

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