Here’s my shot at predicting what 2017 will bring –
1. Privatization – Federal government programs from healthcare to social security will be under constant threat of privatization. It’s already been floated for the VA healthcare system. It’s not a fun year to be a federal government employee – our institutions will be scrutinized like never before. It will be a disorganized privatization, much like what happened when Communism fell in Russia. A premium will be put on relationships to government leaders – not capabilities in delivering goods and services. An American oligarch class starts to form.
2. Engaged Youth Culture – Young people (< 25) start engaging around hard news on the usual platforms – FB, Instagram, and Snapchat. Conversations turn to more serious topics as social issues take center stage. Likely topics include gender rights, civil liberties, and the environment. A social movement not seen since the 60’s starts to emerge. There will be culture leaders in comedy, film, and music. Teen Vogue has already started publishing articles critical of the President-elect.
3. The Class Divide Widens – The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Poverty increases. Trickle-down economics based on tax cuts results not in a reinvigorated middle class, but a wealthier “management class”. Luxury markets like art and high end real estate flourishes. This leads to…
4. Social Angst – By the end of the year an angry, underserved segment of the population will start to speak up. They will say that Trump promised them a return to greatness but has delivered nothing but the same. There will be opportunities for the Democrats to ride this wave back to relevance.
5. A War on Media – Newspapers take on a more important role than ever. The Washington Post will lead the charge. Expect a high profile court case around an explosive report by the Post, akin to Watergate. Trump may target Amazon since Jeff Bezos owns the Post. Amazon stock may suffer. The Supreme Court gets involved.
Happy New Year! 2017 could be a doozy.