15 Illuminating Predictions for 2023
"Let there be a special place in Hell for pundits who make predictions." - American Historian Rick Perlstein
The thing about predictions is that you know some smart ass is going to save them and throw them in your face at some point in the future. Students are still reminding me that I predicted Hillary Clinton would squeak by Donald Trump in 2016. I've developed a thick skin.
So, what's in store for 2023?
1. Inflation and the Economy: Inflation will continue to decline as supply chains catch up with demand and energy prices plateau. Product price increases will cool in the first quarter, but the cost of services will rise as employers are forced to increase wages to attract qualified employees. However, unless there is some new shock to the global economy, inflation will fall to about 3 - 4% by the fourth quarter of the year.
However, as expected, the United States will experience a mild recession in 2023 as inflation and high interest rates force Americans to scale back purchases. Consumers continued to spend in the second half of 2022, but, increasingly, they're financing their purchases by running up credit card debt and that's not sustainable. Eventually, consumers will have to cut spending to pay down debt. That will be problematic for an economy that is driven by consumer spending.
Highlight: The stock market will surge as the Federal Reserve signals an end to rate hikes and considers reductions to address the recession.
2. Presidential Race: Donald Trump's decision to run won't scare many Republicans out of the race, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, former Vice-President Mike Pence, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Ted Cruz, former MD Gov. Larry Hogan, and Sen. Tim Scott, to name but a few, will ramp up their campaigns by summer. Despite indictments and growing criticism within the GOP, Trump will remain the favorite in many states.
Dark Horse Candidate: If Trump's campaign falters [after a criminal indictment] expect a dark horse candidate to emerge to capture the wackiest MAGA faithful. Tucker Carlson?
If President Joe Biden decides to run for reelection, he won't face substantial opposition from the Bernie Sanders wing of the Party, but questions remain despite his recent statements. If he declines, there will be a rather lengthy list of challengers to front-runner Vice-President Kamala Harris including Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Governors Gavin Newsom of California, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan are also likely to run.
3. Russia/Putin/Ukraine: Ukraine will continue to make incremental gains on the battlefield as the Russian will to fight declines. However, Ukraine won't have the strength to land a knockout punch so the war will drag on throughout the year. Opposition within Russia will intensify as the economy tumbles into a deep recession and Putin drafts more young men to fight in his vanity project.
Highlight: Putin dies after "accidentally" falling off a Moscow building. Hundreds of thousands of young Russians gather in the streets to celebrate. OK, yeah, this is more a hope than a prediction.
4. Iran: Predicting revolutions is quite difficult, but the current round of protests and strikes is unlikely to bring down the government. The military appears to be fiercely loyal to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The mass protests might, however [and this too is more a hope than a prediction] force the Islamic republic to discard many of the harsh restrictions on women's rights and renegotiate an end to its nuclear weapons program in order to reverse the nation's economic isolation.
Worst Case: As Iran continues to move forward with their nuclear weapons program in 2023, the US and Israel will ramp up their threats to attack Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities. Iran is only 24-30 months away from having enough nuclear material and a deliverable warhead, so expect increased saber rattling later in 2023. Pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal was one of Donald Trump's worst foreign policy mistakes.
5. Trump: Donald Trump will continue to embarrass himself and the nation as he rallies his "deplorables" behind his presidential campaign. However, he will finally be indicted as a result of one of the many investigations into his presidency, handling/theft of classified documents, and participation in the January 6th insurrection. Despite the indictment, he'll hang on to much of his white Christian nationalist base as the Republican primaries approach.
6. House Investigations: After Republicans settle on a Speaker, they will oversee the most senseless collection of investigations in the history of that august body. Americans will be treated to months of hearings on "woke" companies, the FBI investigations of Donald Trump, Dr. Fauci's sinister plots, lawless Immigrants smuggling fentanyl, the corrosive effects of Critical Race Theory [CRT] on the self-esteem of white kids, & Hunter Biden's laptop. Heck, they might even hold one last Benghazi hearing, just for old time's sake.
The problem Republicans have is that they didn't provide voters with a positive vision of what they would do if they recaptured the House of Representatives and the specifics they did offer [reducing aid to Ukraine, national abortion restrictions, cutting Social Security benefits] weren't widely popular. So, they will be stuck with the agenda of their craziest members hoping to pacify their MAGA, QAnon, and evangelical base to keep them energized for 2024.
Highlight prediction: By the end of 2023, the Republican House Speaker will be about as popular as dysentery and many commentators will note that the GOP would have been in a better position if they hadn't captured the House of Representatives in 2022.
7. Woke/Trans Kids/CRT & the Republican Agenda: In the next year, Americans will figure out that the GOP's drumbeat of attacks on immigrants, Critical Race Theory, transsexuals, and "woke" policies is meaningless pablum that doesn't translate into legislation that will positively impact their lives. The candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are going to have to outline some sort of an agenda beyond building a wall at the southern border and more abortion restrictions.
Highlight: Republicans running for president will propose more tax cuts for rich folks and claim they trickle down and pay for themselves. Economists will again explain why that isn't true. Ok, yes, this was an easy prediction.
8. Lab Grown Meat: 2023 will be the year that Americans get their first taste of cultured or cell-based meat. In 2020, Singapore was the first nation to approve a cell-based meat; a cultivated chicken product. In November, the U.S Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approved a similar product manufactured by California’s UPSIDE Foods. And, the FDA is in discussions with dozens of other companies working on a variety of “slaughter-free,” lab-grown meat and seafood products.
9. State Legislative Sessions: The upcoming state legislative sessions will highlight the growing divide between red and blue America. Red states will focus on corporate tax cuts, greater restrictions on abortion rights, book and teaching bans, expanding gun rights, ways to make voting more difficult, and restricting LGBT rights.
Blue states will seek ways to make voting less cumbersome, design new green energy initiatives, expand access to mental health care, and guarantee reproductive rights.
10. Work: Hybrid and remote work arrangements take hold permanently. Workers like it and companies want to downsize their real estate commitments.
11. Musk: Elon Musk won't bankrupt twitter in 2023, but the company will continue to hemorrhage advertisers and users. Sites like Post.news and Mastodon will grow rapidly in 2023.
12. The UK: The United Kingdom will lag other developed economies in 2023 and the pressure to hold a general election will intensify. "Brexit" will replace "shooting yourself in the foot" as the go-to word to describe an exceptionally bad decision. Scotland will push to hold another referendum on leaving the UK.
13. Labor: Despite slower growth later in the year, there won't be massive layoffs because of the labor shortage and Boomer retirements. The worker shortage will empower more workers to unionize and seek greater pay and benefits.
14. Worker Shortage & Immigration: The labor shortage will also motivate some establishment Republicans to rethink the Party's opposition to comprehensive immigration reform. Republicans in the House will nix any immigration compromise proposal in order to use the issue in the 2024 election.
15. Israel: Newly sworn-in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will authorize a record number of illegal West Bank settlements setting off more violence in the occupied territories and further alienating American Jews.
Bonus prediction: Expect to see a series of healthcare breakthroughs in 2023 based on new uses of CRISPR gene editing.
Happy New Year. Have a wonderful 2023!
By: Don Lam & Curated Content