A favorite end-of-the-year activity, especially from conservatives, is predicting doom and gloom for the coming year. Here are three failed predictions for 2014, recorded by Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman:
Ebola: The “outbreak” of the dread disease affected fewer than a half-dozen people in the United States, and only one died. There may have been fewer problems if Texas had been more concerned about health issues instead of sending away a person who evidenced Ebola.
Economy: Conservatives predicted disaster because of what they call socialism. They have been predicting that President Obama is killing the market economy, but the stock market keeps going up as the gas prices go down. Plus the economy grew five percent in the last quarter. Forget the argument from conservatives that the stock market is benefitting only the wealthy—although most of it recognize this as the truth. It’s the conservatives who believe in “trickle-down” economy. If the rising stock market benefits the rich, then everyone should be wealthy. This is another of their predictions that doesn’t work.
Insurance: Conservatives keep saying that more people will lose insurance than those who gain it because of the Affordable Care Act. The number of people in the nation without insurance fell by about 10 million. The same conservatives claimed that this reform would break the budget. Premiums are far less than predicted by a nonpartisan group, overall health spending has the lowest increase in decades, and cost-control measures are doing well. A year ago, the media was obsessed with technological problems in the website; now there is no reference to the people who have insurance.
More failed predictions:
Marriage equality: The number of states with legalized same-sex marriage has more than doubled to 36, and the divorce rate for heterosexual people hasn’t skyrocketed.
Marijuana: Despite legalization in two state and decriminalization in several others, the drug cartels haven’t taken over. Instead, they’re losing billions in profits and power.
Russia: Conservatives kept saying that the weakness of President Obama made him a failure as a leader and Vladimir Putin’s strength made him highly successful. Instead, Russia has a massive recession and is forced to strong-arm corporations to use their almost useless rubles instead of the strengthening dollar.
Pat Robertson, wealthy televangelist, annually broadcasts his predictions for the upcoming year on his 700 Club. Last year, he started his video by saying, “Check it out when the year’s over. Was I right or wrong.” You decide; the year has only a few days left. Here is what God told him a year ago about the year 2014:
The world is going to be chaos: Chaos would be more aptly described as 2008 when the U.S. economy went into free fall and created a global financial crisis.
“This year we’re not going to have a unified world”: That’s an easy one to agree with because there is never a unified world.
“There’s going to be some kind of credit crisis, and I think China is going to lead the way.” No credit crisis to the United States—at least more than usual. Russia may have one, but it hasn’t created a problem for the United States government.
“The Iranians will have a nuclear device before the end of the year”: Didn’t happen.
“Republicans will win control of the Congress, but they will not have a veto proof majority”: He got that right, but every other media outlet had the same message from God.
The president is going to be discredited and withdraw to Hawaii: The president’s rating keeps going up—from 42.6 percent at the beginning of the year to 47 percent now—and he’s on a roll to make executive orders while Congress dithers. The only withdrawing he’s done is his usual winter holiday vacation in Hawaii which conservatives—as usual—decry.
“It’ll be the greatest year in the history of the church”: Robertson predicted miracles and healings that “will be unbelievable, all around the world”: Haven’t heard of any.
“Islam is going to be in retreat”: At this time, ISIL is forging ahead, and Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Protestant and Catholic church membership shrank to new lows in 2014.
Robertson has had many failed prophecies in the past: start of World War III (1981); Jay Rockefeller elected as president in 1996 (1991); hurricanes ravaging the U.S. coasts (2006); successful conclusion to the Iraq war and troops leaving the country (2007); massive terrorist attacks on the nation that decimate cities and kills millions (2007); and major economic crash (2012).
In the election of 2014, more people voted for Republicans at the same time that they supported positions that these same Republicans oppose. The coming year will show an interesting clash between voters’ wishes and their representatives:
Marriage Equality: Twenty states legalized marriage equality compared with only eight in 2013. As of Monday, 36 states, hopefully including Florida, will provide marriage for same-sex couples. Support for same-sex marriage is over 55 percent, a 15-point increase in only five years. Around the world, twenty countries also have legalized marriage equality.
Minimum Wage: Twenty-one states will boost the incomes of 4.4 million minimum-wage earners at the beginning of January 2015. For the first time, 29 states plus the District of Columbia, will have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum of $7.25, with Washington topping them out at $9.47. Four of these states approved the increase through ballot measures.
Marijuana Legalization: Three states passed medical marijuana laws this year, and two states legalized marijuana for adults to be regulated like alcohol. Only Florida lost its statewide marijuana measure, this one for medical marijuana, thanks to opposition from the millions of dollars from billionaire Shel Adelson. Even so, over half the voters supported medical marijuana: the measure received 58 percent of the vote but needed 60 percent to pass.
Climate Change: People from more than 1,000 organizations walked in the People’s Climate March in New York, including trade unions, schools, and faith-based, social justice, student, and public health groups, among others.
Cuba: Normalizing relations with Cuba could lead to a dramatic shift in Florida politics as the younger Cuban vote is turning Democratic.
Racial Justice: The public awareness of blacks being killed by an increased militarized police force can lead to reform in this area.
Areas to Watch: Money in politics, violence against women, student loan debt, inequality, the environment, women’s issues, and labor issues.
Change for the better—that may happen in 2015.