Ah, the year clicks over from 2016 to 2017, and suddenly everybody weighs in with their predictions for the new year. I guess I should do some similar weighing in.
So, Swami Anderson places his clenched fist upon his turban, and predicts …
President Elect Trump has selected some truly awful, unqualified, and potentially corrupt cabinet members. From Jeff “The KKK is ok except for their drug usage” Sessions for Attorney General, to Betsy “wouldn’t know a public school from a dumpster fire” DeVos, to Ben “I once lived in public housing, so I know best” Carson for HUD, it is a truly awful set of advisors. Of course they will all sail through confirmation.
Senate Republicans, tired of being on the receiving end of the Senate Filibuster, will exercise the nuclear option, and end the filibuster. And not one of them will be punished in 2018 (especially as the Democrats will have more seats to defend in 2018 than 2016).
The Republicans in both houses will rush to repeal and destroy the ACA (A.K.A “Obamacare”), but will delay the changes for at least two years. The masses who have hated it will cheer, then they will be horrified to mean that they can’t buy a policy in the 2017 open period, as all the insurers will decline to participate, and begin to gird themselves for the full repeal. Again, the general population will rejoice, bitch and moan, and not penalize the Republicans for this.
Trump will waste no time turning on the taps to his personal accounts from being the President. All the ethics rules that he will break (in spirit if not in law) will be brushed aside, and contrary to many members of the progressive left’s beliefs, the Republican majorities in the house and Senate will not take any action. The United States, instead of being a beacon of honest, open government (cough cough) will be much closer to the banana republics, or the corruption endemic in the ‘stans.
The trend of the gig economy will grow. However, unless some sanity happens, this will be an accelerating race to the bottom. My toe in the water of the gig economy showed that it is very difficult to get a reasonable value for the work and effort. Yet, even The Economist sings the praises of this. What it is doing is driving down the standard of living in the first world, increasing the standard of living in the developing world (yay), and putting a lot of creatives and white collar workers out of business.
Some of the “Network Companies” will find their wings clipped. Their freedom to run roughshod over established players (think Uber and the Taxis) will come to some limits, and the reclassification of their “contractors” (cough cough) as employees will be a welcome change. They will fight it, but much of their valuation is based on the ability to exploit their contractors, and undervalue their work. Already, they are struggling to grow their driver pools, and have met regulatory resistance in many cities.
The increasing automation will threaten once presumed safe white collar jobs, as artificial intelligence and machine learning, coupled with big data analytics make inroads into marketing, communications, and other cognitive roles. Will the future hold a minimum guaranteed income, as the need for labor declines, or will we let billions fall into abject poverty and die miserable deaths? Only the magic 8-ball knows.
Digital transformation, or software eats the world, will continue. All sizable enterprises are ripe for disruption, and drastic changes. The cloud computing revolution, commoditization and flexibility are the future. The initial wave of outsourcing whole groups (like HR, shipping, desktop support) are ripe for disruption with services, and SaaS solutions.
Innovation becomes mainstream. Not the innovation like Steve Jobs with the iPhone, but a more formal process, targeted at enterprises, to formalize ideation, program management, risk assessment, and elimination of silo’d barriers that a classic enterprise organization has that limits velocity of disruptive development. This must be accompanied by a willingness of the executives to look beyond 2 quarter horizons, and Wall Street to not penalize riskier development over short term profitability. (Geoff says: good luck with that).
If Trump has his way, and lowers the rate of taxation for repatriated profits, an enormous amount of cash will come back in. Done right, the regulations can drive growth and investment in the US. But I suspect that it will be handled as poorly as in the GWB administration, and the bulk of the money will be used for stock buybacks and dividend payments to shareholders. Shame, but it will be predictable.
It is time to get back into shape (pear is a shape, right?) 2016 gave me a lot of time to hike and do that low impact exercise. Now that I am working full time, that is curtailed somewhat, but I will look at gym membership (ugh, how I hate gyms), and more cycling. I also need to lose weight, so the diet tracker has been turned on. Unlike my last major effort in the 2003/2004 timeframe, I will take it slow, and modify my diet to be sustainable, and not too drastic.
Play more guitar. Seriously, I have to get more regular with practicing. I need to get back to 4-5 hours a week of practicing, to both regain some skills that I used to have, and to learn some new things.
Spoil my greyhound, Garrett. He is getting up there in years, and we know he won’t be around forever. It is our duty to make his time remaining comfortable.
Thus ends Swami Anderson’s predictions for 2017. Swami Anderson knows all, tells all.