Some Predictions I Made in 2007

Blogging has been light during the holidays, but here are some predictions I made back in 2007 I feel pretty good about (note these were made a year before Obama was elected)

What I will say is that folks who have enthusiastically supported the war should understand that the war is going to have the following consequences:

  1. In 2009 we will have a Democratic Congress and President for the first time since 1994.
  2. The next President will use the deficits from the $1.3 trillion in Iraq war spending to justify a lot of new taxes
  3. These new taxes, once the war spending is over, will not be used for deficit reduction but for new programs that, once established, will be nearly impossible to eliminate
  4. No matter what the next president promises to the electorate, they are not going to reverse precedents for presidential power and secrecy that GWB has established.  Politicians never give up power voluntarily.  [if the next president is Hillary, she is likely to push the envelope even further].  Republicans are not going to like these things as much when someone of the other party is using them.

1.  The prediction was 100% correct, and in fact even went further as the donkeys gained a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, at least for a year.  Though the war likely had little to do with the outcome, which was driven more by the economy

2.  Dead-on.  Five years later Obama still blames the deficit on Bush.  This is no longer true -- Obama has contributed far, far more than Bush to the deficit -- but the Republicans' fiscal irresponsibility during their tenure have robbed them of any credibility in criticizing Obama

3.  Mostly true (and usually a safe bet with government).   Tax increases were deferred for four years due to an economy I had not foreseen would be so bad, but they are coming.  At the time, it seemed logical to blame a lot of the deficit issues on war spending.  Today, though, 1.3 trillion is barely 8% of the debt and is almost trivial to more recent money wasting activities.

4.  Absolutely true.  In spades.  The only thing I missed was I thought Obama might be less likely to go overboard with the whole executive authority and secrecy thing than Hillary, but boy was I wrong.  Obama has absolutely embraced the imperial presidency in a way that might have made Dick Cheney blush.  Accelerated drone war, constant ducking of FOIA and transparency, increased use of treason laws to prosecute whistle blowers, claiming of power to assassinate Americans on the President's say-so, accelerated warrant-less wiretapping, using executive orders to end-run Congress, etc. etc.  And I never guessed how much the media which so frequently criticized  Bush for any expansions in these areas would roll over and accept such activity from a President of their party.


  1. mesocyclone:

    I think it's a push to blame the Bush deficits on the war. Defense spending as a % of GDP under Bush was under 5%, which is half of its cold war standard. It was up from only 4% before the war. The deficits had other causes - the war was just one contributor.

  2. tjic:

    I am now reading Dan Simmon's science fiction detective novel Flashback. It extrapolates current trends in a really really scary way. Even though I'm a pessimist, I don't think things will be quite THAT bad.

    ...and yet, every page I read, I think "I should sell my house and buy a farm way out in the country".

  3. john mcginnis:

    "...and yet, every page I read, I think "I should sell my house and buy a farm way out in the country"."

    Done it already myself. If you do some internet searching you will find that many on wall street are advocating the purchase of farm land (regardless of whether you live on it or not) as they see food stocks as the next hedge.

  4. john mcginnis:

    The $1.3T is what's on the books. If you throw in the unlisted liabilities the number is much much higher.

  5. nehemiah:

    Bush's brand of "compassionate conservatism" was expensive and put the spending base line at and historically high level. Really opened the door for progressives to drive the spending to ever new heights. Funding the wars didn't help, but it was the domestic spending that are hurting us now. Wars have a way of ending, whereas social entitlement programs grow deep roots with lots of dependencies.

  6. NormD:

    Love or hate it, the only choice was Bush's "compassionate conservatism" or Gore's same plus cap & trade or a carbon tax. There was no Libertarian in the race.

  7. NormD:

    I don't think country's consider cost when going to war. Not sure they should.

  8. Noumenon:

    Two prediction fails here: there were no new taxes, and Republicans did not object to the increased presidential powers just because a Democrat was using them.

  9. Che is dead:

    There are also unlisted benefits, when you count those the number is, in fact, much lower.

  10. bigmaq1980:

    Ok, so what do the next five years hold?

    With $1.3+T annual deficits, $16T debt, and similar credit troubles in Euroland, Japan and China, will the U.S. hold its own, highly inflate (with successive QE), or deflate (perhaps with a triggering even from one of the other geographies)?

    I think there will be major new "environmental" initiative, perhaps as big as Obamacare. I also think there will be a major move on retirement plans. Definitely more taxes and "fees".