Predictions For 2006
OPEC will hold a meeting in early January, and will cut oil production. With China and the U.S. competing for tight world oil supplies, the price of oil products including gasoline will increase. This could send gasoline to over $3.00 a gallon and hurt the U.S. economy, possiby creating a new recession as retail trade will suffer from a public hard pressed to afford gasoline and heating oil.
If Democratic Party Chairman, Howard Dean is unable to take full advantage of the building awful problems for Bush and the Republicans, adequately fund raise, direct winning issues for the party, present an image that inspires faith in the Democrats, and able to post substantial November 2006 gains in the House and Senate for the Democrats, then he will be quickly replaced. Some alternative leaders are already in waiting, more conventional and along the lines of the moderate Democratic Leadership Council. There are already organized fundraising committees for alternative candidates.
Those that overestimate Mr. Bush make a big mistake. Those that underestimate Bush make a bigger mistake. Mr. Bush has proven the ability to battle back with flimsy speeches to defend nearly indefensible problems, and it created a bounce back in the polls. Democrats may take this for granted too much, expecting the problems of Bush are so great, while being heavily disorganized themselves, and could likely fall far short of expected election gains in 2006.
An angry and divisive battle over the Alito nomination will occur. But Alito will be confirmed, with the Supreme Court drifting farther to the right and overturn Roe v. Wade, and creating a state by state battle over abortion.
The Republican Party will solidify support among the political right with an appeal to "antimmigrant" voters of the right. Attorney General Gonzales will shore up support among the far right for the Republicans by some high profile obscenity prosecutions of some adult entertainment Websites and businesses. These actions will alarm civil liberties conscious voters, but will help to appease the appetite of the far right to clamp down on civil liberties and to attack immigrants.
The influence of labor unions will continue to shrink, and wages continue to fall, as prices steadily increase. More unions will be pressured into pension or wage "givebacks", and more and more jobs will flow to labor cheap nations like China. Meanwhile profits for international and some domestic corporations will continue to increase as the working class become harder and harder pressed. With little sense of class conscious struggle among American workers, their position in the American economy will continue to weaken in 2006.
New restrictions on smoking will be introduced in some states and communities will be enacted in 2006. But the tobacco industry will still continue to thwart most of this legislation, and will continue to market and sell their very harmful products with little restrictions.
Lawsuits against drug companies that use chemicals that can be made into meth and a growing concern with this serious drug problem will create more sinus, cold and flu "over the counter" products based on safer drugs not able to be spun onto meth by drug addicts.
Problems in Iraq will actually worsen, but the number of U.S. dead will slip slightly as more poorly trained and equipped Iraqi troops are pushed into ground missions, and the U.S. relies more and more on air missions, that kill more innocent civilians with rocket attacks in crowded towns and cities. With a $8.1 trillion national debt, as opposed to just $2.2 trillion in U.S. Treasury income, creating a shortage of funds to sustain a Vietnam type war, and a shortage of military manpower, along with Republican political considerations, a partial drawdown of U.S. forces will occur in 2006.