DONALD TRUMP’S RELATIONSHIP WITH VLADIMIR PUTIN
I feel Donald Trump believes Putin is struggling in his domestic and world situations, but I see Putin as the consummate puppet master and still the KGB officer who turns, manages and uses assets. If both were not potentially adversarial world leaders, they could probably enjoy a beer together and could be amicable. However, Putin is looking to get every advantage he can from Mr. Trump. That being said, I don’t see major conflict between Trump and Putin over the next two years, except for tension in about 18 months, which will be resolved quickly. However, in three years any “bromance” between the two ends, and Putin becomes unpredictable, creating extreme difficulty for Mr. Trump.
U.S RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA
For several years in the predictions I have been saying that Russia is not a friend of the U.S. It seems, however, that the perceived relationship between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin may, in fact, create a thawing of relations between the U.S. and Russia. Overall, I see more cooperation or, at least, not overt hostility over the next four years.
U.S. RELATIONS WITH CHINA
Last year I saw U.S. relations with China improving, and with Russia deteriorating. This year, at least temporarily, I see the reverse. I believe China has been embarrassed by and has lost face with Donald Trump. Face is very important in Asian cultures. I see trade continuing, but I see some kind of confrontation in six to about nine months from now. Somehow, China will be placated by the end of the year, and peaceful coexistence will be achieved during the rest of Mr. Trump’s term of office. With respect to China’s expansion in the Pacific, I see gradual moves between six and twelve months from now, but then the Chinese seem content to wait and consolidate their gains. For several years, I saw China making their big move in 2020, but now it is looking like 2023.
U.S RELATIONS WITH IRAN
In the big picture, the U.S. will maintain a stable and manageable situation with Iran. Unfortunately, old scores take time to settle, and Iran will continue to work against the U.S. in covert ways, creating an up and down situation on a month-to-month basis. At this point, I actually see a lessening of tensions between the countries starting in three years.
U.S SUCCESS VS. ISIS
The U.S. actually has a tougher situation than is obvious, versus Isis in Syria and Iraq, especially over the next four months. Also, I see more money being drained from U.S. coffers and more manpower and resources used in the region for questionable return. The U.S. will consider trying to pull out of that area by early 2018.
The “bionic body” is on the way with the rapid development of thought-driven prosthetic movement and ultimate enhancement of that technology for military purposes. There will be an emergence of textiles which will continue to improve fire, toxin and pollution protection, and which can heal burns, lesions, and diseases. I also get development of something like “living” skin, and I don’t get the purpose, maybe like chlorophyll skin which produces oxygen? Nano-bot research is continuing for diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and vaccines are in testing for Ebola, Zika, and other viruses. I also get that there will be breakthroughs in the development of new engineered antibiotics to combat drug-resistant bacteria.
Virtual reality devices will begin to extend into all aspects of society, not just gaming. Areas will include crime prevention, medicine, geographical exploration, natural resource exploration, chemistry, automobiles, entertainment, business and military applications. Also, drone technology will encompass full sized land vehicles, not just space or deep sea R.O.V.s. This might also lessen risk factors for soldiers in an I.E.D. environment, if some vehicles in a convoy are carrying supplies but not servicemen. Eventually, the drone technology will extend to full sized aircraft, but will probably require at least one human for safety backup.
Research will continue to refine the development of tiny long-life batteries (which will not burn up in an airplane hold). Also, solar and wind generated power will gain market shares and greater general acceptance in society, and energy companies and utilities will position themselves to try to gain control of those markets.
Precious metals will rise slightly in March, then taper off, and go up significantly by June of this year. Metals will drop slightly in July/August, but then stabilize in the fall of 2017. Another drop will occur in the early part of 2018, and prices will hold steady at that level until the fall of 2018.
SUCCESS OF THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY
Donald Trump is now becoming aware of the enormity of the job he secretly didn’t believe he would be hired for. After some growing pains in February, he will settle in and begin facing budgetary and financial realities. The honeymoon will be over in May, and he will be wrangling with Congress in a stressful environment through the summer. He will have some successes, and his approval will be up in October/November. The nuts and bolts of governing will become very difficult during the first nine months of 2018, and his popularity will be lower at the end of 2018. Overall, President Trump will continue to hold approval from his faithful supporters during his third year. However, during the fourth year of his term, the public will be less forgiving. Many in the GOP establishment will doubt the efficacy of a second term, and several Republicans will consider challenging him. I see this opening a door for a Democrat to win the White House in 2020.
SPECIFIC AREAS OF FOCUS IN THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY:
BUILDING THE WALL
There will be much posturing and blustering over the next few weeksabout building the wall, but Mr. Trump is naïve about the complexities of the southern border. There will be completion of the existing unfinished walls and the addition of fences over the next nine months, but after that, attention will be directed to other problems and wall building will stop.
IMMIGRATION AND THE DREAM ACT
These are touchy issues in many parts of the country, and Mr. Trump will feel he hasalready won and doesn’t need this controversy. I believe not much willhappen on these situations for nine months, at which time some of his advisors will want to pursue them, but I don’t see significant action. In three and a half years I see his administration resurrecting the immigration banner to attempt to again rally support for reelection.
I see Republicans in Congress trying to make tweaks in the structure, but I don’t see the ACA changing dramatically, and there seems to be no viable plan to substitute for it, except go back to the way health insurance was before the ACA.
CUTTING BACK MEDICARE
Even though this is a hot button issue, Medicare will be vulnerable withinthree months, because it is so complex and touches many areas. Legislators can change the benefits and seniors will not even know it until it is too late. I see benefits eroding ever the next year and costing seniors more.
CUTTING SOCIAL SECURITY
This is really a “hot potato” issue, and even though the current changes will not affect most present seniors, I see a lot of citizens, especially single women, being veryprotective of their benefits. Some members of the administration and Congress will try to get traction on this over the next 6-8 months, but ultimately the can will be kicked down the road to the future to try to make any dramatic changes.
RESCINDING PARIS AGREEMENT/ENVIRONMENTAL
I get that there is not as much impetus on the part of the new administration to rescind the Paris Agreement other than what it implies about deregulation concerning the fossil fuel industry and their current restrictions. However, in the U.S., lessening of restrictions on drilling and environmental habitats will begin in earnest within three months. Environmentalists will attempt to mobilize, but energy forces will use deception and misdirection to continue garnering public support. Within one year many protections will be lifted.
RESCINDING THE TRANS PACIFIC PARTERSHIP AGREEMENT
I get that the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement will be nullified, or at least worked around, over the next 12 months, which will actually cost the U.S. economy in money and jobs. Trade stability in Asia will not be regained for three years.
U.S. STOCK MARKET
The giddiness of the recent bull market will continue for two months with a mild correction by March. The market will stabilize until May, at which time a downturn will precede a strong recovery during the summer. A serious market correction will occur October/November of this year, with stocks being suppressed for three months and then another downturn in about March of 2018. In April/May of 2018, the market will rebound through the summer of 2018.
Overall, the U.S. economy will continue to be strong for the next five years. There will be small growing pains over the next few weeks as the presidential transition occurs, but some of the more dire challenges will be avoided for about nine months. Deception about the consequences of certain economic policy changes, such as deregulation, will have great impact at the end of 2017, and will come home to roost between October and January of 2018.
TORNADOES IN THE U.S.
I see a flurry of strong tornadoes at the end of July or early August of 2017 in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
TERRORIST THREATS IN THE U.S.
Separate homegrown terrorist attacks will be attempted in May and July, but will be thwarted by U.S. authorities. Also, another financial hacking attack in August will only be partially successful.
I feel 30 states will allow legal recreational use of marijuana within five years.
The Austin economy is hesitating over the next two months but continues to be steady until the fall of this year. The situation I saw concerning a downturn of the U.S. economy at the end of the year will affect Austin somewhat but not as strongly as the overall economy. Austin will feel the delayed effect of this situation in about 18 months. However, in 18 to 24 months, an increase in communication technology and start ups, in general, will give Austin and economic shot in the arm which will sustain Austin’s growth for at least three to four more years after that.
REAL ESTATE MARKET
The Austin real estate market is beginning to cool a bit and blow hot and cold. Early 2107 will still be good, but sales will cool off in the spring and reflect more of a buyer’s market. The summer will pick up again but then cool again in the fall. The market will stabilize within 18 months and continue steadily but not booming for the two to three years following.
The U.T. Football Team’s worst nightmares are behind it. Spring practice will go well, and Tom Herman will instill discipline and urgency. I believe the team will win 7 games in 2017 and will therefore play in a bowl game. They will, however, still lose a game they should easily have won and will struggle more at the end of the season. The year 2018 may also be tougher for the team, but I do feel Tom Herman will have the team playing better in his third year, even if his predecessor could not. I see more enthusiasm from fans, donors and recruits in that third year. We’ll see.
U.T. MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM
The U.T. men’s basketball team will rebound in January and then struggle again during February and March. The team will show improvement in the 2017/2018 season and do well again 2018/2019.
U.T. LADY LONGHORN’S BASKETBALL TEAM
I see the U.T. women’s basketball team maintaining over the next two months, but struggling by March. Next year’s team has a chance to again do much better.