The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Predicted August 2nd 2008

20) A huge push to gut entitlements in 2009, no matter who is president. Even if the US quickly pulls out of Iraq, the deficit will be totally out of control, and hundreds of billions will be needed for bailouts. A rapid consensus will form that rather than increasing taxes significantly on the rich, or slashing expenses like the military R&D and equipment appropriations budget, that the real problem is people retiring at 65, poor people getting Medicaid and old folks who aren’t destitute receiving Medicare.

On January 4th, 2009, I wrote:

I think I got this one wrong, given the consensus forming for a large stimulus (assuming the Republicans don’t kill it.)  We’ll see, but I’ve tentatively marked it wrong.


Stirling Newberry asks if Obama is the worst president in American History


Boehner’s plan has 900 billion in cuts


  1. Yea, I’m embarrassed by this one myself, but at least you have the 2008 prediction to fall back on.

  2. guest

    LOL. Petro, that picture is hysterical and so far off from the real Obama that you could probably get away with claiming it was just facetious sarcasm.

    At first glance I thought Ian’s prediction was eerily accurate, until I realized it was made one year into the “credit crunch” and just before the almost end of the world with 16 trillion in bank bailouts handed out left and right.

    Then it starts to look much too charitable, since the “crisis” passed, the deficit isn’t that bad, and yet we’re still going to eat a shit sandwich of cuts. While the cuts will happen as predicted, the fiscal context of the prediction I think is much milder than what Ian would have foreseen (“the deficit will be totally out of control”). As bad as I thought Obama would be, I didn’t think he would be actively trying to create a false (or real) crisis to justify his grand bargain cuts. Of course I wouldn’t put anything past Obama. But I didn’t think the rest of the party and the establishment media would let him get away with it/give him cover/aid and abet him to such an extent. And I would have thought Obama would be too smart to try and pull a stunt that was bound to blow up in his face like that. This country is just putrid with the corruption anymore.

    I got written off as a cynic by my friends and family over 10 years ago, and I wasn’t even prepared for half of the shit that is going down.

  3. Tom Hickey

    The political future of the US is between the boomers and the Tea Party (formerly the Republican Party). The boomers are retiring now and they are not going to be happy about cuts to the Big Three — SS, Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid, you ask? Yes, Medicaid pays the bills for long term care when personal funds are exhausted. Since a lot of the Tea Party is either on SS and Medicare or approaching 65, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Some try to paint this as inter-generational warfare. But younger people know that if mom and pop aren’t taken care of, there goes their inheritance and they will get saddled with the problem themselves.

    We haven’t seen the end of this yet by any means.

  4. StewartM

    Oh no, Ian, you were right, only 2 years off.

    Obama had a chance to fix the problem, but choose advisors who thought that only minor tweaks were needed (that goes back to the blog you wrote about “what’s it like to be insane?”, how privilege insulates one from essential reality). Once corporate profits rebounded and the banks weren’t collapsing, their illusions have been reinforced into thinking the economy is healthy so the time for long-overdue austerity has at last arrived.

    And hey, in the insane reality-world, it’s the middle class who has all the money (hello Obamacare!) so what’s wrong with forcing them to pay more? We already “know” that all people on public assistance are deadbeats, and that bankers and CEOs are the most productive people on the planet and already pay too much. Besides, we’re friends with most of ’em.


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