Last year was characterized by news of scandal, failed government programs, negative politics, natural disasters and other unforeseeable events.
The new year promises to be equally unpredictable. Foretelling is risky for a columnist because readers have the advantage of hindsight and tend to have long memories. I knowingly take the risk of being wrong and offer the following predictions for next year:
• The Atlanta Braves will win the National League pennant and lose to the Los Angeles Angels in the World Series.
• The Atlanta Falcons will lose several key free agents after this season. I predict an 8-8 record with the team missing the playoffs next season.
• The Atlanta Hawks will have another winning season followed by a dreadful performance in the playoffs because the team does not have an effective half-court offense.
• There will soon be a major announcement of corporate relocation bringing more than 1,000 new jobs to Peachtree City.
• New Peachtree City Council member George Dienhart will join the triumvirate of Vanessa Fleisch, Kim Learnard and Eric Imker leaving Mayor Don Haddix standing alone on many issues.
• An anti-establishment candidate will win one of the three open seats for the Fayette County Commission opening the door for the election of Commissioner Steve Brown as Fayette County Commission chairman in 2013.
• The metro area T-SPLOST referendum will fail by a narrow margin in July.
• The Georgia General Assembly will pass modest election year tax reform. Corporations will be the big winners.
• The results of the 2012 elections will significantly increase Republican control of the U.S. House of Representatives while Democrats will hold the Senate by a narrow margin.
• Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner will lose considerable power to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who will replace Boehner sooner rather than later. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will likely step down and be replaced by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer who has been running things on the Democratic side for the past several months.
• President Obama will throw U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder under the bus to distance himself from the “Operation Fast and Furious” gun program. Holder will resign but will not be prosecuted for lying to Congress.
• Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will resign amid rumors she wants to take the Democratic presidential nomination away from President Barack Obama. The president will compromise by dumping Joe Biden and selecting Clinton to be his vice presidential running mate.
• Mitt Romney will be the eventual Republican nominee for president and will select former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Senator Marco Rubio or former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as his running mate. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be bypassed because geography trumps loyalty and ideology in presidential elections.
• Romney will defeat President Obama by a narrow margin in a scandal-plagued presidential race unless the economic recovery is stronger than expected.
• The U.S. housing market will remain flat during the first quarter and begin a modest recovery in the spring and summer of 2012.
• The proposed Canadian pipeline from Alberta, Canada to oil refineries near the Gulf coast of the United States will be approved. Construction-related jobs and cheaper gas will be good for the economy.
• The national unemployment rate will drop below 8 percent before the end of 2012.
• There will be turmoil in North Korea because of a power struggle between the young dictator, Kim Jong un, and members of his immediate family. The military will seize control and bring an end to the three-generation Kim dynasty.
• The government in Iraq will fall, proving that the “win their hearts and minds” approach to fighting wars, trusting corrupt governments, and “leading from behind” are flawed policies. Our brave military personnel were required to leave the country prematurely.
• The Arab Spring of 2011 will continue in 2012 with the overthrow and deaths of more dictators. Countries in the Middle East being taken over by hardcore Muslim clerics and strong military leaders will become the norm. Al Qaeda and Iran will continue to compete for influence in the region.
• Six sleek new Dragon Boats from China will soon be delivered to the Rotary Club of Peachtree City for use in the annual Peachtree City International Festival and Dragon Boat Races.
This prediction is the only one that I “guarantee with full warranty” because I have inside information.
The remaining predictions are only slightly better than “WAGS” … commonly referred to as wild guesses.
[Scott Bradshaw, a resident of Peachtree City, is a real estate broker and residential real estate developer. He may be contacted at email@example.com.]