Each December, I prepare two lists that I put in a box in the back of a drawer. One list consists of resolutions for the new year. The other list consists of predictions for what the new year will bring. Each December, I pull out the previous year’s lists to assess how successful I was in achieving my resolutions and how accurate my predictions were.
My list of 2021 resolutions will remain private. Things such as committing to eat healthier, read more, be kinder, and take better photographs are nothing special. And I’m not sure I want to share my report card.
My predictions for 2021 included more climate change-induced weather, more racial tensions and protests, an indictment of Trump and his disappearance from the national stage, the beginning of the end of the pandemic, and a troubled economy.
That’s not the complete list but includes the big items. As you can see, my crystal ball was cloudy. I was right about climate change (no rocket science needed there), but I was mostly wrong about the rest.
With that record in mind, here are my predictions for 2022:
Worse weather and more natural disasters caused by climate change. I expect more hurricanes, “heat domes,” forest fires, tornados, and flooding. I would like to predict that the Eastern Shore will again dodge the bullet, but I can’t. We were lucky in 2021. I hope and pray we are again lucky in 2022.
The pandemic will continue. My friends with medical credentials tell me that the worst of the COVID-19 may be in front of us. They remind me that another variant or two could pop up. I expect that we still will be wearing masks and monitoring the news for medical breakthroughs for better treatment of COVID and the availability of more booster shots a year from now. (Personal disclosure: My resolutions list includes getting my second booster shot as soon as possible—my first booster shot was the Pfizer booster that becomes less effective after 10 weeks.)
Inflation will continue and get worse. I feared inflation last year but did not expect the huge price increases we have seen this year. Without ascribing blame to anyone, I predict that the Federal Reserve response will help but not corral inflation. Prices will continue to go up, making a recession more likely.
An economic downturn. I am not an economist, but I expect more economic hardship in the latter half of 2022. I hope I am wrong. If I am right, I hope Congress and the Biden administration work together and formulate some sort of a response to help those hit hardest by the recession. (I’m not making a prediction on that.)
Trump will be held accountable for his role in the January 6 insurrection. I am heartened by the aggressiveness of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol. We already know that the Committee has “smoking gun” emails. When public hearings start early next year, we are likely to learn how complicit Trump and his immediate family were in trying to stage a coup. If evidence of Trump’s personal involvement is produced, I hope prosecutors will get to work.
Joe Biden will have a challenging year. If 2021 is any indicator, 2022 will not be a banner year for President Biden. With the pandemic continuing, both Russia and China threatening to start wars, and the economy looking fragile, we need extraordinary leadership. I’m not sure the president is up to the task. I hope I am wrong.
Republican wins in 2022. It is always dangerous to predict the outcome of elections, but as of today the odds suggest that Republicans will win majorities in the House and Senate. For the sake of the country, I hope I am wrong. If you agree that the last thing America needs now is Kevin McCarthy running the House of Representatives and Mitch McConnell running the Senate, you need to get busy registering voters.
In terms of the Eastern Shore, I predict a better harvest of blue crabs, continued growth in the quality and variety of cultural offerings, and, another year of outstanding community journalism in the Talbot, Chestertown, and Cambridge Spies.
In closing, I wish Spy readers a happy and peaceful new year.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government, birds, and other subjects.