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America in the year 2020

By 2020 the US economy will be locked into a nasty form of "stagflation" - a painful combination of high unemployment and inflation. The unemployment rates should be around 8 or 9 percent and I expect inflation to be somewhere between 10 and 15 percent. (Though run-away hyper-inflation is always a possibility)

Oil will sell for approximately $250 to $300 per barrel and gasoline prices will be around six dollars a gallon. Special government funded gas stations will sell subsidized gas for around half the free market price but their supplies will be very sparse and unreliable. Coupons will be required at the government stations and while the coupons will be readily available, the gas won't.

The US will compete with China and other nations for control of oil producing countries. (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, etc...) "Defensive imperialism" will become the rule. This means we'll need to invade and occupy numerous nations not only to secure their oil supplies for ourselves but at the same time deny them to our adversaries.

Due to a lack of aviation fuel, an increasing number of commercial plane flights will be cancelled adding to the chaos created by airline labor difficulties and employee strikes. (Already official FAA bulletins have advised airports that flights will begin to be cancelled due to fuel shortages that will start now the summer flying season of 2007.)

The electric supply will become spotty and unreliable. Infrastructure problems combined with fuel shortages will cause brownouts and blackouts during periods of peak demand (Especially during the coldest winter nights and the hottest summer days). In some areas scheduled blackouts may become routine.

During the cold winter months energy shortages will force state governments to temporarily close factories in order to save energy for residential heating use. These shutdowns will cause millions of workers to be laid off for several days at a time (Until temperatures return to normal.)

Due to multiple forced wage reductions, the elimination of pensions, drastic increases in health care premiums, social security reductions and reduced Medicare payments and layoffs, strikes will cripple entire industries. Country wide general strikes will cause major problems. Public services will become highly unreliable. Airline travel will become increasingly difficult.

The US auto industry will be gone, as will the larger cars we now enjoy. People will be buying smaller fuel-efficient Japanese and Korean cars, the smaller the better. (Detroit simply can't compete with the Japanese when it comes to the manufacture of reliable, fuel-efficient smaller cars.)

Most of the major airlines will go belly up. Only one or two will remain. Foreign carriers will take over many domestic US routes.

Radical politics will become the rule. As poverty grows the old two party system will become increasingly irrelevant. Numerous smaller parties will appear and garner considerable support despite their highly radical policies. Leftist groups will grow in influence and support as the masses demand expanded government support.

Domestic terrorists will launch numerous attacks involving murder and explosions. Announcements of cuts in entitlement programs will be met with deadly and highly destructive explosions and riots. (Such benefit-driven violence is a common in socialist countries.)

A national ID will be introduced sometime during the next few years. Soon the law will require that you produce the card when it's demanded by law enforcement. (Where are your papers? You must have the papers!)  

US Marines will invade Canada to secure it's oil tar sands. They will enforce the terms of existing contracts which are highly favorable to US firms. (This will be caused by the Canadians being sorely tempted to sell their oil and natural gas to other nations at much higher prices.)

The US dollar will be down considerably. As a result gold will be selling for around $1,500 per ounce. If the Euro is still around, it will command over three US dollars per.

The US will become the single most hated country in the world. US government officials will be unable to travel to many place overseas as they will fear arrest for war crimes. American tourists will have to travel very carefully and restrict their wanderings to the few countries where Americans are warmly received. (Such areas are becoming fewer every day.)

By 2020 many European nations will have Muslim Prime Ministers. In the past these countries allowed Muslims to immigrate into their countries as "guest workers" but now these laborers are reproducing at a fabulous rate while Europeans have all but stopped having babies. As the Muslim population explodes, so will their political and economic clout.

For the same reason, the nation of Israel will probably cease to exist. The Israelis are simply not reproducing anywhere near as fast as the Palestinians that surround them. By 2020 the number of Palestinians will more than double while Israel's population will have increased by only 10 -15% or so. The Israelis will be forced into making peace on unfavorable terms dictated largely by the Palestinians. If they resist or become belligerent, the Palestinians may overrun them and reclaim their lands.

The cost of a college education will skyrocket to the point where only the children of the rich will be able to afford to attend.

The wealthy will live in gated enclaves patrolled by private security forces, surrounded by electric fences and roaming dog patrols. They will ride around in armor plated limos just like the Fortune 500 CEOs. They will travel little as possible as they fear having their children kidnapped and held for ransom.
 
Many of the most wealthy class will take their money and move to foreign countries offshore. Sir John Templeton has already moved and exchanged his US citizenship for a Bahamian one free of taxes and inheritance restrictions. What is now a trickle will soon become a flood.

The super-wealthy know that the quality of life in the US is in decline. They also fear the spiraling violence and increased taxes that are sure to result from the increase in government assistance programs.

Various epidemics will surface from time to time. Hopefully none will spread enough to become a pandemic but that's largely a matter of luck. Well before 2020 the US will, due to an explosion of Alzheimer's Disease and Diabetes, become the sickest country in the industrialized world.

Pretty dismal picture don't you think? I want to say that I hope I'm wrong on all these points - but I don't think I am. Over the next decade or so our country will be descending into a chaotic and highly violent age. Many of these trends are already underway.

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