Said Charles F. Kettering, inventor, engineer, and businessman: “I am not interested in the past. I am interested in the future, for that is where I expect to spend the rest of my life.”
As for what the future holds, forecasting has already begun…
From Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor and author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education:
- The national debt: Citing a recent Pew Research Center poll that 53% of us believe that the federal deficit and national debt is a serious problem—even more so than climate change, terrorism, and racism—Reynolds writes: “I’m guessing that something might happen in the next decade. The rule is something that can’t go on forever, won’t, but there is no guarantee as to when it will stop. I feel safe in predicting, though, that it won’t stop due to a sudden infusion of virtue and self-control into our political class.”
- Hydraulic fracturing: Back in September, 2001, explains Reynolds, “U.S foreign policy revolved around making sure that oil flowed from the Middle East… but now that we’re the world’s largest oil producer, we’re vastly less dependent than we used to be.”His prediction: “Our politics and strategies will depend much, much less on the problems and concerns of backward Middle Eastern nations,” adding that it also weakens Russia’s President Putin who uses Russia’s oil output for economic and political leverage.His opinion: “This is a huge achievement that has gotten surprisingly little attention.” He also wonders why some presidential hopefuls “want to ban fracking and throw that advantage away.”
- Space Travel: Citing private companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, Reynolds says, “I predict that we’ll see multiple private missions to the moon, and quite possibly to Mars, before the next decade is out… As we’ve learned from the computer revolution, when things get a lot cheaper, people find all sorts of new uses for them. The same will be true in space, and it will start to happen in a big way over the next decade.”
And on a more down-to-earth note, a recent USAToday/Suffolk University poll found that Americans believe their lives will be better 80% to 11%, with men more optimistic than women, 83% to 76%.
That same survey, however, also found that, while Republicans expect things to get better in the U.S., 72% to 16%, Democrats said things will get worse, 54% to 37%.
Despite the Dems’ gloomy outlook, the University of Virginia’s W. Bradford Wilcox and Alysse ElHage, editor of the Institute of Family Studies, sound an far more upbeat note, saying, “… The story of the death of marriage, told in popular and elite venues, has been greatly exaggerated… While movies like Marriage Story and op-eds do their part to perpetuate the cultural myths of widespread divorce and the collapse of the institution of marriage, the reality is that there is good news to report about the state of our unions and the state of the American family…”
- Divorce: They write, “According to our analysis, the divorce rate has fallen nearly 25% over the last decade to the point where there are about 15 divorces per 1,000 married people today—about the same rate as in 1970. And scholars predict that the divorce rate will continue to fall.”
- Non-marital childbearing: They write, “The rate of non-marital childbearing has fallen from 41% in 2009 to 39.6% in 2018. We think what has happened, in part, is that young adults in America have become more cautious in the wake of the Great Recession about forming families and, hence, are less likely to leap into parenthood without a ring on their finger.”
- Two-parent households: They write, “Although family instability and single parenthood are still too high… Since bottoming out in 2014, we’ve seen a small increase in the share of children being raised by their own married parents.” The increase: in 2014, 61,8% of children were raised in intact, married families; in 2019 it rose to 62.6%, according to Census data.
So be of good cheer, moving forward into 2020 and beyond, living responsibly, being accountable, and living by the Golden Rule. ~ Carol