In memory of the late William Safire, place your bets now on possibilities for the year ahead. Use the available choices or try writing in your own scenarios.
1) At year end, the Standard &Poor’s 500 stock index is a) up 20 percent, fueled by tax cuts and regulatory relief from Washington b) down 20 percent, as the “Trump Tariff” on imported goods and cutbacks to legal immigration choke economic growth c) level, as profits meet but do not exceed the “baked in” levels assumed by the post-election rally in 2016.
2) Surprise bestseller of the year is a) Ellen Umansky’s “The Fortunate Ones” b) Daniel Sharfstein’s “Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard, and the Nez Perce War” c) John Avlon’s “Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations” d) Derek B. Miller’s “The Girl in Green.”
3) President Trump and Congress respond to the U.N. Security Council Resolution condemning Israel’s settlements by a) officially moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem b) signing and ratifying in the Senate a treaty with Israel making clear than neither Israel nor the United States consider themselves bound by the Security Council resolution c) cutting American funding for the United Nations d) all of the above.
4) Trump’s first foreign trip as president is to a) Mexico, where he meets with New York Times part-owner Carlos Slim to discuss financing the “wall” b) Israel, where he prays at the Western Wall with Prime Minister Netanyahu c) Scotland, where he plays golf and meets Prime Minister Theresa May d) Russia, where he visits Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.
5) Trump’s choice for Supreme Court is a) Mike Lee, senator from Utah b) Joan Larsen, a Michigan Supreme Court judge who clerked for Antonin Scalia c) Diane Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit d) William H. Pryor Jr. of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
6) The big business story of the year will be a) boom in mega-merger deals as Trump administration eases anti-trust enforcement b) breakup of Alphabet/Google as Trump administration targets Silicon Valley for newly aggressive anti-trust enforcement c) “drone billionaires” proliferate as Trump relaxes FAA rules to make commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles more economically viable.
7) Trump’s relations with the press will be a) surprisingly amiable, as ratings and circulation boom, and Washington-based reporters enjoy frequent business trips to Palm Beach b) predictably acrimonious, as the president bypasses old-fashioned press conferences and prefers to talk directly to Americans on Twitter c) a little of both.
8) The leading voice of the Democrats emerges as a) Senate minority leader Charles Schumer, credible because he works with Trump on some issues, against him on others b) Barack Obama, departing from usual practice to offer frequent criticism of his successor c) Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who uses her new perch on the Armed Services Committee to fight Trump’s effort to rebuild the military d) Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez e) Democratic National Committee chairman Keith Ellison.
9) Super Bowl victory goes to a) Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, in a remarkable comeback from the “deflategate” suspension b) Dallas Cowboys and rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott c) Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
10) Media story of the year is a) disarray at post-Roger Ailes Fox News as Bill O’Reilly retires and the Murdoch family decides it’s not worth $25 million to keep Megyn Kelly b) disarray at The New York Times as the paper can’t successfully retain the new subscribers who signed up after the election c) Jeff Bezos sells the Washington Post, as its tangles with Trump pose too much of a conflict for Amazon’s government relations.
Save your answers for checking in a year from now. A happy, prosperous, and free 2017 to all.
Ira Stoll is editor of FutureOfCapitalism.com and author of “JFK: Conservative.” His column appears Sunday.