The last year was not up to my usual best in predicting events. Among other things, I predicted U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill would run for Missouri governor. I also predicted Jeb Bush would be the presidential front-runner. And as for interest rates, I was almost right. I said no rate increase in 2015. I was wrong by two weeks. But I did say the economic problem would be deflation, not inflation, and given what is happening to the plummeting price of commodities, that may be correct.
My crystal ball is much clearer this year.
The race for Republican nominee will come down to three finalists: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Jeff Roe, a Kansas City political guru, is the national campaign manager for Ted Cruz. He will be a happy man, because ultra-conservative Cruz will win the Republican nomination. It will not be brokered at the convention. He will win enough delegates in the primary. But, alas, Cruz will lose in a landslide to Hillary Clinton, similar to Lyndon Johnson’s landslide win over Barry Goldwater.
Interest rates will not go higher in 2016. There is more of a chance of a rollback than an increase. The world economy is shaky, and America’s economy still faces the threat of deflation, far more than inflation. The Fed never should have increased interest in the first place.
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Closer to home, the unpopularity of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his buddies in the Legislature will lead to some very surprising upsets in legislative races. In the House, eight seats will switch from conservative Republican to either moderate Republican or Democrat. In the Senate, six seats will switch. If that happens, it will have a marked effect on legislation. Conservatives, particularly in the senate, could be forced into compromise.
Last year I predicted Kansas City police would acquire body cameras. That did not happen, yet. Chicago will move on this, given the tragedy of a black youth being shot 16 times by a white cop. The pressure will be immense for Kansas City to move ahead, and 2016 will be the year they order the cameras. Let’s hope.
Good news for business and civic leaders in Kansas City. The petition challenging the 800-room convention center hotel agreement will be thrown out by the courts, and the deal will proceed as agreed upon.
The tiff over TIF in the Crossroads Arts District will have a chilling effect on future development in Kansas City. Opponents of TIF may win the battle, but they will lose the border war.
There’s been a lot of teeth gnashing in Kansas City over whether the earnings tax will be renewed next year. Not only will it be renewed, but the tax will pass handily. Faced with a loss of key funding for police and fire departments, what else can a citizen do but vote yes?
Even before ground is broken next year on the new Meadowbrook, 80-acre park development in Prairie Village, developers will be thrilled that their single-family and townhome lots will be gobbled up almost overnight. Likewise, the luxury apartments will go quickly. And the senior living facilities will be wildly popular. The developers will hit it out of the park.
As for sports, I let my son, Josh, do the predicting. He says the Royals will make it to the playoffs again this year but will not be World Series contenders because the weakness of starting pitchers will finally catch up with them. We both wish it weren’t so.
Steve Rose, longtime Johnson County columnist: email@example.com