Steve Rose

From politics to oil, there are plenty of wide turns ahead in 2015

In 2015, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback probably will announce huge across-the-board budget cuts in every agency in the state.
In 2015, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback probably will announce huge across-the-board budget cuts in every agency in the state. The Associated Press

Time for predictions for 2015. What will happen locally, nationally and internationally in the coming year? Read on.

▪ The infamous “border war” between Missouri and Kansas, each lavishing huge tax breaks for corporations that move just across the state line, will finally be addressed. The first step in a compromise will be reached by both sides.

▪ U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, will let it be known she is running for governor. Everyone even thinking of running as a Democrat will drop out. This is McCaskill’s next step in positioning herself to run for president someday. She is a very savvy politician, who has positioned herself as a conservative Democrat in a Republican state. That will help her win in the gubernatorial race, and, down the road, as a strong candidate for the White House, or at least as a vice presidential contender.

▪ Body cameras for police in Kansas City will finally be approved, and they will start to become the norm nationwide. Already, suburban communities in the metro, such as the Johnson County sheriff’s department, have body cameras and love them. Overland Park, too, may adopt the cameras for its officers.

▪ Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will announce huge across-the-board cuts in every agency, every school district, Medicaid, higher education — there will be nothing left untouched. Brownback will have to address a $650 million deficit, for the next fiscal year, a result of income tax slashing. Meanwhile, at least one bond rating company will again lower the rating for Kansas. Yet, Brownback will stick with his plan to lower income tax rates even further.

▪ There is not a scintilla of a chance that Hillary Clinton will decline to announce her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president. No big surprise, but some political pundits are still hemming and hawing about whether she will run. How can there be any doubt? This is what Hillary has sought since she lived in the White House with Bill, if not even before that.

▪ By December of next year, Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, will be the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president. Many think he doesn’t stand a chance, because he is a moderate in a conservative Republican Party. But just wait and see. This guy will surprise the doubters. By the way, the second place for the nomination by this time next year will belong to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, the Republican Kentucky outlier with a libertarian streak.

▪  Despite all the warnings that interest rates will rise by the middle of next year, don’t bet on it. With the price of oil and other commodities plummeting, and with wage stagnation continuing, deflation will suddenly become the concern of the Federal Reserve, not inflation. One more year without a rate hike.

▪ The courts will uphold President Barack Obama’s executive order that provided semi-amnesty to five million undocumented immigrants. But that will not bring most out of the shadows. There still will be plenty of concern that Congress will try to undo the order, as well as the fear that the next president may revoke the order. Furthermore, when the word spreads that this is only a three-year amnesty, which expires, there will be a reluctance to declare themselves. In other words, this executive order will turn out to be a bust.

▪ Venezuela, which depends almost entirely on oil sales for its income, will be in dire straits, with the impact of oil prices still down by more than half from its peak. Cuba will find itself in an economic crisis when Venezuela can no longer supply it with cheap oil, though the prospect of better relations with the U.S. holds the promise of changing that.

▪ I make no sports predictions, because I never get them right. Check with my son, Josh, who predicted at mid-season, when the Royals were a game under .500, that the team would be in the playoffs for the first time in 29 years. When he makes his prediction for next season, I will let you know.

To reach Steve Rose, longtime Johnson County columnist, send email to srose@kc.rr.com.

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