Forecast for 2021 part 1

Before I even get into anything psychic, I’m going to point out that, listening to the experts, most people in the US aren’t going to have the opportunity to get vaccinated against Covid 19 until late spring, with younger children gaining access in late August at the earliest. The main study for children is actually supposed take a year. We need 75-80% of the country to be immunized before we can reasonably contemplate doing things safely in crowds. If the government is smart, it’s going to keep gatherings small until the fall. Taking into account that some impoverished nations may not have access before the end of 2021, borders are likely to remain closed or mostly closed, and people who have underlying conditions or who live with or want to spend time with folx with underlying health conditions are probably going to want to be masked and out of crowds until sometime in 2022.

The economy has taken a big hit and will continue to be suboptimal until at least 2023. The main indicators politicians and the media use to measure the economy don’t actually apply to the majority of the population: unemployment numbers go down when people no longer qualify more often than when there are enough jobs; anyone under upper middle class can’t afford to play in the stock market these days, or doesn’t have enough invested to be supporting them, so that’s a poor metric as well. If we actually cared to measure how the economy is affecting the population, we would measure what percentage of the adult population was working fulltime at one job that was bringing in at least 3 times their share of their rent or mortgage, how many people are experiencing food insecurity, how many families have more than one month’s expenses in reserve, and debt levels for those who make under $80,000 (if we could separate it out by income brackets, that would be even better).

That’s just measuring the economy. If we want to be compassionate human beings and measure quality of life, we would need to look at access to health care (including mental health, dental, and vision) and quality education, percentage of people who feel that their local government serves them, infant mortality rates, depression and mental health statistics (including suicide rates), and access to affordable health food. I bring this up because I have been talking about 2020 offering us the opportunity to rethink and retool how we do things. I would love it if we could start by looking at things from a humanist point of view rather than a capitalistic one. Let’s start to care about people again.

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