As my wife and I rolled up to the house last night, returning from a New Year's Eve party, the odometer ticked over to 100,000 miles. Checking in on my computer this AM, I found a message saying the item I had returned to Amazon only yesterday had already been credited back to my account. I won my first game of spider solitaire of the year. All these little things augur a great year in 2013, right?
Maybe. Maybe not. On the national level, I suppose we can draw optimism from the fact the U.S. Senate reached a political deal on the "fiscal cliff;" yet the House may or may not approve that accord, and even if it does, the "deal" reached is more a failure than a success, in my view. If the cliff was designed to force our elected representatives to deal with the larger issues of tax policy and spending reforms, it failed utterly, while leaving us open to several bouts of acerbic political wrangling as different deadlines approach in a month, two months, three months, ad infinitum. The underlying policy issues may not be dealt with until after midterm elections in 2014, and perhaps not even then.
Oh, and by the way, our infrastructure is crumbling, but we already knew that, so maybe that's a neutral.
As common sense tells us, of course, the mere fact the calendar flips over from 2012 to 2013 is seldom a defining event except to the extent we make it so, for example, as we schedule big legislative changes to take effect on this date, or make "new year's resolutions." Reading tea leaves to predict at the outset what our year will be like can be fun, but isn't likely to pan out the way we suppose.
That's why I so enjoyed the tale of Alex Fraser, the fellow who in 1999 took drastic measures to prepare for the Y2K disaster he was convinced was coming. He sold his house, bought guns, and stocked up on non-perishable food.) Does anyone remember Y2K?
[Cross-posted from Morning Fog.]