I get a kick out of Congressional Budget Office "predictions." They're ALWAYS wrong. Predictions, in general, tend to be off the mark, because they usually involve PEOPLE. And people don't always react in a predictable manner. And even when they do, it's virtually impossible to quantify how much things will change. There was a poker film back in the late 1960's, starring two Hollywood legends: Steve McQueen and Edward G. Robinson. I won't go into too many details. In one poker scene, a professor type, who was always taking notes, and playing a scientific game, made this big bet against Edward G. Robinson, that turned out to be a bluff, which Robinson "The Man" called. When one player complained about the egghead's play, the egghead responded indignantly, "The play was correct! He should not have CALLED!" Oh. Someone forgot to tell "The Man" what he was "supposed" to do. People are not robots. Predicting future behavior based solely on numbers, is ridiculous. The human factor has to be included, and THAT'S not easy to do.
If you drop a rock from a certain height, in a vacuum, it's possible to tell exactly how far it fell, by knowing how long it took to land. But that's science. As far as predicting with any accuracy, what will happen when humans are involved in anything, well, g'luck with that. If predictions of "experts" in the 80's were to be believed, AIDS would've taken the lives of millions in the U.S., and abroad. But it thankfully never happened to such a degree. People adjusted their behavior, accordingly. Also, those doomsday predictions did not take into account advances in medical treatment.
Baseball season is coming up, and as usual, I'm thrilled about it. And every year, the gurus of BB, who know a lot more than moi about the game, come up with their predictions. They crunch all the numbers, meticulously, and are on top of all the teams, including their minor league systems. And every year -- every single year -- there are teams that are predicted to win their divisions, that don't come close. There are other teams who are written off before the start of the season, who end up in the playoffs. Hey, I follow the game, but there are others who are obsessed with it, and examine the teams from every angle imaginable. If THEY can't predict winners and losers all that much better than the average fan, why should I believe the CBO and other pointy-headed prognosticators, can tell us all what is going to happen economically? When the government makes changes, people change, accordingly, and exactly how much they change is not predictable. I remember when Bill Clinton was president, and he grudgingly signed welfare reform. Some liberals went into fits. People will be starving. It would be a disaster. Instead, millions got off welfare, went to work, and tax revenues increased. So much for predictions.
Interestingly enough, to make decent predictions in the political arena, is easier than to figure out who is going to the World Series. I'm not a genius when it comes to crunching economic numbers, but what I do know, is that the free market WORKS. And from past observations, I see that government programs don't work well, are full of waste, and their costs do not justify their expense. That's not opinion as much as it is plain observation. So when Obama came up with Obamacare, I KNEW it wouldn't work, and would hurt the economy. So did millions of others like myself. We didn't need graphs, charts, and a lot of stats. Obamacare was and is, a government program. Now, in theory, it could be the first to be a success, but based on the past, how likely IS that?
Anyyyywayyyyyy, predictions are funny things. In the political and even the scientific arenas, they're usually wrong. Hey, guess what? The world did NOT run out of oil in the 80's, as predicted in the 60's. Life expectancy has gone UP, worldwide. No mass starvations or disease. Al Gore once predicted that without mass changes in our lifestyles, the world would be in total climate chaos by ... 2006. Ohhhhh, but Vegas, all the EXPERTS are saying climate change is REAL! Right. And in the 70's, I distinctly remember scientists rambling on about global COOLING! Hmmm, what else? For years we were told of the horrors of a major oil spill. Well, there have been a few, including the one that poured millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Somehow we're all still here. The late Carl Sagan -- a hero of mine, by the way -- once predicted dire environmental consequences from oil fires set by Saddam Hussein. Again, we're still here. Seems that Mama Earth is pretty tough. It has survived volcanoes, earthquakes, and hundreds of nuclear tests. Yaaaaay EARTH!
So much of predicting lies in the assumption that things will remain the same. But they don't. At the beginning of World War II, Japan and Germany were very powerful. By the time the U.S. got involved, it still wasn't ready for war. Based on the info available at the time, Japan and Germany were the "teams" to bet on. But it's hard to know how a country will adjust, and adjust America did, as well as Great Britain, to name a few. The big variable in the prediction biz, is the human element. That's why trying to figure out what will happen in the future, and to what degree, is so difficult. But that doesn't stop people from trying, and for others to put so much stock into what these geniuses have to say. I can't see that changing anytime soon. At least that's my prediction.