Yes, it may still be 2015, but due to political and societal realities, presidential elections start early — like, stupidly early. Here’s the rundown on what to look for in your future POTUS.
1. All About the Benjamins, Part I
If nothing changes, national debt will reach 100% of GDP within 25 years, according to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office).
Why you’ll feel it: Planning on grad school? Hoping your student loans can be forgiven? If the government can’t pay its own bills, they’ll need your bucks.
Bigger picture: By the time you hit 40, the entire government budget could be consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. That means zero dinero for education, military, welfare, environment, infrastructure, you name it.
2. All About the Benjamins, Part II
2016 is set to be the most expensive campaign on record.
Why you’ll feel it: A tsunami of black-and-white scare/smear attack ads are headed to a screen near you. Ladies and gentlemen, ready your DVRs.
Bigger picture: Certain candidates’ campaigns are projected to join the three comma club. That’s right, billion with a “b.” Such expenses ensure politicians must be either really, really rich (see: Trump, Donald) or really, really in bed with special interest donors (cue defeated sigh).
3. Cyber Bullies, International Edition
China recently stole personal information on 21.5 million Americans by hacking the government-run OPM (Office of Personnel Management).
Why you’ll feel it: Have you or someone you know ever applied for a government position? Send your query to China, and in the meantime, it might be a good idea to check your credit.
Bigger picture: If a rogue country or a vengeful dictator/president hacks into information on American politicians, CIA operatives, or military personnel, they can easily use it as blackmail. Or worse. Cyber security matters, especially at the federal level.
4. The Middle East. Period.
Syria’s civil war has killed at least 200,000 civilians and displaced 18 million people. Parts of Iraq and Syria are controlled by the brutally violent organization ISIS. Iran is in talks with the US (and others) to hopefully halt its nuclear weapons development. Iran just signed a deal that aims to halt its nuclear weapons development.
Religious persecution has prompted violence against homosexuals and all but wiped out the Christian population in the region.
Why you’ll feel it: Since such a tremendous lot is on the line, we hope you never do.
Bigger Picture: People - whether Muslim, Christian, gay, or straight — are people, hence human rights. How our leaders handle the tinderbox of the Middle East should start from that understanding.
Hillary Clinton is the likely Democratic nominee for president. On the Republican side, Carly Fiorina is also running, though her competition is much fiercer.
Why you’ll feel it: If you’re not a female yourself, your mom, sister, aunt, girlfriend, or daughter is. Expect excitement.
Bigger picture: Look, gender alone is not a reason to vote for someone. But celebrate the historic happiness of 2016. Not only is a female contender all but guaranteed, it could be the first year a Hispanic candidate — Julian Castro, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio — also appears on the ballot. Or the first Indian-American , Bobby Jindal. Or the second African-American: Ben Carson. Cheers to progress, and happy voting to you all!