To the editor:

Here are some predictions for the years ahead:

• Barack Obama is a cautious pragmatist, not a left-wing idealist. He will push massive government spending to revive the economy. He may even protect the taxpayers with temporary government ownership, as Bush did with the AIG bailout. But he is unlikely to propose long-term socialist projects like TVA. He appears to have the boundless self-confidence that characterized both Abe Lincoln and FDR; he will need every bit of it. He will prove to be a good manager.

• Bush’s $15 billion loan to General Motors and Chrysler will only buy time to prepare for bankruptcy. Both will take Chapter 11 next spring. Congress will assist with more money, saving the U.S. auto industry for at least a few more years.

• Now leaderless, Republicans will stay badly split. Some will realize that policies of “hands off, greed is good” and “suck up to the haves” lead to corruption and economic meltdown. They will help Obama get things done, others will try to obstruct. The GOP will be the minority party for a while.

• The idea that we can assure our supply of Middle Eastern oil with guns and troops will appear stupid, even to those few who still think it was smart.

• Obama’s retreat from Iraq will be orderly. He will make progress with Iran. Afghanistan and Pakistan will stay very messy.

• The U.S. will remain too polarized to solve its really big long-range problems, but we will begin to move toward creative solutions.

• More big investing fiascoes may come to light. If foreign governments doubt the dollar or a suitcase A-bomb explodes on our soil, we could face economic disaster. Otherwise, the recession will be deep, but we will get through it OK.