The new year demands predictions. As those demands must be satisfied, here are mine:
• President Barack Obama will be blamed for everything, from pet obesity to sunspots.
• Jim DeMint, president of The Heritage Foundation, will continue to solicit me for money and will write me ingratiating letters as one conservative to supposedly another. Things are terrible because of Obama, he will say. But if I send him five bucks, the day can be saved for America.
• Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, will ask me for money, five bucks, to save America from the likes of DeMint.
• The airlines will find new ways to discomfort you; watch out for toilets that big and tall people can’t sit on, seats that recline a 16th of an inch, and bad food that you'll buy only if you’re off your medicine. Don’t change your ticket, bring a suitcase or seek a seat with legroom. There are fees for that kind of convenience and comfort.
• If you thought it was difficult to reach any large company in 2014, it will be much worse in 2015. There are consultants out and about America, teaching corporations how to avoid their customers. Gone are the days when you could expect customer service of some sort, albeit from Rajiv in Bangladesh.
Amazon, always a pioneer, has produced the consumer go-have-sex-with-yourself masterpiece. If you have a question about your Kindle, you have to give them your credit card if you want it answered. It’s the no-pay-no-help line.
• Talking of the perils of being a customer, Bank of America refused to give me the phone number of the local branch where I have an account. When I finally got through to the manager, she said they didn’t give out the number because “the phone would be ringing off the hook.”
I didn’t know people called the bank just to chat. No thought that those callers might be customers.
Just remember new the mantra of big business: “The customer is always wrong, a nuisance, and fitted for nothing better than hanging an hour on the phone with a simple inquiry.”
• Next year the save-a-buck Congress will decimate the post office. Sad because it’s the one place that still works and where you can get a question answered promptly. That will not do. The Social Security Administration is efficient and polite, too. So Congress has its hatchet out.
• Now that the Republicans have control of government, they'll be out to prove that government doesn’t work. I’m sure they will pull it off. The Democrats will be complaining – having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the midterms.
How can you lose an election when the economy is turning around? Ask Sen. Franken when you send him your five bucks. Bet he won’t tell you. So I will: You turn your back on your president. That makes you look really bad, and looking really bad is a bad election strategy.
Happy New Year!
Llewellyn King is executive producer and host of “White House Chronicle” on PBS. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.