A year ago, society was eager to move on from 2020. Not to bring up negative memories, but 2020 saw COVID shutting down our nation. Hundreds of thousands of people died from the sickness soon after the outbreak, along with many others affected by its complications. America also witnessed the murder of George Floyd. Millions of people lost jobs. Society saw tremendous unrest. Hand sanitizer and alcohol sales soared. Toilet paper was temporarily a hot commodity.
Moving ahead, the year 2021 saw some normalcy return while other things weren’t exactly stellar. Capital riots and COVID policies dominated the national headlines, while Aaron Rodgers was the top subject for sports banter. The Milwaukee Bucks also won the NBA Championship.
What can we expect in 2022? Here’s a few things to consider:
COVID-19 will be the most popular topic in 2022 as it’s been for the prior two years. I recently attended a meeting with St. Paul Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari. Neel spoke wisely about COVID’s effects on society and the U.S. economy. He said it was time to stop using the word “pandemic” and start referring to COVID as an “endemic.” This is because COVID-19 is not going away. Our vaccines are saving lives but not wiping out the sickness in the same way vaccines kill other sicknesses such as polio or small pox. Society must learn to deal with COVID.
The year 2022 might see some improvements to our roads or bridges, but it remains to be seen how Barron County will be impacted by the recent $1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure bill that was signed into law on Nov. 15. Infrastructure is a good thing to spend money on since it benefits all citizens. However, I was curious about where the trillion dollars was coming from? For the purposes of this column, I bought two newspapers and viewed four online news sources. Nowhere could I find anything about raised taxes or a higher debt ceiling to cover cost of this legislation. The media’s articles focused on the more divisive issues such as naming the congressional Republicans who voted in favor of the bill, and Democrats who voted against it.
Also in 2022, don’t look for forthcoming relations between China and America to improve. Numerous reports ranging from Chinese promoted cyber-attacks to increased drug smuggling continue to make headlines. In fact, Wisconsin Public Radio reported that Chinese-trafficked fentanyl led to more than 37,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2019.
Like other countries, the Chinese government likes to blame the U.S. to shift its national discussion away from internal problems such as a struggling economy and social issues like gender inequality. Though he campaigned for moderation, I think President Biden has quickly gotten wise to the threat China poses to America.
My other serious topic for 2022 hits on a divisive issue known as mental health. While mental health is harder to quantify than other forms of healthcare, it’s still quite real. Six weeks ago, CNBC reported Boston University findings putting the depression rate among adults at 32%. This is a dramatic increase from the 8% rate prior to COVID. Look for additional mental health awareness and legislation to slowly but surely impact our country in the future.
On a lighter note, theaters will be showing some long-awaited movies in 2022. A couple that I look forward to seeing are “Thor — Love and Thunder” and “Top Gun Maverick.” The year 2022 may also see the Brewers make the playoffs for a fifth straight year, though they’ll need to add some bats to compliment their pitching before printing October playoff tickets. And lastly, 2022 will also see Aaron Rodgers’ future revealed. His semi-stylish “Russian Opioid-Addicted Witness In Hiding” look with the long hair is humorous to me. On that note, I wish you all a Merry Christmas!
Craig Severud was once a good golfer and still a good dad.