For instance, 2006 will be the year, I insist, when New Mexicans will at last stop whining about high gasoline prices and instead will figure out ways to reduce their consumption of the stuff. It won't deflate the per barrel cost of oil, but it could stretch our supply out long enough for our technology innovators to figure out alternative fuels to power automobiles, saving petroleum for the incredibly valuable other uses to which it can be put.
I also predict that in 2006 the world of Catholicism will see a revolution of startling proportions when Pope Benedict proclaims that his heretofore stubborn insistence on an exclusively male, heterosexual and unmarried clergy has been overruled by the Holy Spirit. “It was a white dove. He came and He said, ’never mind,'” a shaken pontiff will proclaim to a startled world. “It was amazing.” Then he will announce his resignation, spending the final years of his career in Africa ministering to victims of AIDS.
This year will also be the year when George W. Bush decides that the United States will cut its spending in Iraq by half … by bringing all the troops home and instead building $50 billion worth of schools, hospitals and new housing. He'll finally figure out that would increase national security far more than the war ever can.
Not to be outdone, I predict this year the Congress will at last see the error of its ways and vote to end all the Welfare for the Wealthy programs they've inaugurated in recent years. The resulting bonanza for the National Treasury will reverse overnight the skyrocketing increase in the national debt and provide the foundation for an era of economic growth and prosperity unparalleled in our history.
All talk of building a 3,000-mile wall along our border with Mexico will end this year, as the United States' economic engine will demand more, not fewer, workers, and Latin Americans will be welcomed with open arms to work in the new industries being spawned all over the country.
2006, I foretell, will be the year in which our governor, Bill Richardson, will be re-elected by an enormous margin—and then will renounce all interest in running for president, devoting his considerable talents and energies instead to making New Mexico one of the most prosperous, peaceful and productive environments in the entire world.
This will also be the year in which the commuter train between Belen and Bernalillo becomes a spectacular success and demand for expanding service to Santa Fe becomes too great to resist. Magnetic levitation trains (look it up) will be introduced as the most direct and least expensive way to climb La Bajada and zip right into downtown Santa Fe.
Wild speculation in land near Lamy will end.
At the other end of the state, this will be the year when tumbleweeds stop blowing across the International Spaceport site and are replaced with earthmovers and trailers for construction crews. Early investments by companies eager to capitalize on the anticipated space tourism boom north of Las Cruces will lead to such peculiar phenomena as the Upham Hilton, the Rincon Hyatt resort, the Hatch Marriott and a casino in Arrey planned by a previously unrecognized tribe of Native Americans.
I predict the 2006 Legislature will not only produce a balanced budget but will come up with full funding for public schools, Medicaid and higher education. It will find a way to provide health coverage for all New Mexicans. It will give substantial raises to public employees and it will invest the billion-dollar gas and oil industry surplus wisely. Then it will go home on time and without the need for any special sessions. The governor will be happy with the result.
Finally, on the local front, I foresee a year of incredible prosperity and development for Albuquerque. A new Downtown arena (with an accompanying Arena Football League franchise and a new professional hockey team to replace the Rio Rancho Scorpions) will be announced. Eclipse Aviation will begin shipping out hundreds of locally produced personal jet planes.
Neighborhoods bordering Downtown will see new private sector investments made in housing and businesses that will extend the prosperity beginning to bloom in the central city into a widening arc, but without destroying the unique qualities of those neighborhoods. The University of New Mexico will become a full partner in the revitalization effort of those communities, sharing its storehouse of innovations, expertise and technology freely with community groups so they will be able to participate on an equal footing with the investor groups.
Finally, I see a year ahead in which the city's mayor, Martin Chavez, will work in close collaboration with the new City Council to fine-tune municipal policies for creative solutions to our lingering social problems: crime, addiction, unemployment and affordable housing.
It looks like a great year ahead, doesn't it?
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.