With 2021 behind us, I’m trying hard to be optimistic about 2022. When you’ve lived past your 70s, you have the benefit of having seen multiple ups and downs in our country, and those experiences give you some insight into what might lie ahead.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a big toll on most of America. Our daily rhythms have been scrambled. We’ve been forced to work from home, and have patiently suffered through lockdowns and the loss of social interaction. But because we are such an innovative nation, by the end of 2022, it’s likely that we will have tamed this disease and possibly be better prepared for any new health challenge.
Last year was a tough one for the business world. The lockdowns around the world and the constant flare-ups of Covid-19 caused shortages of critical products. Some manufacturers who have ample inventory have taken advantage of the shortages and have raised their prices unnecessarily. Oil refineries with large inventories have joined the parade and jacked up the price of gasoline. Millions of small businesses have been forced to close, and in many cases they will never return.
2022 promises to be a better year for our long-suffering industries. Our strangled shipping ports are likely to catch up with the backlog of containers, and the uncontrolled buying of 2021 will slow down. By midyear, many members of the workforce who stayed home will finally find new job opportunities, or bargain their way into better-paying positions.
I’m thinking optimistically about the challenges we face, except for one. Surveying the scene from Minnesota or Montauk, I am most pessimistic about the political world. I have served over 30 years in state and local government. I have seen bold new programs, and marveled at political stars in both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column? JKremer@liherald.com.