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Everyone has their own personal holiday traditions. For some, it is throwing an annual Christmas party or traveling to see family. One of my favorite traditions is looking into my crystal ball and making predictions for the upcoming year.

Last year I was, as usual, quite accurate with most of my predictions. I correctly forecasted who will control Congress, predicted Roe v. Wade would be overturned, and said Russia would launch a war in Ukraine. Of course, I also said that Paul LePage would defeat Janet Mills. I can’t get everything right, afterall.

Regardless, with confidence I present to you ten bold predictions for 2023.

Bold Prediction 1: There will be a major recession

The Federal Reserve has been taking aggressive action throughout 2022 to try to slam the brakes on record inflation. Their latest increase of a half a percentage point brought interest rates to a 15-year high, and they will climb higher in 2023.

You can’t do something like that without paying an economic price for it, and that price is likely to be a recession. My guess is that for all of their hopes of a “soft landing,” the impending downturn will actually be quite significant.

Bold Prediction 2: The Public Utility Referendum will Pass

Breaking news: almost nobody likes Central Maine Power. The company’s unpopularity is almost singularly responsible for the passage of Question 1 in 2021, and the public will once again be asked to weigh in on a question relating to CMP (and Versant Power) in 2023.

At issue this time will be whether or not to forcibly take their property and give it to a “consumer-owned utility” instead. It is a horrible idea and has no business passing, but it very well might. Why? Because people don’t like CMP.

Bold Prediction 3: There will be a contentious budget in Maine

Either Gov. Janet Mills and legislative Democrats will ram through another party-line majority only budget, or there will be a showdown over the budget as Republicans desperately seek to force some kind (any kind) of structural change to Maine’s tax code and government. It won’t ultimately result in a budget shutdown, but it will be messy.

Bold Prediction 4: Maine’s labor force participation rate will continue to decline

In April of 2021, Maine’s labor force participation rate stood at 60.4 percent. By August of that year, it was below 60 percent. In April of 2022 it was down to 59 percent. In July it was 58.8 percent. 58.6 in August. 58.4 in September, and down another tenth of a point in October.

In November it dropped (again) to 58 percent flat. These declines represent the loss of tens of thousands of workers, and things will continue to get worse in 2023.

Bold Prediction 5: The Department of Justice will indict former President Donald Trump on criminal charges

I think this one is a layup, particularly after the January 6th committee recommended charges this week. Don’t expect him to actually get convicted, though.

Bold Prediction 6: President Joe Biden will announce he is running for re-election

The man has wanted to be president his whole life, and now that he’s there he’s going to walk away? No chance. He runs.

Bold Prediction 7: There will be at least 10 Republicans running for president

With the perception that Trump is weak and vulnerable in the primary, a long list of would-be usurpers will declare themselves worthy. Ironically, this may be the simplest way Trump ends up the nominee again.

Bold Prediction 8: Elon Musk will fall out of the top 10 richest people in the world

Tesla stock has been sliding significantly since Musk acquired Twitter, and it will continue to do so in the new year. With the coming recession (see prediction one) I expect he will be hit particularly hard. He’ll still be filthy rich, though, so don’t worry about him.

Bold Prediction 9: The price of heating oil will be over $5 a gallon this time next year

Energy prices are likely to remain high and will not come down much next year.

Bold Prediction 10: The Cryptocurrency market will remain depressed

I’m a pretty big believer in crypto, but it is hard to deny that the industry has a lot of dead leaves to rake up. The more reliable coins like Bitcoin will make a mild recovery, but there is likely going to be at least one more exchange that goes belly up, and countless coins will crash. After they clear out the brush though, I think 2024 is going to be one of explosive growth for the industry.

That’s my take on 2023. Have a wonderful holiday!

Matthew Gagnon, Opinion columnist

Matthew Gagnon of Yarmouth is the chief executive officer of the Maine Policy Institute, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. A Hampden native, he previously served as a senior strategist...