With the price of newspapers rising faster than the price of milk and online paywalls replacing the Berlin Wall, Americans face a news gap in 2013.
Of course, if one already knows what will happen, one doesn't need to read the news, so in that spirit, the editors present The Year Ahead, a synopsis of events nearly certain to occur, based on current trends.
A new Congress is sworn in at the bottom of the fiscal cliff. It immediately deadlocks over committee assignments.
President Obama is stymied in his effort to move ahead with his promised gun control initiative by the inability of Congress to organize itself.
The Postal Service runs out of stamps and doesn't have the cash or credit to print more.
With Congress hopelessly gridlocked over office assignments, Obama issues an executive order outlawing the private sale of ammunition and makes the U.S. Postal Service the nation's official ammunition depot and post office. Anyone wanting to buy bullets can "Go Postal(tm)" at their nearest post office, where stamps will also be available soon. Quantities (both stamps and ammo) will be limited.
This makes the Postal Service solvent and is expected to reduce the incidence of unwarranted firing of weapons by 2050, when the existing suppy of privately-held ammo is gone.
FedEx and UPS immediately file suit, seeking to sell bullets at five times the price charged by the post office, a marketing strategy that served them well in the document and parcel delivery business.
After an unfortunate series of post office shootings, the Transportation Security Administration is deputized to screen postal workers as they arrive and leave their work stations.
Amazon buys Walmart, Kmart, Sears, Best Buy, Costco, Macy's and what is left of J.C. Penney, turning their former stores into warehouses. A section of each is set aside as a homeless shelter, to be used by employees unable to afford traditional housing.
The Federal Trade Commission sues Google, seeking a fine of $1 trillion and a court-ordered break-up of the company. Google's stock price hits an all-time high.
Google offers to buy the Federal Trade Commission for $1.5 trillion in cash but Congress is unable to act on the offer because House Republicans are still wrangling over the selection of a Majority Leader. Google's stock price breaks $2,000.
Apple buys all the major movie studios and television networks and makes an offer for the Defense Mapping Agency.
Amazon buys Starbucks and assorted other Seattle businesses. CEO Howard Bezos announces that baristas will be trained to troubleshoot problems with Kindle devices. In addition, anyone ordering from Amazon will get a free grande latte from the Starbucks location nearest them.
Google offers to buy the federal government for $5 trillion in cash, with each Member of Congress being named a Senior Vice President for Life and receiving a $10 million signing bonus. Congress immediately accepts the offer, over the objection of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
The deal closes quickly. Google merges the Federal Trade Commission into its Motorola division and moves it to Dallas.
Apple holds a very cool developers conference in San Francisco and, using the world's biggest LED screen ever, screens a brief memorial to the Federal Trade Commission and announces a new pricing plan for music and movies. iAnything owners will continue to pay 99 cents while for everyone else, the price goes to $99.
Amazon buys The Associated Press, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal and closes them down. "Everything anyone needs to read is already in the Kindle store. This will save consumers from having to shop around for content," Bezos notes.
Amazon buys all of the remaining major book publishers for $1, twice its original bid. Bezos asserts it was a "steal at half the price"
Google's lawyers issue a statement asserting that all activities, actions, findings, documents, studies, drafts, reports and all appurtenances thereunto of the federal government are now its property and access to all such data, information, material, publications and whatever is henceforth restricted to authorized users.
The newly-named CEO of Google's United States subsidiary, Mitt Romney, legalizes driverless Google cars.
Google issues a beta version of its new Unmanned Google Drone. Unexplained property damage is reported in Seattle.
Apple desperately bids $55 for Mexico. The offer is accepted but auditors later find an unexplained payment of $1.5 trillion in cash to unknown persons.
Amazon and Apple immediately challenge Google's "content land grab" but are unable to find the offices of the Federal Trade Commission. The federal courts have moved behind a firewall and are similarly unapproachable.
Mysterious troop movements are reported along the Mexican border.
Texas launches a leveraged buyout of itself but because of an unexplained communications breakdown, the deal is never consummated. Unexplained property damage is reported in Austin.
Google announces its United States subsidiary is launching a War on Errorism.
"We seek only to find and eradicate error," CEO Romney insists. "The faithful and true have nothing to fear."
In a ceremony simultaneously carried by all broadcast, cable and Internet outlets, as well as all computer-equipped eyeglasses, Google announces that all of the world's information has now been organized and all errors and errorists eliminated.
Anyone seeking more information should register at the nearest post office.