WHILE LOOKING UP timely topics for this column each week, I run across many surprising viewpoints and study results that others have seen in their crystal ball. This week, I’ll share a few things that I found especially interesting and insightful.

For example, crime analysts at the FBI tell us that only 6% to 7% of the U.S. population cause our legal problems. They are career criminals and most are repeat offenders. Sadly, you take one bad guy off the street and another one takes his place.

In the United States, women spend an average of four hours a day on unpaid work, while men spend about 2.5 hours. Talk about gender inequality.

A study shows that caring for family members makes life deeply meaningful and it helps everyone, those giving the care and those receiving it, when those duties are shared.

The Department of Health and Human Services said about seven in 10 people (69%) turning age 65 today will need, at some point, some type of long-term care services either at home, in their community or in a facility.

Typically, women need care longer (3.7 years on average) than men (2.2 years). About one-third of people who are 65 may never need long-term care, 20% will need it longer than five years. Have you thought about this?

The study estimates that about half (52%) of all Americans turning 65 today will develop a disability serious enough to require long-term services and support. It’s not only difficult getting old, it’s expensive and needs to be a part of your retirement planning.

We’re close to having the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. The stock market is still going forward after a 10-year bull market. Good times don’t last forever and the next recession will likely catch us by surprise.

Investment fund superstar Bill Miller is always asked his outlook. He recently said “Anyone’s ability to predict the stock market and the future of the economy rounds to zero. The future is unknowable; the economy is highly complicated.”

Miller believes the good times will continue until the economy rolls over to recession and earnings turn down, which is not happening at this time. Second, Miller will get defensive when the stock market gets expensive relative to other investment choices, which happened in 1999, but is not the case now.

From 1991 to 2005, Miller beat the S&P 500 index 15 years in a row when he managed Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust fund. He currently runs the Miller Value Partners. Remember, no one is right all of the time.

There is no doubt the world is getting smarter and more educated. Despite the explosion of time and labor-saving technology, our problems have gotten bigger. Forecasters tell us this transformation is only beginning.

Incredible ingenuity has caused radical changes in our daily routines. We create new products daily to solve problems we never knew we had. It makes us wonder how our ancestors survived 50 to 100 years ago without today’s modern marvels.

In the 1960s, there were about 70 million jobs in the United States. When computers and technology came along, people were afraid those new super computers would eliminate tens of millions of jobs and unemployment would devastate the economy.

Today, there are 170 million jobs and now, we’re afraid that a new wave of technology — artificial intelligence, automation and robots — will put our labor force on the sidelines.

The fact is in May, there were 7.5 million unfilled jobs in the United States and only 5.8 million people seeking work. “Labor demand is still strong” said the Labor Department. Many industries need an influx of workers to sustain growth.

Looking ahead, the federal and state governments will not become smaller or less expensive to run. There is no political will for a smaller government. So don’t hold out any hope for that miracle happening.

We may complain about big government, but most people benefit from big government. The government is a “check-writing machine” and without those government checks, the economy would grind to a halt and there would be economic chaos.

The country has dug a deep hole with its spending programs. State and federal governments have made enormous unfunded future commitments that guarantee future tax increases and new user fees.

If our government wasn’t in trouble before, it is now and it can’t solve those problems, let alone solve the growing discord that people want the government to do something about.

What are the odds the government will end partisan rancor and move forward on immigration, inequality, climate change, infrastructure repair and expansion, education reform, health care, drug pricing and trafficking, entitlement funding and green proposals?

Young Americans see the mess that has been created, and many of them are willing to forsake capitalism and give socialism a try. Don’t they realize capitalism is what made today’s modern marvels possible?

Be careful what you wish for. There are unintended consequences to be paid for, whatever direction we take.