Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fearless Predictions For 2012

Caption: "Answer unclear".

Image credit: Mashup of this image and this one by Cujo359

I hate to make predictions, since I hate having to grind my teeth months later when I see what I wrote. Nevertheless, since I published these in a comment elsewhere, here are mine for 2012:
  • Occupy will continue to change tactics. Realizing that their nonstop protests aren’t getting it done, they’ll make more efforts to cost Goldman Sachs, et. al., real money in hopes that they’ll change their ways. I think those predicting that there will be violence at one or both of the party conventions next year are accurate. What I will add to those predictions is that the violence will be mostly, if not entirely, perpetrated by police.
  • The Republicans will nominate someone “safe”, like Mitt Romney, for President. He will win. Between progressives being so unconcerned with Obama’s re-election, and times getting even worse, he won’t stand a chance.
  • Times will get worse. The stimulus has run out, and there’s nothing to replace it. Government will respond by doing the same things that got us here – more austerity, and less regulation.
Of these predictions, I think only the last one needs any elaboration. The first is pretty vague, but the events it describes are subject to rather vague forces, so I don't think one can do much better.

The economy will continue to get worse. By that, I mean that it will grow at a rate that is less than that which will create net jobs beyond what is needed for an expanding population. That typically means something less than two-ish percent growth. No, you don't get to say I was wrong if growth is 2.1 percent. You get to say I was wrong if there were more than a million net jobs added next year. That means a million beyond labor force growth, which I would conservatively define as:

12 months * 90,000 jobs/month = 1.08 million jobs.

So, if the numbers of employed grow by more than two million jobs, I was wrong. I say that this is a conservative estimate, because it's the smallest number of new laborers per month that I've seen any credible economists use. I think that number should be higher, but we'll be conservative here.

We'll be lucky if there's any net growth at all. Nothing that either our government or Europe's various governments are doing instill any confidence at all that things will get better. Austerity will continue until the economy improves, which is to say that the economy will not improve.

So there, fearless predictions. For the most part, this is obvious. The only risky one is predicting that Obama won't be re-elected, but I'd give that one at least two to one odds of being right.


Paul Sunstone said...

How about a gentleman's bet? I'll wager Obama wins. Are we on?

Cujo359 said...

No. Given the ability of Obama supporters to grasp at rhetorical straws, I don't want to give them the opportunity to think I have a motive like this one if I recommend later that people vote third party, or for the Republican nominee.

Cujo359 said...

I'll just add that two to one odds mean that I still think it's quite possible for Obama to win. A whole lot of things need to go right for him, but it's possible, given the state of the political "opposition" at the moment.