I am going to put some predictions into writing for the coming year. Then, if the Mayan calendar just expires and we are all still here this time next year, I will review how good or bad my predictions were.
- The European Union will continue to sputter from one crisis to the next. Germany will dominate the relationship to the envy of the Mediterranean members. Just like large U.S. banks, the EU is too big to fail. Look for bailouts from Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and even China.
- Bashar al-Assad will survive the Arab Spring in Syria with help from Iran and assistance from Russia and China at the United Nations. The Arab League will be a toothless tiger as long as foreign journalists are kept out of the country.
- Israel will be further isolated after severing diplomatic relations with Egypt.
- Iran will continue to rattle its sabres at the United States. But look for decisive military action against Iranian nuclear facilities by U.S. forces in late summer or early fall.
- Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt will shift further towards radical Islam.
- Violence will increase in Iraq as the Shia majority will ratchet-up its rivalry with the Sunni’s.
- A weakened Vladimir Putin will regain the Russian presidency then proceed to consolidate his power by cracking down on opponents. Mr. Putin believes he knows what is best for the Russian people, and any dissent will not be tolerated.
- North Korea will let the world know that the transition to Kim Jong Un is secure by provoking skirmishes with South Korea.
- China’s relationship with the United States will continue to deteriorate over trade protections and dominance over the South China Sea.
- Venezuela will see the end of Hugo Chavez but still be an economic basket case.
- With U.S. troops in the heart of Africa, watch for an increasing guerrilla war in Uganda and the Congo supported by outside players.
- Job numbers will continue modest growth in 2012, but the unemployment rate will increase as more job-seekers re-enter the market.
- Inflation will rise due to increased energy prices and trade tariffs with China.
- Housing will continue to struggle. The market price for homes will reach bottom next year. Supply will continue to outstrip demand as loan costs rise.
- Bank stocks will struggle due to wariness over exposure to European debt.
- United States automakers will see profits rise but GM and Chrysler will still not be able to pay taxpayer-bailouts back.
- Market forces and political realities will diminish investment and returns on green-energy projects. More Solyndra’s are waiting in the weeds. Green energy companies will look to California for survival.
- Apple will finally release the 4G iPhone 5. Consumers will continue to be disappointed by the lack of 4G area coverage.
- Online retailers will grow and consolidate. Apple’s iTunes store will morph into a one-stop shop like Amazon. Google will do so as well.
- The decline of major metropolitan newspapers will continue. More news will be read on e-readers than on paper.
- Retailers will offer free in-store WiFi to lure customers with sales and coupons that can be used while they shop.
- Facebook will be the largest IPO ever. Then watch as your Facebook page turns into a big billboard with advertisements linked to your posts.
- The proposed bullet train will have a merciful death.
- Californians will not vote themselves a tax increase in November.
- Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee. He will choose New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for vice-president. Christie will mercilessly attack President Obama.
- The Republicans will lose seats in the House but retain control.
- The Senate will turn towards the Republicans in November.
- Attorney General Eric Holder and Energy Secretary Steven Chu will resign next year.
- The individual mandate will be struck down by the Supreme Court. Other parts of Obamacare will be affirmed.
- Class warfare will continue as Obama paints Romney as the candidate of the rich over the middle-class. Portly Chris Christie will rebut those claims.
- The Justice Department will lose its battle against state voter I.D. laws.
- The Senate will fail to produce a budget for the fourth year in a row.
- Obama will use the State of the Union address to hammer Republicans over the payroll tax extension. He will claim we need to raise taxes for 10 years on “millionaires and billionaires” to pay for a 10-month tax cut on the middle-class.
- Ohio will deliver its electoral votes to the next President of the United States.
- The 2011 President-elect will be … Romney.