Predictions: Did It Happen?

February 8, 2011. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the U.S. is in no danger of losing its Aaa debt rating. “’Absolutely not,’” Geithner said, when asked in an ABC News interview whether a downgrade is a concern. “‘That will never happen to this country,'” as quoted in Bloomberg News.

Was he right?

No. Six months later, S&P downgraded U.S. debt to AA+.

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January 4, 2011. Walmart CEO Bill Simon predicts “serious” inflation in coming months clothing, food and other products. “We’re seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate,” he told USA Today.

Was he right?

The overall inflation rate for 2011 was 3.4 percent. Up from 1.5 percent for 2010. Doesn’t seem serious, but actually a 3.4 percent inflation rate means prices double every approximately 20 years. Among other things, that’s demeaning to ole’ George Washington’s face on the dollar bill. Blame the folks at the Fed for that.

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July 21, 2011. Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace, writing in MarketWatch.com. The title of his article: “Why We’ll Have 10% Unemployment Soon.”

Was he right?

No. Unemployment now stands at 8.5 percent. Still way too high for comfort, but substantially lower than Mr. Reeves’ prediction.

Predictions: Did it Happen?

Jump back three years ago, October 8, 2008, on the eve of Barack Obama’s election to president. An article in the American Spectator by Peter Ferrara reviewed a newly released book by Steve Moore, Art Laffer and Peter Tanous, titled The End of Prosperity.

Writes Ferrara,

The book explains in full detail the economic disaster that will befall America if it takes a sharp left turn to neo-socialism under the leadership of the far left President Barack Obama, the ultraleft Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with 60 liberal Democrat Senators, and their pal the ultraliberal Howard Dean heading the Democrat party.

He continues,

One of the insights of the book is that a major factor already tanking the stock market and leading foreign capital to flee America is the threat of the economic policies promised by Obama. Obama proposes increases in every major federal tax, on savers, investors, employers, small business, big business, and anyone who would start a business. Obama also promises to add additional federal spending of almost $1.5 trillion over the next four years ….That would be on top of all the spending increases already scheduled for our exploding entitlements and other programs. Obama also promises a massive increase in regulatory controls….These retrograde economic would ultimately produce a deep, long term decline in America’s standard of living, particularly for the middle class and working people. America would actually fall behind countries around the world.

Ferrara indicated that what happened under President Carter was a precursor to what was to happen under Obama:

The poverty rate actually started increasing in 1978 during the Carter years, eventually climbing by an astounding 33%, from 11.4% to 15.2%. A fall in real median family income that began in 1978 snowballed to a decline of almost 10% by 1982. Average real family income for the lowest income 20% declined by 14.2%. Indeed, during the Carter years (1977 to 1980), real income declined for every quintile, from the lowest 20% to the highest 20%.

So, three years later, here in October 2011, were the predictions of Ferrara, Moore, Laffer, and Tanous correct?

If you were an Obama supporter, you would have laughed off their predictions as being absurd. But how wrong you would have been. Their predictions were excruciatingly on target. As discussed three posts below, the poverty rate is the highest it’s been since 1993. And average real family income has declined to levels not seen in 15 years.

Seems, though, that the authors were a bit off on their prediction that Obama would add additional federal spending of almost $1.5 trillion over the next four years. It turns out that Obama has added at least $3 trillion in additional federal spending in three years. (The amount by which our national debt has shot up during that time.)

Ferrara’s article was presciently titled: Prepare for the Worst.

The Obama-Pelosi-Reid episode is proof positive if you let big-government policies flourish, the consequences are tragic. We need new leadership. Fast.

So Much for Prognostication

 

Fred Barnes,  2010 (Link):

“Oh, yes. The health care bill, ObamaCare, is dead with not the slightest prospect of resurrection. Brown ran to be the 41st vote for filibuster and now he is just that. Democrats have talked up clever strategies to pass the bill in the Senate despite Brown, but they won’t fly. It’s one thing for ObamaCare to be rejected by the American public in poll after poll. But it becomes a matter of considerably greater political magnitude when ObamaCare causes the loss of a Senate race in the blue state of Massachusetts.”

Predictions: Did It Happen?

Center for American Regress* president John Podesta’s remarks on Saturday, January 16, as reported in The Daily Caller: “He said that the flood of national Democratic resources into the state to run television ads and organize get out the vote efforts, would likely combine with President Obama’s visit to the state Sunday afternoon to give Coakley the edge. ‘It’s highly likely the president’s visit will push her over the finish line,’ Podesta said.”
Prediction Occur? Negative.

So much for the art of trying to predict an election. I don’t tread on that territory. Kind of like trying to predict which way a stock is going to go. Often a losing game.

*Note: The actual name of Mr. Podesta’s organization contains the word “Progress”, but I replaced it with “Regress” because it is a more accurate reflection of what the policy prescriptions of Podesta’s organization would accomplish.

Predictions: Did It Happen?

Charles Krauthammer, July 2009:
“Yes, Obama’s aura has diminished, in part because of overweening overexposure. But by year’s end he will emerge with something he can call health care reform. The Democrats in Congress will pass it because they must. Otherwise, they’ll have slain their own savior in his first year in office.” Link
Prediction occur? Yes.
Update, January 2010, post Scott-Brown victory: For awhile there it looked like Obama had it in the bag. Not so sure now.
Update, April 2010. Krauthammer right on, after all.

John Bolton, July 2009:
“Yet Iran’s progress with nuclear weapons and air defenses means Israel’s military option is declining over time. It will have to make a decision soon, and it will be no surprise if Israel strikes by year’s end. Israel’s choice could determine whether Iran obtains nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future.” Link
Prediction Occur? No.

Predictions from earlier years that have not happened – that hopefully never will happen, but still very worrisome:

Niall Ferguson, January 2006:
“The devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007 represented not only the failure of diplomacy, it marked the end of the oil age. Some even said it marked the twilight of the West. Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to vindicate the Bush administration’s original principle of pre-emption. For, if that principle had been adhered to in 2006, Iran’s nuclear bid might have been thwarted at minimal cost. And the Great Gulf War might never have happened.” Link
Prediction occur? No.

Pat Robertson, January 2007:
“Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson predicted Tuesday a horrific terrorist act on the United States that will result in ‘mass killing’ late in 2007. ‘I’m not necessarily saying it’s going to be nuclear,’ he said during his news-and-talk television show The 700 Club on the Christian Broadcasting Network ‘The Lord didn’t say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that.’ Robertson said God told him during a recent prayer retreat that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September.’I put these things out with humility,’ he said. Link
Prediction Occur? Robertson humbled.