January 4, 2010
For the last week or two “experts” and pundits have been making their forecasts for 2010. I always take these forecasts with a grain of salt. The people making the forecasts generally have some skin in the game and will tailor their forecast to benefit their particular agenda or investment portfolio.
I pride myself on dishing out punishment to both political parties and most investment shills. I will take on the thankless task of predicting the future.
Below are my prognostications in the areas of the economy, domestic politics, global geopolitics, and the investment markets.
To date, the Federal Reserve has printed well over a trillion dollars in an attempt to evade a deflationary collapse, including a $700 billion bank bailout and a $787 billion stimulus package. And then there was $3 billion wasted on Cash for Clunkers ($24,000 per vehicle), $28 billion squandered on the $8,500 homebuyer tax credit, and an artificial suppressing of interest rates to 0 percent with $300 billion of mortgage-backed securities purchased by the Federal Reserve and Treasury. And all we’ve received is a 2.2 percent increase in GDP?
The fourth quarter of 2009 will show a positive GDP as government spending and Federal Reserve quantitative easing have continued at a rapid clip. As the government stimulus winds down in the first half of 2010, the true weakness of the economy will reveal itself. I expect a double dip recession commencing by June of 2010.
With the economy sinking back into recession, the official unemployment rate will exceed 11 percent by late 2010. The true non-government manipulated figure will approach the Great Depression levels of 25 percent.
Over 8 million Americans have lost their jobs since 2007. The side effects from this fact will ripple through the country for years.
One quarter of all homeowners in the U.S. is underwater in their mortgages. A tsunami of Alt-A and Option ARM mortgages will reset in 2010. These two developments will lead to another surge in foreclosures. Despite government attempts to interfere in the market, home prices will fall another 10 percent in 2010.
The continued weakness in employment and housing will lead to a further drop in retail sales.
Developers of malls, office buildings, hotels, condos and apartments will pay the piper in 2010. Billions in debt related to projects built in 2005 will need to be refinanced. These properties have dropped 30 percent to 40 percent in value.
The continued weakness in retail sales will lead to retail bankruptcies and store closings. Fewer tenants means less rental income for mall owners. There will be a record number of commercial real estate bankruptcies in 2010. The bulk of these losses will be borne by regional banks.
There were 150 bank failures in 2009. The FDIC just announced they would add 1,600 employees in 2010, doubling their work force. There will be 500 bank failures in 2010.
The Federal Budget for 2010 anticipates a $1.5 trillion deficit. I believe the Obama administration will pull out all the stops to boost the economy before the 2010 elections. This means more spending. The 2010 deficit will be closer to $2 trillion.
The bond market and foreign buyers will choke on this amount of debt. The result will be much higher interest rates. Ten year Treasuries will start the year at 3.8 percent; by year end, rates will exceed 5 percent.
As the world loses confidence in the American economy and leadership, the dollar will fall to new all-time lows falling by another 15 percent. A falling dollar will result in a surge in gold and silver. Gold will break $1,500 an ounce, with silver breaking $20 an ounce.
As world demand increases and peak oil becomes acknowledged, oil prices will exceed $100 a barrel further depressing the U.S. economy.
Congress will pass the Obama healthcare plan by the end of January. The outrage will be palpable.
Obama will then announce another stimulus program and call it a “jobs program.” This will cost another $200 billion.
In February, the government will formally take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These unprecedented reckless interventions in our supposedly free markets will lead to huge Democratic losses in the 2010 Congressional elections. They will lose 50 seats in the House and 6 seats in the Senate.
As the economy deteriorates the stock market will drop by 30 percent in the first half of 2010. After the Republicans regain power in Washington DC, the stock market will rally.
The biggest wildcards in 2010 will come from outside the U.S.
The uprisings in Iran are likely to provoke the current leadership to stir up more trouble in Afghanistan and Iraq. The imposition of sanctions by the U.S. could also provoke Iran to lash out against Israel. This region is a powder keg with matches being lit every day. I expect Israel to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before the end of 2010. Iran’s response will be to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz. This will bring the U.S. Navy into conflict with Iran. Oil prices will soar when this conflict breaks out. The conflict in Afghanistan will worsen, with more American soldiers losing their lives. Tensions between Pakistan and India will increase as terrorists again attack within India.
Economically, Eastern Europe will crash with Greece, Latvia, and Hungary defaulting on their debt. This will plunge European banks into deeper losses and cause the next leg down in Europe. These foreign risks have the potential to spiral out of control.
You may have noticed that I’m not too optimistic about 2010. Let’s hope I’m wrong.
Cutting Edge Economic Crisis Analyst James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. This article reflects the personal views of James Quinn. It does not necessarily represent the views of his employers, and is not sponsored or endorsed by them.
January 5, 2010
I have been sitting here listening to Brannon Howse interviewing world trend forecaster Gerald Celente. It was one of the most interesting interviews I have heard in a long time. Celente is not a prophet so what he says will not necessarily take place, but I think you would have to be foolish to discount all of what Gerald Celente is saying. The man certainly calls them like he sees them, and he does not pull his punches.
Trend researchers study today’s current events that will bring tomorrow’s effects. I see much the same things as Celente coming, but I am not as sure of the timing as he is. Celente has a whole staff to analyze all the issues and he has had a very good track record in predicting world trends. That is also why Gerald Celente is now a very hot item on talk shows.
Celente sees the crash coming in 2010, so if you believe he really knows what he is talking about, there is little time left to prepare.
Here are some highlights of the Celente interview, at least that is what I got out of listening to the program, but listen to the Celente interview yourself if you can spare an hour.
- In 2010 there will be a major terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 because we continue to make many new enemies due to our foreign wars, and also because WMD are getting easier for enemies of America to obtain.
- The attack will bring the world into the greatest depression because governments do not have any more resources to advert it.
- Even if there is no attack there will be an economic collapse in 2010 for any number of reasons.
- There will be a run on the banks and the government will close all the banks for a period of time to devalue the dollar.
- America is now under the control of banksters and the military industrial complex.
- America is under fascism.
- There will be major social breakdown in the big cities. There already is in some cities.
- People need to come up with a plan for how they will get through the coming crash and disorder.
- Martial law and the loss of more rights will take place.
- A false flag operation may take place.
- A huge anti-immigration movement will take place all over the world.
- A third party will form in the U.S. in 2012 and change government.
- Secession movements will grow and the United States will eventually break up into smaller nations. [Editor's Note: The states are dependent on the federal government as their biggest source of revenue, so I do not see this happening.]
- If America or Israel attacks Iran it will be the start of World War III.
- Saudi Arabia is involved in a war in Yemen, and oil installations in Saudi Arabia may now be at risk. Should an attack occur on a Saudi oil field, it could spike oil prices enough to cause the economic crash.
Translated by LCCC Chairman, Elias Bejjani
January 1, 2010
- 2010 will witness the most destructive wars in modern history
- 2010 will determine the fate of Iran and Lebanon for many years
- 2010 will observe a bitter end of Hezbollah and the destruction of Syria's missile and chemical programs
The first two are the Taliban regime of Afghanistan and that of Baathist Saddam Hussein in Iraq, which were toppled by force in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks by Osama bin Laden's Al Qaida group that targeted New York's twin towers and the Pentagon in Washington.
As a result of this deadly attack, Lebanon's political and military map was changed in the aftermath of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war. By the end of this devastating war, an Israeli security belt was established inside the entire southern Lebanese territory as far as 20 miles to the south of the Litani area.
In 2000 Israel withdrew its troops from a previous security belt in southern Lebanon, to a distance not exceeding four kilometers. This new wide Israeli belt on her borders inside Lebanon is maintained by a force from 34 countries under the UN flag, and not by her own troops as was the situation before 2000.
Meanwhile, Lebanon, Syria and Iran were forced to approve the redeployment of the Lebanese army in the entire southern region, including the Lebanese–Israeli borders after it was driven away by the Syrian occupation all through its 30-year occupation of Lebanon.
At the same time, the Syrian occupation of Lebanon was knocked out in a successful political war in 2005 in which the Lebanese "David" defeated the Syrian "Juliet" and the Syrian army was forced to withdraw from Lebanon with accordance with UN Resolution 1559 after 30 years of brutal and savage occupation of the country.
Still in the Middle East, last year the creeping Iranian military invasion has viciously reached Saudi Arabia's southern borders with Yemen, where a fierce war is waging, probably in its last stages, in which the Iranians and their Yemeni Al-Howthy proxy are heading to a significant defeat.
In 2010, weapons of mass destruction that were developed after the unprecedented Iraq war, will probably determine the fate of at least two Middle East countries and that of a mini-state: Iran and its nuclear program, Lebanon and Hezbollah, and the Gaza Palestinian Strip mini-state.
It is expected that events will unfold in a dramatic way that could be much more catastrophic and destructive than all the previous wars that hit the region throughout the past 50 years. Analysts assume that these coming wars will remove all obstacles that US President Barack Obama is presently facing in his endeavor to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict which has been raging for the last 61 years.
In the midst of all these dramatic foreseen events, Syria and Lebanon will have no other option but to the sign a peace treaty in compliance with Israel's terms.
After containing the major Middle East conflicts, it is expected that the mighty Western countries will seriously focus their military interventions to resolve and end conflicts in three fragile countries, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia, in a bid to put an end to the problems that these three unstable countries are inflicting on their neighboring countries and on global peace and order.
Meanwhile, Syria and Lebanon might encounter a serious internal crisis as a result of the indictments and arrest warrants the Special International Tribunal for Lebanon is scheduled to issue. Hezbollah is expected to use its weapons internally to deter the Lebanese government from extraditing the witnesses and the accused that could include its elite leadership. This Iranian armed militia will replicate its May 2008 military invasion of Sunni western Beirut and the Druze Mount Lebanon that was waged to stop by force and terrorism the Lebanese government from dismantling its illegal telecommunication network and to transfer the head of security at Beirut airport who happens to be a Hezbollah loyalist.
Lebanon and Hezbollah
Israeli experts at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Universities strongly believe that the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad regime in Tehran could pre-empt any international military attack against its nuclear program and start a war against Israel from south Lebanon through Hezbollah and several Palestinian armed militias allied with Syria that are stationed in Lebanon.
These experts say that such an Iranian act will give Israel's Netanyahu government the needed justifications to go ahead and wage an unprecedented destructive war against both Hezbollah and Lebanon and totally cripple their capabilities for many years to come.
These same experts predict that Israel will need from five to six weeks to totally liquidate and eliminate Hezbollah's leadership, including Hassan Nasrallah, his deputy, Naim Qassem, all the military and political teams working with them, and to dismantle the Lebanese army structure and all its security apparatus that is still following the Syrian doctrine that Syria enforced during 30 years of her tutelage of Lebanon. The Israeli forces will target the Lebanese army leadership, weapons' caches, barracks, facilities, and members throughout Lebanon.
Despite the fact that the Syrian Baathist regime has been avoiding during the last three decades any direct military confrontation or even friction with the Israeli army, the Israeli analysts are under the impression that their country will widen its hit on Syrian targets to include sites in the capital Damascus and in the northern Syrian regions up to the Turkish border in a bid to once and forever eliminate Syria's chemical and missile programs in addition to the nuclear sites that were built with North Korean and Iranian experts. Syria would be hit more massively if it turns out to the Israelis that Hezbollah's long-range missiles that could target Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities were Syrian-made (an argument Israel's generals have been contemplating for a while).
Experts estimate the number of Israeli casualties as a result of the Iranian and Syrian missiles that Hezbollah would launch on Israeli cities and towns in this coming war between 1,000 and 2,000, with a twofold number of injured. Meanwhile, the Hezbollah and Lebanese losses will be four to five times greater than their casualties of the 2006 war. These losses will be around 8,000 dead and twice as many wounded. Many Shiite border villages as well towns and cities in the Bekaa valley and Beirut's southern suburbs will be totally destroyed and cease to exist.
Experts estimate the number of the Lebanese that would be displaced from their homes, mainly from south Lebanon, the Bekaa valley and southern Beirut suburbs would be more than a million citizens, with most of them taking refuge in Syria at this time. The same scenario indicates that the Lebanese economic infrastructure will be destroyed and transformed into mere ruins, while all international and Arabic efforts through the convening of aid conferences (e.g. Paris 2 and Paris 3 were special international economic conferences held in Paris to aid Lebanon in reconstruction) in order to raise funds for reconstruction will take for many years to be productive.
British defense officials have affirmed that this grim, intimidating and scary picture predicted by the Israeli experts for the coming year seems to be very close to the actual devastating reality that will hit Lebanon in the next war. The Israelis, as they are advocating worldwide, are solidly determined to close the Hezbollah case once and or all, due to the fact that wish to eliminate the possibility of any future wars and finally achieve security on their northern border.