As the department of labor announces that "long term" unemployment will have a new definition starting next year, to extend the range covered from two years to five, the Conference Board, apparently a business group, announces that consumer confidence has fallen to yet another record low. "Unexpectedly" too.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I haven't seen any crowing in the news about how Christmas sales have ridden in like the cavalry and saved the economic day.
After a while one begins to wonder if the sun rises unexpectedly in the East every morning for some of these people. Still, their unblemished record of being wrong is not encouraging with regards to prospects in the upcoming year.
Speaking of the upcoming year, it's time for everybody to toss out a piece predicting events in the coming year.
1) The Broncos will not go to the super bowl, never mind winning it.
2) Kim Jong-Il will die and a coalition of generals will make his kid disappear, then begin resolution talks with the South OR Kim Jong-Il will die and the next chapter of the Korean war will break out. Obama will remain scrupulously neutral.
3) At some point, countries in the Euro zone with growing economies and not too badly out of balance budgets will decide that they don't want to support the spendthrifts. To that end, a national version of bankruptcy will be established, with Italy becoming the trustee for Greece with a warning that if anything goes wrong, both countries go to France. Spain will be turned over to Germany and a sternly worded letter will be sent to Portugal warning them to toe the line or join the Spaniards. O.K. this one's a long shot.
4) The drug war in Mexico will spill over into the U.S. with a major battle and high body count. Obama will remain scrupulously neutral.
5) The Supreme court will strike down Obamacare and the FCC's Net Neutrality. Both 5-4.
6) Unemployment at the end of the year will still be above 9%.
7) Despite being one of the biggest black holes for money in the state budget, the Light Rail project will not suffer any significant setback.
What do you think?