In 2006, I examined a series of surveys we conducted nationwide and then predicted a collapse of the housing market. Plenty others followed with similar forecasts and postmortems over the following months and years. But my column was among the first.
I’ve made predictions about other slowdowns in the American economy. I’ve been mostly correct, although in 2010, I suggested that the stock market ultimately would plunge. Turned out that it climbed instead of descending. The fact is that it’s easier to predict the weather next month than to get an accurate read on the future of the stock market.
My timing was off in predicting a plummeting of the stock market, my but theory still stands. But the sobering news may extend beyond just that. A more immediate happening could be the sudden and silent rise in the cost of living for average Americans, thanks to continuing stagnant wages, plus unemployment that is higher than the official numbers. These numbers don’t take into account the many who have fallen off the unemployment rolls or have simply given up looking for work.
It’s true enough that some of those who predict oil prices may be overstating the severity and the extent of the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. There is little question that the outcome of this broad geopolitical conflict probably won’t be decided for at least months.