ANDY THOMAS: Annual Predictions Given and Revisited
It's that time again for New Year's predictions.
Just for the record, my 2008 predictions were 63 percent -- down from 2007, when they were 65 percent correct. Previous records include 52 percent in 2006, 49 percent in 2005, 58 percent in 2004 and 34 percent in 2003.
Here are my '09 predictions:
World Economy: The recession will envelope the world as never before, and financial failures in banking, real estate and industry will see the world's economy in a tailspin. It will be much like hurricane Katrina, except the eye of the storm hasn't hit yet. I predict the financial eye of the storm will hit sometime during 2009 and that the recovery, like Katrina, will take three to five years (2012-2014). Hope I'm wrong. The Euro will falter, and there will be unrest amongst the European Union. Weak states, financially, will apply for bailout help.
The World: Aided by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Obama's presence will begin to foster better relations in many areas where the U.S. was not previously favored. This will include Iran, but internal strife there, owing to lower oil prices, will make them a dicey player in world politics. Recession will become pandemic, and new rules of capitalism will be necessary and forthcoming. Britain's Gordon Brown will be ousted.
The Nation: Based on the poor economic environment, Obama and Congress will create some new tools, rules and legislation in an effort to bolster our situation -- some program akin to the 1939 WPA (Works Progress Administration). After the Fed lowers the prime rate to 0.125 percent, it cannot stimulate credit markets any further. Chrysler and General Motors will merge into a single company.
The State: N.C. unemployment will near 12 percent. Gov. Bev Perdue will initiate new programs and spending cuts to address the state's serious economic problems.
The Sandhills: Pinewild's annexation won't happen. Coach Metzger's Pinecrest Patriot football team will win its conference.
NewCore will continue to attract controversy. Leith will break ground for a U.S. 1 auto dealership.
Sports and Entertainment: The N.Y. Giants will win the Super Bowl. Boston Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins will win their respective champion-ships. "Marley and Me" and "Doubt" will win Oscars. Oklahoma will beat Florida for the BCS championship. Rookie Stacy Lewis will win an LPGA event.
Now, here are a few things that did or did not happen in 2008, as I did or did not predict last January
World Economy: I did not predict any recession or economic troubles like many others. It came as a very unpleasant surprise. Give credit to the Royal Bank of Scotland, which, on June 20, 2008, warned clients "to brace for a full-blown crash in the global stock-and-bond markets over the next three months as the conflicting realities of slowing growth and rising inflation paralyze the world's major central banks -- causing 'all the chickens to come home to roost'" in Britain's Daily Telegraph. However, my July 30 column did mention that "for the first time I can remember, my gut tells me we are in for worse times ahead. (And indeed, they are here.)
The World: Troops didn't withdraw from Iraq, and Pakistan has become a threat. Korea backed off its nuclear arms project. Mumbai fulfilled our prediction of a terrorist strike. Uprisings in Kenya kept Africa on edge. There were significant weather disasters.
The Nation: Mitt Romney didn't become our new president; and Hillary Clinton wasn't the Democratic nominee.
The State: Bill Graham wasn't elected governor, but the drought subsided and taxes were increased.
The Sandhills: Pinewild's annexation didn't take effect, but the roundabout was built after a court's ruling. The Pinecrest Patriot football team won seven games, and there is a new occupant for the Razook's building (although rumors indicate the village has some issues).
The steakhouse restaurant replacing La Terrace hasn't opened yet, and the Pine Needles Village project was shot down (unfortunately, in my opinion).
Business and Industry: The Dow-Jones Industrials exceeded 14,000 this year, and the price of oil rose over $100 per barrel. Who could have ever predicted our worldwide financial meltdown?
Health: New heart medicine WAS approved by the FDA. Americans' average life span DID increase.
Sports and Entertainment: The Beijing Olympics were successful, but the Red Sox and the New England Patriots didn't win world championships. The Ottawa Senators didn't win the Stanley Cup but the Boston Celtics did win the NBA crown. LSU beat Ohio State for the BCS championship. "The Bucket List" won Oscars and Britney Spears was arrested.
Your columnist's 73rd birthday is today, and he will use "73" (often employed by amateur radio as an abbreviation for "best regards") to wish you a Happy New Year.
Andy Thomas lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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