If I may be allowed... These are some things that might happen this year, and which would not surprise me in the least. Not predictions, for I might be tempted to quietly root for the team of 'Me', and snicker a little each time I'm proven right. Note that most of these items are negative. That's just my nature shining through.
- At least two dozen smaller municipalities will go utterly broke, and declare some form of insolvency/bankruptcy. Towns, counties, small cities..... and in every case they will cite pension responsibilities and falling tax revenue. Look for many smaller towns and cities to dissolve in order to shift financial burdens onto other entities.
- At least two states will do the same, California and Illinois. If not officially, then by any other name they choose. We will know it when they fail in their pension obligations, drastically cut welfare programs, and generally become so noted for NOT paying their bills that commercial operations will not deal with the state.
- Five states will have their bond ratings dropped to 'junk', or worse. New jersey, New York, Illinois, Ohio, California, and Oregon.
- In 2010 three states either delayed or refused to give citizens tax refunds owed them; California, New York, and Pennsylvania. They got away with it. In 2011 fifteen states will do the same thing.
- There will be several incidents where 'Public Mobs' will physically attack public officials in anger over taxes, spending increases, and acts of official arrogance.
- The new Republican house will be declared a failure by at least half the political groups out there, and it will happen before they are in office for a month. Everything they do will be wrong, and most especially, everything they don't do will be wrong.
- 2010 saw a record number of bank failures, each taken over and bailed out by the FDIC. 2011 will see double the 2010 numbers, and the FDIC and Department of the Treasury will very quietly demand federal funding in unlimited amounts to float insolvent institutions.
- President Obama will begin campaigning for a second term, despite having record breaking low approval ratings.
- The Republican party will dissolve into incestuous infighting, as career politicians demand to be anointed as presidential contenders, but the party base turns away from the political machine in disgust.
- Rahm Emanuel will be elected mayor of Chicago, serve for less than a year, and then be charged with at least twelve felonies. The Democratic party machine will abandon him to the political wolves.
- The 'Tea Party' will continue to grow, and at least three groups claiming to be 'The Official Tea Party' will register as traditional political parties. At least one of these will be found to be utterly fake, and composed solely of Democrat party activists. No true 'Tea Party' political party will actually exist as a single entity, but almost 40% of the American people will identify themselves as Tea Party oriented. This will enrage Democrat party activists to new heights, including violent reprisals at rallies and events. The Republican leadership, on the other hand, will be deathly frightened of the Tea Party voters, and attempt to court and deride them at the same time (Safest prediction of all, isn't it?).
- Unemployment numbers will become so jumbled that nobody can determine exactly how many folks are out of work. The reality will become apparent when benefits run out of funding, and Congress will be faced with piling up the national debt deeper, or having riots across the nation. Due to this, Congress will raise the national dept ceiling to $15,500,000,000,000 from it's present $14,400,000,000,000 limit.
- There will be a news story meme concerning people who go 'John Galt', giving up working and simply living on their assets, effectively retiring. This will be so attractive to the minority of Americans who pay enough taxes to support the nation, that a wave of such 'retirements' will sweep the nations. There will be a noticeable drop in tax revenues at all levels because of this.
- Gasoline consumption in the United States dropped 20% over 2009 and 2010. That trend will continue through 2011. In part, due to more fuel efficient vehicles, but mostly caused by rising fuel costs and lack of discretionary funds. Gas will cost more than people can afford, so they will curtail driving. As an unintended consequence, revenue from fuel taxes will fall significantly, and government entities will respond by raising levies.... in effect causing a vicious cycle. Look for massive subsidies to the airline and trucking industries to overcome the effect of skyrocketing fuel and fuel tax costs. The subsidies will fail, as they will mostly take the shape of political payoffs to union run operations.
Update: It would have been nice if we could have reached more than A WEEK into the new year before some of these were proven right. SHEEESH!