Bloomberg did something adorable this weekend, they took some of the gloomier prognostications you’ll find out there and created a slideshow (note to Bloomberg: people who can read despise slideshows unless the images are breathtaking or there is so much content it needs to be segmented, in this case the format was totally unnecessary).
Here were a couple of forecasts I found interesting (un-slideshowed and minus the pointless stock images):
John Hussman: Encouraging data about the U.S. economy in December and early January failed to impress John Hussman, president of Hussman Econometrics Advisors. He insisted in a Jan. 9 commentary that the full set of economic evidence still implies “a nearly immediate global economic downturn.” The “marginal” improvement in data does bring the probability of recession to “less than 100 percent,” he said, “but it remains the most probable outcome at present.”
Gary Shilling: A. Gary Shilling, president of A. Gary Shilling & Co., warns of a “severe” recession in Europe in 2012, potentially worse than the U.S.’s 2008-2009 slowdown. Without a common fiscal policy in Europe, “it makes it much more difficult to react to weak economic times,” he says, speaking in a Jan. 12 interview. Also, U.S. consumers will pull back on spending this year, he says. They spent more freely until December, “but they didn’t have the income advances to support it.” In China, he predicts a “hard landing” in 2012, with growth falling from “double digits” to 5 or 6 percent.
Jeremy Gratham: Jeremy Grantham, chief investment strategist of GMO, warned in 2009 that the world, and particularly the U.S., was in for “seven lean years” as it recovered from debt, declines in asset values and “gross financial incompetence.” In December, Grantham wrote that “Sadly, I feel increasingly vindicated” by this forecast. Also, he says, economic growth in the U.S. and developed world “have permanently slowed.” Other factors that will hurt the economy include “depleting resources,” global warming and, in the U.S., failing infrastructure, an ineffective educational system and income inequality.
All your other favorites are in there, from Stephen Roach to Meredith Whitney to Bill Gross to Jim Chanos. Head over in case you can’t find that copy of the Michael Keaton movie where he’s dying and making videos for his kids to watch once he’s gone.