Predictions for ’09 Reveal There Are No Experts

So, one hell of an ugly year is coming to a close. As usual, this event cues panels of “leaders” in various fields to opine about the coming 365 days. What will become of Tom and Katie? Will Cher remove another rib? Will the Celtics top the NBA again?

These days the doings of celebrities and (forgive me, Celtics) national sports are no longer as relevant as the economy, however. Luckily America has myriad experts on this last issue, and we need only to look at current conditions, both in California and the country as a whole, to judge these specialists’ true qualifications– or rather, lack thereof.

No one should be surprised then that as newspapers and blogs roll out the obligatory predictions  for ’09 articles, no consensus can be found. For instance, USA Today (that rag!) predicts a ray of sunshine:

“It may come as a surprise, given all the bad news of late, but the U.S. economy is expected to emerge from the recession sometime around mid-2009.” We’ll have some bad times, yes. “However, once the massive amount of fiscal stimulus currently being crafted by lawmakers and aggressive action by the Federal Reserve kicks in, the economy is expected to improve, according to several economists and business owners.”

Meanwhile, John Cassidy of Conde Nast’s “Portfolio” writes “Most economists predict a recovery late next year. Don’t bet on it.”  He’s not the only one who predicts bad times ahead for housing, jobs, retail, and even the entire world economy. Every media outlet– from the San Francisco Chronicle to the BBC online to the cheapest weekly you find on the street corner– has predictions; some are rosier and some are darker. In short, no one knows.

Still, an interesting point that Cassidy makes deserves attention. He writes:

Among noneconomists, there is much more concern about what lies ahead. In October, a CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe another 1930s-style depression is very or somewhat likely. Dismissing feel-good suggestions that the turmoil on Wall Street won’t have much impact on the rest of the economy, 55 percent of the respondents said the financial crisis would affect them personally within the next year. A separate poll for Condé Nast Portfolio shows that people working in the finance business are even gloomier: 77 percent of them say their industry is in a state of crisis, and 50 percent say the economy is the worst it has been in their careers.

So who are we to believe: the experts who failed to predict the current crisis or the great American public?

Indeed, what do you predict, public? Time to go on record now. Clearly, we need some actual experts.

Zoltar photo via TheGreenHead (also a source of 2009 predictions!)

17 thoughts on “Predictions for ’09 Reveal There Are No Experts

  1. We surely will get worse, but things should be back on track by spring for Real Estate as banks will be loosening the loan purse strings by then and sales will become easier.

  2. San Francisco needs jumbo rates to go down, or 10 % down financing, or both, in order for the market to return to any semblance of what it recently was. Six hundred twenty five thousand dollar conforming wouldn’t have helped us much if it was enacted back in January 2004, and isn’t going to help us out much now. I really don’t see that happening any time soon. This is not to say that Armageddon is upon us.

  3. RE agents will continue to claim that we have hit the bottom and that it’s a good time to buy.

    Some guy will claim that the RE market is not coming down in the specific neighborhood they are looking at so the downturn in RE market is a myth.

    Prices will continue to drop regardless of what the government will do.

    Cisco will have layoffs.

    I’ll continue to rent :)

  4. I’m interested in the disconnect b/t the upper echelon and the actual worker, especially white color financial professionals whose view is so disparate and frightening compared to the economic figure head. It seems like these happer predictions are calculated, meant to calm and restore consumer confidence. They don’t have to be true.

  5. Foreclosure rates in Prime SF will steadily rise throughout 2009 driving prices downward.

    Average DOM will continue to rise.

    4Q 2008 Statistics for SF will be major news when published.

    Case Shiller Threads will continue to be troll bait on SS.

    Obama and his administration will do everything in their power to preserve real estate prices and to keep people in their homes they likely cannot afford.

  6. Jahvid Best coming back to Cal for his Junior season next year is the only positive thing that I’m feeling right now. He’ll lead the Bears to a Rose Bowl berth for the first time in over 50 years and win himself a Heisman Trophy while he’s at it.

    The business climate continues to deteriorate with lay-offs accelerating into the new year. A jump in unemployment continues to put pressure on both corporate earnings and the housing market. The Federal Government will struggle with what to do throughout 2009 even with Obama taking control. Companies continue to batten down the hatches and proactively cut costs in expecting the worst case scenario. I work for a global blue chip company that just instituted a 5% (up to 20% for senior leadership) pay cut for all white collar employees. We are a very stable & profitable firm yet still implemented such a dramatic move in anticipation of a deeper recession. I’m an optimist by nature, but am having a difficult time seeing a light at the end of the tunnel right now.

    The plan for 2009 is to continue working hard, look at expenses closely to pare back where I can and paddle out for a surf often @ OB to forget about it all for a while.

  7. 41 Year Old Renters will become 42 year old renters, and still remain single because of their always depressing outlook :)

    Here’s to living life to the fullest for 2009! And that doesn’t include living in a crappy rental in our 40’s.

  8. I pat myself on the back every day FLUJster. Saved over $150,000 by not buying yet. Should I kick myself in the ass instead????

    Granted, some of us have better then a CC education.


  9. Joe, I guess it feels better to have lost 200K from your former 350K stock portefolio?

    there is no reason for being bitter. and yes, I believe that the millionaires who bought cash the 4+M homes in SF have made a smart move by cashing their stock and having a roof on their head – a cool roof.

    last, let’s remember that UNREALIZED losses are not losses (same goes for gains BTW). so unless you sell your house at a loss, there is no loss but in your fantasy. While “enron” (generic name for stocks I dont wish to name) stocks are indeed gone to fantasy land (and who knows which stocks will go there this season) – leaving a sore spot in many household budgets.

  10. “I pat myself on the back every day FLUJster. Saved over $150,000 by not buying yet. Should I kick myself in the ass instead????

    Granted, some of us have better then a CC education.


    Lovely. You know nothing about me, Joe. Congratulations on the saving.

  11. “Granted, some of us have better then a CC education.”

    Hate to go copy editor on you, but you called out my education. That wasn’t a typo either. A’s and e’s? Not keyboard typos. That was a grammar mistake. Nice one. Next time you call someone’s education out, Joe, try to come correct.

    I was making a bit of a joke about the “certain renters” thing. “Certain” renters? As in “certain people who say the same thing over and over again.” OK?

  12. Santa? You still around? I would like an ’09 with more intelligent commentary ON THE POST’S CONTENT and less petty sniper action.

    [Editor’s Note: So would we, but as you know, we try to stay out of the comment moderation nowadays.]

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