Sunday, February 17, 2013

My 2013 Predictions

A blog I once frequented regularly when I lived in Virginia invited readers and commentators to prognosticate last month about Obama’s second term.  

I bit, as follows, with my responses italicized and edited a bit for clarity.

1] & 2] Unemployment and GDP: There will be a recession in the 2nd term, Obama will blame it on Bush, Romney and Republican led House; imbecilic hero worshiping populous will believe Obama.   Unemployment will vacillate around 8 percent.   Labor participation rate will drop into the low sixties, food stamps users will grow to 55 million (food stamp recipient growth under Obama averaged 11,133 per day), and Romney’s 47 percent takers will rise to 52 percent, in other words everything will be wonderful on the progressive front – with more taking and less working we will be closer than ever to progressive utopia where it is what you grovel for, not what you earn, that counts.

3] Debt: $22 trillion.

4] Deficit: We’ll have our first $2 trillion annual deficit after a head fake just below a trillion dollar deficit in FY 2013 (courtesy of accelerated tax minimization asset sales).

5] Obamacare: We’ll now begin to learn what’s in the law, to wit, claims about lower cost and increased private sector coverage were fatuous lies.  Obamacare will be under assault by the right and the left, with the left moving full bore in support of government monopoly, purveying the lie that it will produce more and cost less.

6] Terrorism: Except for indiscriminate use of drones (Obama has murdered a 16 year-old US Citizen ) we will pull way back from addressing terrorism since impacts recently not on our shores; but just wait until the following five years.  Terrorist drones will become a real threat; what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

7] War: War hop scotching around Middle East and North Africa seeping into Israel. We’ll send weapons but not troops.

8] Foreign Policy: Do we have one?

9] Climate Change Policy: Obama will spend tens of billions of dollars annually tilting at windmills and basking in the sun, even though there is not a damn thing the US can do to cool off the earth by a fraction of a degree or lower the seas by a fraction of an inch.  It’s all a power play to give the Democratic thugs more control over our lives.

10] Immigration: Yeah, somehow, some way, something will pass because everyone wants to take credit for it.

So far, predictions are performing as follows:

1] GDP:  Initial Q4 GDP release is negative, first decline since the Great Recession, though caused more by creative bookkeeping at the Department of Defense, than anything else.   Another quarterly GDP drop would mean we are already in recession territory (Q4 GDP came out after my prediction).  But remember, there was supposedly a 14 percent increase in Q3 defense spending in the nick of time to drive Q3 GDP growth rate released just before election up to 3.1 percent, one of the two or three highest quarterly growth rates in many years. The compensating, supposed 22 percent decrease in Q4 defense spending, is what drove Q4 GDP negative.  It’s going to take a crazy negative in a major component to drive down GDP in Q1 of this year, which I thought not possible until I saw this snippet from Wal-Mart, relative to its February sales.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had the worst sales start to a month in seven years as payroll-tax increases hit shoppers already battling a slow economy, according to internal e-mails obtained by Bloomberg News.

“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal-Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”

Consumption expenditures are about two thirds of GDP.  Stay tuned.

2] Employment: In January the headline unemployment rate popped up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent the previous month (January unemployment came out after my prediction), as Obama’s “Built to Last” recovery continues.

3] Deficit:  The U.S. government ran a budget deficit of $172 billion in November bringing the total shortfall for the first two months of fiscal 2013 to $292 billion. But fear of tax increases drove a big December spurt in asset sales and realized capital gains, causing a one-time surge in tax revenue, so the US government broke even in December. Due in large part to that surge, CBO (whose estimate came out after my prediction) projects the FY 2013 deficit will drop below $1 trillion to $845 billion.

4] Debt:  US Debt rose by $220 billion October and November; at that rate accumulated debt will hit about $21.5 trillion at the end of Obama’s second term. As noted above, December results included one-time asset sales so cannot reliably be used to extrapolate.

5] Obamacare: We are learning what is in the law. Obamacare exchange costs are up 29 percent before the program even starts.  Under Obamacare smokers (up to 20 percent of the US population) can now be required pay more than $5,000 per year additional for healthcare premiums. I can’t wait to see when and how the Obama administration targets other high cost populations – women who have abortions, drug users, groups who disproportionately engage in high risk sex – oh wait, I forgot, those are Obama voters. Firms are dropping employee coverage to avoid Obama’s healthcare regime – Obamacare will push 7 million people out of their job-based insurance coverage — nearly twice the previous estimate, according to the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. If you are business executive who supports Obama look no further than the example of Obama’s newly nominated Secretary of Interior, whose company, REI, was lauded by the President for its management acumen and awarded a waiver from the prescriptive requirements of the healthcare act. Also on the special favor front, union Obama supporters are no pikers either – they expect taxpayer subsidies for Obamacare cost increases, such as covering children up to age 26. How sweet it is.

6 & 7] War and Terrorism:  Obama nominated a defense secretary who says the administration policy is to “contain” an Iran that won’t even talk to the US.  Meanwhile Iran is closer than ever to producing nuclear weapons.  The US has sent Patriot Missile batteries to Turkey to defend against Syria.  The US continues to boil the cauldron with F-15 Fighter and Abrams M1 tank sales to Egypt.  The US has silently armed Algerian troops, while terrorists are stealing US supplied weapons from Libya to attack Algerian oil facilities.   The US is withdrawing naval forces worldwide, and depending increasingly on drones.  Obama has enlisted Diane Feinstein to come up with a process for legitimizing the wanton increase of drone attacks.   Did I mention Iran?

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that Tehran has no intention of attacking Israel and that the world needs to cooperate with Iran. The comments came as the leader marked a historical visit to Cairo for the 12th Islamic Summit Conference. “[Israel] wants to attack Iran, but we’re not preparing any attack against them because the purpose of our program is defense,” Ahmadinejad told Al-Ahram newspaper in an interview before his trip to Egypt.  The leader also reiterated that Zionists were trying to take over global power and wealth throughout the world, and that the best solution was for the world to cooperate with Iran.  “[The world] wants Iran to go back to what it was in the past, but they won’t succeed. They assume we’ll give in to pressure, but such thoughts are misguided. We’re already an industrial and nuclear country…we must ensure development and growth and bring them to pass, and the world must acknowledge our progress,” he said.
Ahmadinejad’s cadence and delivery, his vilification of opponents and double talking, triple negative rhetoric, it’s quite Obamaesque.
8] Foreign Policy:  As for whether the US has a foreign policy see Chuck Hegel’s confirmation hearings when the SecDef was clueless on US foreign policy. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) had to intervene to inform Obama’s SecDef nominee of the Obama administration’s foreign policy with respect to Iran.

9] Climate Change Policy:  In the State of the Union address Obama resurrected his Grant Park premises on cooling the earth and lowering the seas.  God help us all.

10] Immigration:  Bickering all around; something will happen.

All is wonderful.  

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