My predication model is based on my own life observations, a lot of reading, the Internet, and the quote by Mark Twain that says “History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot.”
The presidential election is coming in November 2008. The nation appears weary and divided; very much like the lead-up to the 1976 election. In 1976, with the end of the Viet Nam war, out of control Federal budgets and a nation seeking change, the pendulum swung from one end of the political spectrum to the other. Today, the nation wants change. This coming election may not automatically mean a change in political parties, but I think we can expect the election to reflect a dramatic shift in focus, direction and leadership style.
The economy in 2008 in many ways, will mirror the 1970’s, with inflation being the primary theme. According to the government, inflation is running at about 2% per year. For those who saved their Thanksgiving dinner bills for 2007 and compared them with 2006, they probably saw a dramatic increase in food prices. John Williams (www.shadowstats.com) has spent years studying government statistics — what is being reported — and not — and how it’s being reported. According to Mr. Williams, inflation is currently running at about 10%. With the current near collapse of the dollar, and fewer foreigners willing to finance our debt (buying our Treasury Bills), look for the printing presses in Washington to be working overtime in 2008. Translation: expect inflation to grow at an ever increasing rate.
As a result of inflation, the price of gold, a barometer and leading indicator of inflation, will continue its march toward $1000 an ounce. Oil prices, a reflection of the weakening dollar, will remain high in 2008, with $4.00 a gallon a distinct possibility.
The U.S. housing market will be anemic throughout 2008. With housing inventories as large as they currently are, and sellers, at this point, unwilling to “sell at any price” the housing market will be a major drag on the economy in 2008.
Internationally, China is set to showcase itself in the 2008 Olympics. China’s growth rate is more than 10% a year with no sign of slowing down. This incredible growth rate is spurred on by the United States. We shop, they produce. In spite of a trade-war mentality coming from some members of congress, this relationship will be maintained until the Olympics have been written into the history books.
In 1979 Russia, sensing a weak and divided America, invaded Afghanistan. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s current leader is part of that old KGB regime. His goal is to re-establish Russia’s sphere of influence over the old Soviet Union states. And, as of late, he’s been flexing his muscle. According to www.Stratfor.com, Russia is focusing on the Baltics and the Caucasus region (Georgia and the Ukraine). With all eyes on China, and the U.S. distracted in Iraq, expect Mr. Putin's successor, like his predecessor in 1979, to test the resolve of the west in 2008, with more than just words.
In the middle east, Hezbollah will use 2008 to rebuild its strength. Russia will strengthen its alignment with Iran. And, Israel will — hold on again and off again — peace talks with the Palestinians. In the end, you can expect continuing conflict and tension in the middle east; it has been that way since the beginning of recorded history and I see no reason why things will change in 2008.
To summarize, in 2008 you can expect:
• a distinct shift in presidential tone, policy and leadership style
• inflation to pick up steam
• oil prices to stay high
• the price of gold to breach $900 dollars an ounce
• the housing market to be a major drag on the economy
• the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind to continue — U.S. to China
• Russia to test the west’s resolve
• tensions in the middle east to continue
Paris Hilton . . . will she end up back in jail? I’ll leave those
predications to the supermarket tabloids!
Enjoy 2008, it’s going to be an interesting year!
Robert Ross can be reached by e-mail at: SanDiegoRoss@Yahoo.com
Copyright 2008 by Robert Ross, all rights reserved
Return to the January/February Index page