2012 Predictions: Economists, Psychics & an Astrologer Face Off

  • A Taste of Things to Come?

    Last year, MainStreet consulted two economists, a psychic and a Magic Coke bottle to find out what might be in store for consumers (and their money) in 2011. This year, we ditched the Magic Coke bottle, kept the economists, added a psychic (or two) and also consulted an astrologer to widen our scope. The experts were asked to predict, among other things, the U.S. unemployment rate, the staying power of Occupy Wall Street and the winner of the 2012 presidential election. Read on to find out what each had to say about what’s in store for 2012. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Will Big Banks Become More Consumer-Friendly?
  • Will Big Banks Become More Consumer-Friendly?

    All of our experts agreed that big banks would make an effort to become more consumer-friendly, with mentalist Sidney Friedman believing that one large financial institution would lead the charge. “One bank in particular will have altered its processing policy [in early 2012],” echoes Los Angeles-based psychic Judy Hevenly. She adds that other banks will follow suit, but “it will take time.” But Lance Roberts, economist and CEO of Streettalk Advisors, warns consumers not to be fooled. “The lawsuits on ‘fraudclosure’ will likely resurface, along with a rise in foreclosure activity, which will mean [big banks] are advertising their heartfelt apologies and begging for forgiveness on one hand,” he says. “The other hand will be picking consumers’ pockets clean with higher hidden fees.” Photo Credit: Anonymous Account
    Will the Unemployment Rate Continue to Fall?
  • Will the Unemployment Rate Continue to Fall?

    Only mentalist Friedman was optimistic. “It will drop to 7.6% with an outside possibility of 7.2%,” Friedman says. “That’s still too high for the good of our country, but it’s a significant improvement over where we’ve been the last three years.” Other experts thought the recent trend in jobs numbers was distorted. “The unemployment rate drop seen recently was due to a large number of individuals leaving the work force, which caused a statistical drop,” says Roberts, our economist. “The rate of job growth is still far too anemic to offset the monthly population increases.” “The unemployment rate will continue hovering around mid-nines for the first half of the year and start getting close to 9% by the end of 2012,” says Hevenly. Photo Credit:  slushpup
    Will Foreclosure Gridlock Finally End?
  • Will Foreclosure Gridlock Finally End?

    Sadly, experts also agreed that the housing market was in for another long year. “The banks still have significant property on the books,” says astrologer Joyce Levine. “The only way for the foreclosure problem to end is for the banks to forgive loans or more government bailouts. There’s not likely to be the will for either of them.” “While low prices should attract buyers, tight lending standards and constrained income will mean would-be buyers will remain renters,” says Mark Lieberman, a private economic consultant and former senior economist for Fox Business Network. Photo Credit: Thetruthabout
    Will the Occupy Movement Continue?
  • Will the Occupy Movement Continue?

    Most mystics believed the Occupy movement would continue in the new year. “Planetary cycles of Uranus (revolution) and Pluto (power structure) continue through 2015,” says astrologer Levine. “This movement will get stronger as will social unrest in the U.S. and around the world.” Many mystics also believed it would morph as the 2012 elections approached. “The movement will continue, not so much in occupying parks, but in demonstrating at political rallies and conventions,” Friedman says. Economist Lieberman agreed: “I wouldn’t be surprised to see some 1968 protests at both the Republican and Democratic conventions,” he said. But Roberts, an economist, was an outlier, saying the movement “has seen its moment come and go. While the idea was great, the movement was misguided and lacked a real agenda.” Photo Credit: tony the misfit
    Will Gas Prices Go Higher Than $4?
  • Will Gas Prices Go Higher Than $4?

    Nope, psychics say, but they’ll stay high. “I have trouble seeing over $4, but I see close to it [at] $3.84 levels,” says Imara, a business psychic. “Gas prices will rise to just below $4 for a very short time,” Friedman, the mentalist, agrees. He adds that gas prices will fall at the end of the summer and then level out to the mid-$3 range. But economist Lieberman expects prices to go higher. However, he says, “the positive spin will be a greater emphasis on alternative fuels for transportation. The technology probably already exists – or is this close – for developing a solar-panel automobile roof. Watch for it.” Photo Credit: Ytse Jam Photography
    Will Consumer Spending Rebound?
  • Will Consumer Spending Rebound?

    Not likely, says economist Black, “since we expect a slowdown in the economy next year with a decline in earnings for companies.” Business psychic Imara was more optimistic, believing spending will increase in terms of gross dollars due to inflationary trends and as a percentage of consumers’ income. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Will We Get an iPhone 5 and/or Apple TV in 2012?
  • Will We Get an iPhone 5 and/or Apple TV in 2012?

    Based off of everyone’s collective opinions, it looks like an iPhone 5 may be forthcoming. “[We] could see this towards spring and going into June 2012,” Hevenly says. However, Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL) TV may not debut until 2013. “[I] don’t see the TV,” Imara, the business psychic, says. “[I] feel the company won’t believe it’s ready.” Roberts agreed that the debut of Apple TV was still open-ended, though he felt delays could be caused by legal rather than technical issues. “Speaking of Apple TV,” the economist says, “look for a run by Apple to buy Netflix.” Photo Credit: achimh
    Will Credit Card Delinquencies Rise?
  • Will Credit Card Delinquencies Rise?

    “Yes,” Levine, our astrologer, says. “The economy is not in good shape.” The economists concur. “With personal savings rates sharply on the decline, declining discretionary incomes and rising inflationary pressure, look for credit card delinquencies to rise next year,” says Roberts. “Furthermore, if the payroll tax deduction is not extended and gasoline prices begin to catch up with oil prices, you are looking at about a 2% hit to GDP. That isn’t a good thing.” Photo Credit:  Andres Rueda
    Will the Cost of Travel Remain Sky-High?
  • Will the Cost of Travel Remain Sky-High?

    Most experts believe the cost of travel won’t come down dramatically in the new year, but Lieberman says airlines may be forced to adjust their current business model. “The cost of travel, for what is received, will remain high, but competitive forces could compel airlines to rebundle services they have unbundled,” he says. “To the extent travel has become discretionary, airlines could be forced to start offering ‘free’ services again.” Psychic Hevenly had an interesting prediction on the future of airline travel. “Starbucks (Stock Quote: SBUX) could save the day and take to the open skies,” she says. “Serving café au lait on those large jumbo jets to give weary travelers a well-deserved break.” Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Will Obama Win the 2012 Election?
  • Will Obama Win the 2012 Election?

    “President Obama won’t win the 2012 presidential election – Republicans will lose it,” says Lieberman, an economist. His sentiments were echoed by most experts who felt the public, though displeased with the current state of economy, would re-elect its sitting president. “In the end, the public may turn to Obama, not so much because they like him but because the Republican choice seems worse.” Friedman believed this choice would ultimately be Mitt Romney, who he predicts will fail to win his home state of Massachusetts. He adds Obama, on the other hand, will not win certain states he won last time, like Indiana, but will secure two southern states, including North Carolina or Virginia. The one outlier was psychic Maureen Hancock, author of The Medium Next Door, who agreed Romney would be the Republican candidate … and will actually oust the president. Photo Credit:  hellohowareyoudoing?
    2011 Predictions That Came True
  • 2011 Predictions That Came True

    How well did our experts predict what was going to transpire in 2011? Check out this MainStreet article to find out which five predictions turned out to be right! Photo Credit: bark
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