SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Fasten your seat belts: 2011 was far worse than expected. Our earlier predictions for America’s Worst Decade just got worse.As financial historian Niall Ferguson writes in Newsweek: “Double-Dip Depression … We forget that the Great Depression was like a soccer match, there were two halves.” The 1929 crash kicked off the first half. But what “made the depression truly ‘great’ …began with the European banking crisis of 1931.” Sound familiar?Yes, huge warnings: But America’s deaf. In denial. When we predicted the 2011-2020 “decade from hell” we didn’t see the big macro events dead ahead: Arab Spring virus that’s now Occupy Wall Street, promising to explode into an even more powerful force in 2012 … war on the middle class … widening inequality gap. … Washington gridlock … the Super Rich’s blind resistance to all new taxes.As Ferguson puts it: “To understand what has been happening in our own borderline depression, you need to know this history. But hardly anyone does.” Get it? America’s already in a “borderline depression,” and virtually nobody gets it. American leaders are dummies about history. Worse, nobody may be able to stop our depression from turning “great.”Investors beware: Please, protect your assets: “Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it.” We’ve already forgotten the lessons of the 2008 disaster. No wonder we’re doomed to repeat the mistakes of the 1930’s triggering the Second Great Depression. Soccer anyone?
More bad news for 2012: from Gross, Grantham, Shilling and StiglitzFerguson’s in good company with his dark forecast. Pimco’s Bill Gross asks rhetorically: “Where is the euro headed? More than likely down, perhaps significantly.” Gross warns of a “terrifying situation” where “the euro may fall … and take the U.S. recovery with it.”Then there’s Jeremy Grantham, whose GMO firm manages $100 billion. He predicted the 2008 crash a couple years in advance. Predicts ‘Seven Lean Years” ahead, till 2016, the end of the next presidential term. Now, in his latest newsletter he feels “sadly … vindicated by my ‘seven lean years’ forecast.” The world “will not easily recover from the current level of debt,” as our self-destructive American and European leaders have “permanently slowed their GDP growth.”More bad news: As we close out the first year of the “Worst Decade in American History,” economist and long-time Forbes columnist Gary Shilling just issued his semi-annual outlook: “Global Recession Likely” in 2012. OK, the best he can say is that this one “will be milder than the 2007-2008 nosedive.” Of course, you’ve already forgotten those pains, right?And over at Vanity Fair, Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz also reexamines the dark history of the Great Depression, warning that in our ignorance of history we’re missing a fundamental economic “shift in the ‘real’ economy,” missing what will generate future jobs, just as we did back in the ‘30s. Yes, we “risk a tragic replay” of the Great Depression.
Read more: Our decade from hell will get worse in 2012 - Paul B. Farrell - MarketWatch