Tracking My 2012 Predictions

Today is a good opportunity to engage in my annual exercise in humility, evaluating how well my predictions for 2012 fared.

Things I Got Right

  • U. S. GDP will increase less than 3%.
  • Republicans will retain their majority in the House of Representatives.
  • Joe Biden will stay on the ticket and, especially, will not be replaced by Hillary Clinton.
  • President Obama will be elected to a second term.
  • The PPACA will be upheld by the Supreme Court.
  • The al-Assad regime will retain at least nominal control of Syria.
  • As the date in February on which Italy must re-finance its debt nears, European leaders will go through another spasm of activity. They’ll kick the can down the road again.
  • As of December 31, 2012 Greece will still be a member of the EMU.
  • The “Occupy” encampments will not return with their former strength when the weather improves.
  • The Descendants, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Artist, and Moneyball will all receive Academy Award nominations for Best Picture. The Artist may well win. The first silent movie to win since Wings. If you’re a movie buff, see The Artist. The references fly fast and thick.
  • An aircraft carrier will not crash into the White House during 2012.

Things I Got Wrong

  • Housing prices as measured by the Case-Shiller index will continue to decline, probably by no more than 5% and no less than 3%. At 4.3% growth they’re increasing slightly. The final figures aren’t in but prices have probably increased 2.5% in real terms.
  • The number of U. S. troops in Afghanistan on December 31, 2012 will be somewhere between 80,000 and 110,000. We presently have 68,000 troops in Afghanistan.
  • Republicans will assume a narrow majority in the Senate. Never underestimate the idiocy of Republican primary voters. They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by rejecting electable candidates in favor of non-electable ones. Better to reign in …

Things I Got Part Right

  • At the end of the year the unemployment rate will be no lower than 8%. I suspect it will be closer to 9%. I’m going to give myself partial credit for this because a) the unemployment rate is still high and b) it would be over 8% if the labor force participation rate was the same as it was at the start of 2012.
  • The Republican Congress will be unable to override the president’s veto of its repeal of the PPACA (although amendments and partial repeal may go through).
  • 2012 will not be a good foreign policy year for China. Several of their major clients will embarrass them including North Korea, Iran, and Zimbabwe. No major client embarrassments last year but they’ve done a pretty good job at embarrassing themselves.
  • The Adventures of Tin Tin and Hugo will both receive Academy Award nominations as Best Animated Feature. Hugo will win. Tin Tin wasn’t nominated so I only get partial credit here.
  • Here’s the prediction of which I’m most confident: my list of predictions does not include the most important events of 2012. I did get the president’s re-election right, so I’ll only give myself partial credit.

The final tally is 11-3-5. A little worse than my typical foresight. Worse than last year although in my defense I deliberately set out to be bolder in my predictions last year.

9 comments… add one
  • Michael Reynolds

    I think we need to hear from the judges on that UE ‘partial’. 7.8 is lower than 8 and not closer to ten.

  • Michael Reynolds

    Nine not ten. Jesus.

  • PD Shaw

    @ michael, I had similar thoughts about partial credit on UE, but let it pass. On the one hand, Dave knew the relationship between U3 and the labor participation rate when he made his prediction. He could have picked a different metric. But what he got wrong presumably was that the lower unemployment rate was not drawing people back into the labor force for some reason (and thus raising U3).

    One reason might be that the employment situation is far worse than U3 reveals; if that’s the case he probably deserves a half point since the underlying premise of his prediction is accurate.

    However, if there are other factors at work in the participation rate, such as a decade long decline brought about by long-term changes in society and the economy, then maybe a half point is too generous.

  • PD Shaw

    OTOH, is Obama’s re-election the most important event of 2012? Currently, it feels like the fiscal cliff. Europe in recession feels important. Unrest in the Middle East?

  • Andy

    Clearly the emergence of Gangnam Style was the most important development of 2012.

  • PD Shaw

    My top stories:

    (1) Unhappy Americans Return Incumbents to Power, Focus on Latest Music Video Sensation
    (2) Troubles Dog Talented Lindsay Lohan
    (3) Americans Unhappy with Gridlock as Year Ends

  • Well, hell, PD, you might as well be entertained while you wait for these jokers to DO something.

  • PD Shaw

    Also, see Krugman’s analysis of apparent fiscal framework:

    Good news, not as bad as he feared;
    Bad news, the country may never be able to resolve long-term disconnect between social spending and revenues.

    Janis: They can’t hold me hostage to their drama.

  • Andy


    The bad news is actually good news as long as we can pin the blame on someone else! Remember the first rule of politics – deny and make counter-accusations!

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