As we kick off our look back at 2009, here's a list by Joshua Keating, associate editor at Foreign Policy, of the 10 Worst Predictions for 2009. The predictions are paraphrased below, the comments are my own:
1. Obama to sign energy bill by end of the year- Rahm Emanuel on 19 April (White House chief of staff)
Not even close. Health care, health care, health care.
2. Bernnake to step down after first term, Summers replaces him at Fed- Business Week on 2 January (magazine)
Tough confirmation hearings, but Bernanke enjoys the confidence of the president and is soon to be entering his second term. Far from basking in the glory of a depression averted, Bernanke has been charged with unwinding his extraordinary response to the crisis.
3. Swine Flu to kill hundreds of thousands in the US- Report to the President on US Preparations for the 2009-H1N1 Influenza on 7 August (President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology)
Um, no. But this was enough to scare me into getting vaccinated.
4. No end in sight to US economic freefall- George Soros on 20 February (billionaire investor and activist)
To be fair, Soros hedged his comments, but the pace of recovery in both the financial markets and real economy has undoubtedly been surprising. The US stimulus package may not have done enough, but it seems to have done just enough to avert catastrophe. That tricky unemployment rate remains...
5. No Afghan surge for Obama, Gen. McChrystal to resign- Charles Krauthammer on 27 September (right-wing columnist/commentator)
Obama succumbed to the COIN camp against, I suspect, his instincts. McChrystal saw the back of Obama's hand following his public intervention into the Afghan surge debate, but in the end got 3/4 of the troops he was looking for.
6. Gordon Brown will 'certainly' step down within three days- Martin Kettle on 5 June (associate editor at The Guardian)
The train wreck that was the Brown premiership reached its inglorious nader over this week in June when the Labour backbench revolt burst into the open with public calls to resign. Somewhat remarkably, Brown fights on (thanks in no small part to Lord Mandy) and has even narrowed the Tory lead in the run-up to likely elections in March.
7. Breakthrough agreement, Zelaya returning to office, democracy lives in Honduras!- Hillary Clinton on 30 October (US secretary of state)
Zelaya has spent quite a bit of time the Brazilian embassy, presiding over nothing but his cowboy hat, and Honduran democracy is shaky at best.
8. Israel will likely strike Iran between US election and Obama's inauguration...Israel will likely strike Iran before end of 2009- John Bolton on 22 June 2008 and 28 July 2009 (former US ambassador to UN and epic moron)
John Bolton calls on Israel to bomb Iran as often as the sun rises. It still hasn't happened. You get the impression that Bolton believes if you wish for something hard enough it will just happen. I really loathe this guy on so many levels.
9. G7 finance ministers have unleashed inflationary hell, world markets to collapse under chaos- Jim Rogers on 10 October 2008 (billionaire investor)
I would argue that entering 2010 deflation remains a bigger risk than inflation in the major economies.
10. China will take over Panama and choke the US via the canal- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on 7 December 1999 (US representative)
Ten years later and the cargo flows.