Delusions of Normalcy 2011 - Dismal Scientists Cheer Up

Could a recession occur in 2011? Under the current state of the US economy and its heavy reliance on federal spending, we could answer this question quite simply if we knew when the US government credit card will reach its limit. At some point it must; the compelling reality of mathematical compounding alone makes it impossible for any country to continue to rack up new principal and interest obligations.

The consensus is in and there is strong agreement: the US economy is on the path to a sustained recovery. 2011 will be a year of surprises on the upside, and 2012 will be even better. Among a list of the top 25 economists surveyed, not one of them predicts a recession in 2011. There is hardly any investment strategist or economist to be found who sees any risks serious enough to derail the US economy. Here is just a sample of the consensus thinking that is to be found in end-of-the year forecasts:

*Economists in universities and on Wall Street have raised their growth projections for next year. Retail sales, industrial production and factory orders are on the upswing, and new claims for unemployment benefits are trending downward. Despite persistently high unemployment, consumer confidence is improving. Large corporations are reporting healthy profits, and the Dow Jones industrial average reached a two-year high this week. – New York Times