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Eight Nightmares in 2011: U.S. Economy, Olbermann, More

Author: Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow
January 23, 2011
The Daily Beast

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Disasters have been brewing for years all over the world, and this might well be the year where some or many just erupt. The bad signs far outweigh the good ones. Too many problems have gone unattended and unfixed for too long, and one just gets the sense of things preparing to pop. It won't be as bad as say, 1939 with nations on the edge of World War II. But it could be worse than 1968, when the Vietnam War was reaching a crescendo and America appeared to be coming apart at the seams. Here are some of the sprouts to watch.

1. The U.S. Economy Fails to Improve

An American economy will look bright for six months only to start tanking or leveling off again. There is almost $1 trillion in stimulus spending that came on the eve of Christmas (extending unemployment benefits and tax breaks) to keep the economy looking brighter for a while. But now the congressional mania to cut, cut, cut will dominate. Worst of all, Congress, mainly the Republican-controlled House, won't pass President Obama's request for “investment” spending on transportation, public schools, and energy innovation. America's future will be flushed down the drain of indiscriminate debt reduction. The real horror here is that so much else depends on an improving U.S. economy.

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