On the Wiedemer article.

An anonymous reader writes: “”What do you think of this article? I know it’s a bit out dated but do you think it’s likely to happen?”

In short, the article claims that there’s a ginormous stock market crash coming, and that investors need to prepare for it. Peter Schiff is quoted as saying that the 2008 crash wasn’t the “real crash,” and that the real crash is just around the corner. Another economist, Robert Wiedemer, is quoted as claiming that beginning in 2012, we will see “50% unemployment, a 90% stock market drop, and 100% annual inflation.” Wiedemer’s credibility lies in the fact that he “accurately predicted the collapse of the U.S. housing market, equity markets, and consumer spending that almost sank the United States.”

So what do I think?

First, to be frank, the article read like an ad. Somebody’s trying to sell me something.

Second, I really don’t know what the stock market’s going to do. Macroeconomists are very good at making predictions, but they’re not as good at making accurate predictions. Folks are constantly predicting recessions and crashes right around the corner, and some of them are right on occasion. Probability dictates that some of them are right twice in a row, but I don’t think being right about the 2008 recession means you’re a lock to accurately predict the timing and magnitude of the next one.

Third, while I can see a recession happening (continuing?) in the near future, I think Wiedemer’s specific predictions are absurd. This country hasn’t seen 25% unemployment in the last 75 years; I seriously doubt that we’re going to see unemployment twice that bad in a recession that is supposed to begin this calendar year. A 90% stock market drop is marginally more believable (back during the Depression, the DJIA dropped 85% from peak to trough) but it’s still highly unlikely. I think moderate-to-high inflation is likely, but I mean 10% annually in a worst-case scenario, not 100% annually.

Fourth, I can safely say that I think Wiedemer’s numbers are wrong, because if they turn out to be right, then I won’t be able to afford this website anymore anyways and any evidence that I disagreed with him will disappear.

Do I think we’re soon to face another recession? I don’t know. Do I think that the next recession, whenever it occurs, will be worse than the 2007-09 recession? Sorry, I really don’t know. I do think that barring some serious reforms, our debt problems will eventually blow up in our faces, but who knows when that’s going to be? I wouldn’t presume to make predictions about how soon it’ll happen, or how bad it’ll get, or whether the debt will cause the next recession, or the one after that, or the one after that, or…

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