Last Year's Predictions:

Here are my 2008 predictions from last December:

(1)John McCain recovers to win the Republican nomination.

(2)Ron Paul does better than expected, and is one of the last three candidates left in the race. He then runs a third party campaign, drawing enough support from McCain, especially in the Mountain States, to throw the race to the Democratic nominee.

(3) The U.S. will enter a recession in the third quarter of 2008

(4) which will also be the bottom of the housing market in nominal (but not real) price terms.

(5) There will be a surprise Supreme Court vacancy.

I was spot on regarding number 1. Ron Paul did do better than expected in both fundraising and enthusiasm, but his campaign faltered when he finished a distant fifth in New Hampshire. From what I can tell, his advisers deluded themselves into thinking he had a real chance to win the nomination, and ran ads portraying him as a mainstream conservative Republican, instead of the maverick libertarianish anti-war candidate he was. It seems that the U.S. entered the recession a bit earlier than I predicted. Not a bad prediction though, given all the commentators who were predicting indefinite economic growth. The housing bottom is not upon us yet, though housing does seem to have bottomed in some Western markets. As for the Supreme Court, that one was a throwaway--I had no reason to believe a vacancy was imminent, but it was fun to speculate.

ronbailey (mail) (www):
Careful there, David - making predictions of "surprise Supreme Court vacancies" is likely to garner you a bit of Secret Service attention, especially if you turned out to be correct.
12.31.2008 1:07pm
Stephen C. Carlson (www):
For (3), you would have to specify a definition of "recession."
12.31.2008 1:08pm
bobfromfresno (mail):
Didn't the recession start in the last quarter of _2007_?
12.31.2008 1:14pm
Didn't the recession start in the last quarter of _2007_?

No. December of 2007 was the last month of growth. The first month of shrinking was January 2008.
12.31.2008 1:19pm
Witness (mail):

--balls deep
12.31.2008 1:21pm
Overall, not bad, but I don't think you get much credit for Ron Paul -- his candidacy had already generated a bunch of enthusiasm by December 2007, and after that it can't really be described as doing better than expected in any reasonable sense.
12.31.2008 1:23pm
Overall, not bad, but I don't think you get much credit for Ron Paul -- his candidacy had already generated a bunch of enthusiasm by December 2007

Agreed. If anything, Paul peaked in December 2007. I remember seeing the damn blimp as I was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping, but once the primaries began he was pretty much an afterthought.

I do wonder what would have happened had Paul run a limited strategic campaign in a few states. Ultimately BHO would still be the president, but I think that many on the right would have given Paul the credit/blame for McCain losing certain states. Some would even speculate that Paul would have cost McCain the election. In that case, I could see the post-election Republican recriminations changing both in substance and tone. The infighting would be nastier, and would have a stronger anti-war/libertarian component to contend with the social cons and the Kathleen Parker types.
12.31.2008 1:44pm
Ron Paul did muster a little over 2% of the vote in Montana. McCain still won by 2.5%, however.
12.31.2008 1:55pm
Just a reminder:
This post isn't about Israel . . .
12.31.2008 1:58pm
Rodger Lodger (mail):
i take it that had there actually been a Supreme Court vacancy, you'd now be writing "don't give me credit for that one folks -- it was a throwaway." When I was a kid back in Brooklyn we'd flip a coin and say "heads I win, tails you lose." Happy New Year (can't recall a more pessimistic one.)
12.31.2008 2:39pm
I think you were pretty far off on number 4. While I think you're right that we hit a fast bottom in some places (Las Vegas for example), I think we're still at least 6 months from the bottom in California, if not longer. Given your qualifier (nominal, not real terms) it's possible we find a bottom faster if the velocity of money picks up faster than I expect (and we start getting the sizable inflation I think is coming), but I don't see that happening in the first half of the year.
12.31.2008 2:47pm
Jerry F:
In short, a score of 1/5.
12.31.2008 2:57pm
Barry P. (mail):
Autofellatio may be fun for the participant, but doesn't hold much appeal for outside observers.

12.31.2008 3:42pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):

Just a reminder:
This post isn't about Israel . . .
12.31.2008 1:58pm

Troll be gone.
12.31.2008 5:54pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I say Professor Bernstein did pretty well. Ron Paul was one of the last guys standing, even if he didn't really catch fire beyond his base. There was a recession and while it was retroactively fixed to an earlier date we certainly learned about it close to when Professor Bernstein predicted. We'll see what happens to the housing market, but it certainly was in pretty bad shape when he said it would be. The only thing he was totally wrong on was the Supreme Court.

And just as an observation, predicting Supreme Court vacancies is NEVER a smart bet. There are about 8 predicted vacancies for every 1 actual one. I think the real reason for this is cynical-- both parties and numerous interest groups raise funds and get voters motivated with overstated predictions of new confirmation battles. But in reality, it's a cushy job, the justices like it, and they tend to stay on until they absolutely have to leave.
12.31.2008 6:26pm
progressoverpeace (mail):

Not a bad prediction though, given all the commentators who were predicting indefinite economic growth.

It was not a bad prediction, but I wouldn't bother leaning against the morons who think that economies can grow, unabated, forever. They are nothing more than perpetual-motion machine devotees in another guise, and the fact that anyone takes them seriously only speaks to the very low intelligence of our media and many of its consumers.
12.31.2008 7:23pm
Obvious (mail):
Pretty good job, DB, but it's slightly unfair to say of Paul that he came in a distant fifth in NH. He essentially was part of a three-way tie for third in NH. I recall thinking if he'd gotten a lousy 3% more there he'd have been in third place. As things were, he did clearly better by all parameters save media coverage than Rudy and Fred. The intensity of his supporters beat out the rest of the Republican field, though admittedly didn't compare to Obama's, which rivals that of the Pope.
12.31.2008 8:31pm
Just a reminder:
Troll be gone.

Not trolling, but in the comments of some of the other posts people have said David B. only posts about Israel. Just wanted to point out that this one wasn't . . .
12.31.2008 8:50pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Bernstein says:

"The housing bottom is not upon us yet, though housing does seem to have bottomed in some Western markets."

Housing prices are still trending lower in almost all of California. Sales are up in places like the Inland Empire, but that's because prices have collapsed there. Even places such as San Francisco and Southern Marin, which have held up fairly well are now beginning to slide. It's grim out here for property owners who need to sell.
1.1.2009 11:02am

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