Jim Kunstler's predictions for 2006: Stay in Bed.
We just want to go stick our head in our natural gas oven after reading this; if you thought the Long Emergency was dire, read what Kunstler calls for in the short term- $ 4 dollar gas, housing market collapse, massive unemployment, the Dow at 4,000, hyperinflation, chaos in China. He does go on, but it is worth reading. ::Clusterf*ck Nation ...High gasoline, heating oil, and methane gas prices will absolutely kill the housing bubble for reasons I've already outlined. The production home builders will be idle, stuck with huge inventories in places that never should have been suburbanized in the first place. A lot of Americans holding "creative" mortgages -- no money down, interest only, adjustable rate, what-have-you -- will be crushed by the expense of their obligations. Many of them will go bankrupt under new bankruptcy laws that leave no wiggle room for escaping partial repayment. Their houses will flood the real estate markets in an orgy of distress selling. "Greater fools" will snap up these "bargains," failing to realize that many of the logistical liabilities will remain -- namely remote locations and huge heating costs of enormous McHouses -- even if the ownership terms are less hazardous than the previous owner's. At some point in the future, after several flippings perhaps, all those 4000 square foot houses 44 miles outside Denver (or Cleveland, or Seattle) will be seen as the mistakes that they are, and their cash value will reflect that.
With the cratering of the housing bubble, the US economy has to fall on its ass. The global economy is likely to fall on its ass, too, since so much of it depends on the decisions of Americans to take out exotic loans for buying houses they can't afford. Large numbers of jobs will vanish in construction, remodeling, real estate sales, and the various mortgage rackets -- those things precisely related to the recent gains in GDP.