If you'd paid attention to investment adviser and thestreet.com columnist Doug Kass's "surprise predictions" for 2008 (and had a couple billion dollars of other people's money to play around with), you'd be as rich as John Paulson.
Along with observations that now seem mundane (such as "financial stocks fail to recover"), the Peerless Prognosticator of Palm Beach (as he is known to some) predicted "an unprecedented and abrupt drop in personal consumption expenditures" and "the housing depression of 2007 morph[ing] into the retailing depression of 2008."
And so far, it seems like he might be on target with his outlook for 2009. Consider this bleak entry:
"Madoff's lawyers disclose that he has cancer, and his trial is delayed indefinitely as he undergoes chemotherapy."
And this morning's "Page Six":
Several sources have told Page Six that Madoff himself has serious health issues. Some have even said the former money manager has pancreatic cancer.
As for the rest of Kass's 2009 crystal-balling, well, it's mostly — can you
believe it? — upbeat, with just a few pockets of terror. Kass understands that you can't surprise anybody these days by being pessimistic. According to his list, the housing market and the U.S. economy are going to stabilize quicker than people think, and the automakers will make peace with their unions and stay afloat. Wonderful! On the other hand, we also get the old media erupting in a "massive flameout," several major sports franchises going bust, and — here's the one to keep you up at night — "an act of cyberterrorism occurs that compromises the security of a major government."
It's going to be hard to make money off that one, but somebody will probably
find a way.