Normally Bearish, Top Forecaster Now Sees Good Times for U.S.

An economist who foresaw the Asian crisis back of 1998, the Internet bubble of the early 2000s, and the recent housing bubble has a very upbeat view on the U.S. economy for 2011.

Author and University of Chicago Professor Emeritus Robert Z. Aliber is predicting that the U.S. economy will grow between 4.5% and 5% this year; the stock stock market will gain 15%; unemployment will fall into the 7% range; and threats like state and municipal debt crises and remaining toxic debt from the housing crisis will be dealt with, according to MarketWatch’s Al Lewis.

“We will have restored our confidence in the resiliency of the American economy,” Aliber says. He adds that “some people are still hurting. But it’s almost as if there are two economies: The cruise lines are full. The airplanes are more or less full. … The auto market is picking up. … The restaurant industry is picking up.”

Lewis also says that Aliber thinks President Obama’s plans will work: “Says Aliber: Not only is Obama serious about reducing our trade deficit with China, but he is reviewing onerous business regulations. He hired big, bad banker Bill Daley as his chief of staff; he put cost-cutting General Electric Co. Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt in charge of a ‘jobs committee,’ and he even invited Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, Wall Street’s prince of darkness, to the White House when Chinese President Hu Jintao was in town.”

“There’s no need for the Republicans to put up a candidate in 2012,” Aliber says. “The Republican candidate is President Obama.”

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