The beginning of a new year is the time to face the music about the accuracy of my predictions featured in this column one year ago. Here are the 2012 predictions and self-assigned grades evaluating my effectiveness as a forecaster:
• The Atlanta Braves will win the National League pennant and lose to the Los Angeles Angels in the World Series.
Grade: An F is the correct grade because neither team made it to the World Series. Some generous readers will justify a C for effort since the Braves made the wildcard playoff spot and the Angels narrowly missed.
• The Atlanta Falcons will lose several key free agents after this season. I predict an 8-8 record with the team missing the playoffs next season.
Grade: Another F because the Falcons have already earned a playoff berth.
• The Atlanta Hawks will have another winning season followed by a dreadful performance in the playoffs because the team does not have an effective half court offense.
Grade: An A+ is the correct grade because the Hawks showed plenty of weaknesses in the playoffs.
• There will soon be a major announcement of corporate relocation bringing more than 1,000 new jobs to Peachtree City.
Grade: I receive a grade of F because it didn’t happen.
• New Peachtree City Council member George Dienhart will join the triumvirate of Vanessa Fleisch, Kim Learnard and Eric Imker leaving Mayor Don Haddix standing alone on many issues.
Grade: I receive an A for the prediction but any amateur observer could have seen that coming.
• An anti-establishment candidate will win one of the three open seats for the Fayette County Commission opening the door for the election of Commissioner Steve Brown as Fayette County Commission Chairman in 2013.
Grade: It is an A because anti-establishment candidates won all three posts and Mr. Brown will soon be in the driver’s seat. It is possible that “establishment” has been redefined.
• The metro area T-SPLOST referendum will fail by a narrow margin in July.
Grade: The grade is A+. I called this one six months before most pundits admitted that the referendum could possibly fail.
• The Georgia General Assembly will pass modest election year tax reform. Corporations will be the big winners.
Grade: I deserve a B on this prediction. Look at the legislation and draw your own conclusions.
• The results of the 2012 elections will significantly increase Republican control of the U. S. House of Representatives while Democrats will hold the Senate by a narrow margin.
Grade: I should receive a low B. The Democrats picked up eight seats in the House but did not gain control. Democrats maintained control of the Senate by a narrow margin.
• Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives John Boehner will lose considerable power to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who will replace Boehner sooner rather than later. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will likely step down and be replaced by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer who has been running things on the Democratic side for the past several months.
Grade: I deserve an F because the changes did not materialize as I expected. Boehner and Pelosi are still in trouble and will eventually get the boot.
• President Obama will throw U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder under the bus to distance himself from the “Operation Fast and Furious” gun program. Holder will resign but will not be prosecuted for lying to Congress.
Grade: F because I was wrong. Other problems overshadowed the Justice Department situation.
• Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will resign amid rumors she wants to take the Democratic presidential nomination away from President Barack Obama. The president will compromise by dumping Joe Biden and selecting Clinton to be his vice presidential running mate.
Grade: An F is in order because Hillary and Bill were afraid she might book a loser.
• Mitt Romney will be the eventual Republican nominee for president and will select former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Senator Marco Rubio or former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as his running mate. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be bypassed because geography trumps loyalty and ideology in presidential elections.
Grade: I give myself a grade of B+ because I called Romney as the nominee early but was surprised by the selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate.
• Romney will defeat President Obama by a narrow margin in a scandal plagued presidential race unless the economic recovery is stronger than expected.
Grade: A grade of F is in order. The election was close in popular vote but I called the results wrong.
• The U.S. housing market will remain flat during the first quarter and begin a modest recovery in the spring and summer of 2012.
Grade: I receive a C because the recovery is somewhat more modest than expected.
• The proposed Canadian pipeline from Alberta, Canada to oil refineries near the Gulf Coast of the United States will be approved. Construction related jobs and cheaper gas will be good for the economy.
Grade: The grade is F because it didn’t happen.
• The national unemployment rate will drop below 8 percent before the end of 2012.
Grade: The grade is A as evidenced by the 7.7 percent November numbers released by the Labor Department.
• There will be turmoil in North Korea because of a power struggle between the young dictator, Kim Jong un, and members of his immediate family. The military will seize control and bring an end to the three generation Kim dynasty.
Grade: A generous grade of C is in order because the conditions are there. It just hasn’t taken place yet.
• The government in Iraq will fall proving that the “win their hearts and minds” approach to fighting wars, trusting corrupt governments, and “leading from behind” are flawed policies. Our brave military personnel were required to leave the country prematurely.
Grade: I think I earned a gentleman’s B. The new government didn’t fall but it is in disarray and democracy stands little chance of becoming a reality in Iraq.
• The Arab Spring of 2011 will continue in 2012 with the overthrow and deaths of more dictators. Countries in the Middle East being taken over by hard-core Muslim clerics and strong military leaders will become the norm. Al Qaeda and Iran will continue to compete for influence in the region.
Grade: I can’t imagine anyone giving me less than an A on this prediction.
• Six sleek new dragon boats from China will soon be delivered to the Rotary Club of Peachtree City for use in the annual Peachtree City International Festival and Dragon Boat Races.
Grade: I deserve an A+ because I used inside information to make the call on this easy prediction.
Have a happy and prosperous new year.
[Scott Bradshaw, a resident of Peachtree City, is a real estate broker and residential real estate developer. His mother’s family has owned property in what is now Peachtree City since 1820, before the formation of Fayette County. He may be contacted at email@example.com.]