Dan Franklin, editor of "The World in 2012," does not mince words: "There is a danger going into 2012 on both sides of the Atlantic that policymakers are going to make things a lot worse."
Many experts and pundits throw out predictions at the end of ever year but few would contest the likely probability that Europe's and Washington's economic burdens continue into 2012. European leaders stalled and "dithered too long" to address the eurozone's growing debt crisis, Franklin says, and the eurozone will head back into recession - perhaps a deep one - as a result.
What are the consequences of an European recession in the U.S.? "More muddling along," says Franklin and the policy solutions and serious negotiations needed to avert a double-dip recession in the states won't happen because of the 2012 election cycle, he says.
"The ideal policy mix right now for the United States would be short-term loosening with very convincing longer-term tightening to get control of the very serious budget problems," Franklin insist. But gridlock in Congress and internal party bickering will hijack meaningful progress. This could increase the risks of a "fiscal contraction happening at just the wrong time" in the U.S., he adds.
Franklin acknowledges that the size and scale of the global financial crisis in 2008 hinders the progress here and abroad. Any economic recovery won't be a "a normal bounce back" and "it's going to be long and it's going to be hard," he says, hoping that "policymakers don't actually make things worse."
As leaders from Europe to Washington strive to find a solution to the metastasizing debt crisis, global markets will continue to swing wildly, causing pain to both investors and citizens.