Prediction #8 - Stevia will be GRAS approved by the FDA
Confidence in prediction: 85%
This isn't really a difficult prediction to make. Now that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are behind stevia, it's only a matter of time before the FDA approves it. (In fact, its approval may arrive before the end of 2008, although there's no certainty of that.)
It will be a boon for consumers and diabetics who will now finally have a safe, natural sweetener to replace aspartame, sucralose and saccharin.
Prediction #9 - The credit rating of the U.S. Treasury will be downgraded
Confidence in prediction: 25% by 2009, 60% by 2012
The only reason the United States is still able to get cheap money loaned to it by other countries (China, Japan, UK, etc.) is because it somehow manages to keep a relatively high credit rating.
This effectively allow the U.S. Treasury to pay lower rates of interest on the debt it owes the central banks of other countries. Even then, the interest on the national debt is somewhere in the neighborhood of 25% of the federal budget right now.
Well, folks, it's about to get much, much larger.
Why? Because the Moody's credit rating of the U.S. Treasury will be downgraded before 2012, and possibly even in 2009.
Currently, Moody's continues to give the U.S. Treasury an "AAA" credit rating. This rating, of course, is complete nonsense in my opinion, and it has most likely been enforced with some kind of threat. Any honest assessment of the U.S. financial situation would immediately result in a declaration of "junk bond" status.
But Moody's, like most other conventional credit rating companies, seems more interested in protecting the power of the United States than in telling the truth to investors, and thus the U.S. Treasury remains at a ridiculous "AAA" rating.
In fact, I defy Moody's to produce any financial logic or criteria by which the U.S. Treasury could possibly have a triple-A rating. With the nation now $10 trillion in debt and bleeding another $7.7 trillion in bailout promises, with its economy now well into a depression and its manufacturing base all but gutted, it would be nothing short of a Biblical miracle to see the U.S. ever pay back its debt.
And yet the AAA credit rating somehow persists. Like I said, I must be enforced with threats of some kind, because it sure isn't enforced based on honest accounting.