Annus Horribilis

Maybe I am a bit of a grouch at the beginning of 2012, but in my view 2011 was a terrible year or as it is said in Latin-annus horribilis. Sure a couple of bad guys got their just reward and some signs of hope appeared in the Middle East. Yet when the totality of 2011 is examined, there was more evidence of ” horrible” than of “wonderful.”

2011 was a year of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados and one gigantic tsunami. Extreme weather now is expected as the norm, not an aberration. Maybe 2012 will be a quieter year in terms of weather with less damage and loss of life, but I am not that hopeful.

In 2011 the world lost the genius Steve Jobs, the brilliantly grumpy Andy Rooney and the absolute beautiful Elizabeth Taylor. More importantly, the United States continued to lose by the hundreds its best and brightest soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan – names not household words, but heroes without question.

2011 also brought us more human tragedy as mothers and fathers killed their own children and pedofiles continued their hunt for unsuspecting innocents. The killing of police officers increased by 13%, while so-called victimless crimes went down- certainly not a good trade-off.

Government went from the embarrassing to the ridiculous as leadership was absent and cooperation was considered a dirty word. It is said that we get the government we deserve, but I am sure that we deserve a lot more than we are getting for our tax dollars. Who can blame people for protesting. What is worse is that 2011 gave us a picture of the 2012 presidential election and the picture was not a confidence builder.

Then there is the economy, which continued to be horrible. Optimists will say that we ended the year on the uptick, but a couple months out of 12 is no consolation when the rest of the year was lousy. For the investors out there, the S and P average ended where it began after a year best described as a huge rollercoaster ride to nowhere.

It is said by some pessimists that 2011 provides a picture of how this country will look like in the future -in a slow, but clear decline with only a few moments in the sun. After experiencing 2011 I can’t disagree.

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