We’re by no means out of the woods yet, and the biggest danger for 2012 (the biggest one we know about, at least) remains the possible financial contagion from a deepening crisis in the Eurozone.
But there’s a growing consensus that the economies of many nations, including the U.S., should be decent in 2012.
From The Economist‘s poll of forecasters:
THE outlook for GDP growth in the euro area has deteriorated sharply since September, when the sovereign-debt crisis escalated. Then our poll of forecasters thought the economy would grow by a mere 1%. They are now predicting the 17-nation economy will shrink by 0.5% this year. [. . .] Our pollsters are more optimistic about growth in America this year. Indicators show the economy was picking up and employment rising towards the end of last year.
Frankly, I think there are increasingly strong arguments for a target inflation rate of 3% rather than the 2% predicted here, but the U.S. economy still has so much slack in it and the political environment would make it tough to implement policies that might boost inflation further.