The Next Decade
<b>The Next Decade</b>

We’re a little unclear about whether the next decade officially starts in 2010, or 2011. Nonetheless, with the single digit years ending (which some have dubbed the “aughts,” and others have dubbed the “decade from hell”), now seems like as good a time as any to consider what the future holds for America in the ten years ahead, and how it may affect you. Photo Credit: Paul Mannix

Americans Never Get Their Jobs Back
<b>Americans Never Get Their Jobs Back</b>

The unemployment rate dipped recently from 10.2 percent to 10 percent.  Unfortunately, that means there are still more than 15 million unemployed Americans, not to mention the millions more who are underworked or have stopped looking for employment. In the next year, the unemployment rate will likely dip some more, but many experts argue that jobs lost during the recession may not return for years, or ever, for that matter. One big reason for this is that in past recessions, the American economy was usually lifted up by the auto industry and construction sector, but this time around, those fields are devastated, too. So according to one conservative estimate, unemployment won’t hit its normal rate of 5% until 2020. Photo Credit: Photomish Dan

Housing Crisis Could Double Dip
<b>Housing Crisis Could Double Dip</b>

Many worry that the housing crisis, which seemed to slowly be improving this year, may get much worse again in 2010. (The Wall Street Journal suspects it’s happening already.) Low mortgage costs and a federal tax credit for homebuyers have helped ease the crisis a bit. Yet, Business Week reports that home prices will continue to fall next year and foreclosures are expected to peak in the first quarter of 2010, because of high unemployment. Some even speculate that having millions of foreclosed homes could become the new normal for America, just like having high unemployment. Photo Credit: WikiCommons.org

The War in Afghanistan Stretches Beyond 2011
<b>The War in Afghanistan Stretches Beyond 2011</b>

Last week, President Obama announced his plan to send thousands more troops to fight in Afghanistan, and at the same time, promised to withdraw all troops by 2011. Many are skeptical that this will actually happen. Aside from the heavy cost of human life, if the war stretches on longer and requires more troops, it will continue to drain money from tax payers. According to White House estimates, each new soldier costs $1 million. Photo Credit: The U.S. Army

Crazy New Taxes
<b>Crazy New Taxes</b>

President Obama campaigned on a pledge to lower taxes for the middle class and get rid of President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. Some speculate that he will be forced to go against this promise by the end of next year. However, whether or not federal taxes increase in your household, many states are already preparing to siphon your money by raising taxes on everything including racehorses (New York), digital downloads (Vermont) and broadcast satellite services (Massachusetts). Photo Credit: Malcolm

2012
<b>2012</b>

2012 is going to be a bad year. The world is supposed to end in December, according to certain interpretations of the Mayan calendar. But assuming that doesn’t pan out, the real crisis is that all the baby boomers who will reach retirement age that year. Starting in 2012, the first wave of baby boomers (born in 1946) will turn 66, the age where they can start collecting social security benefits. From then on, through 2030, 78 million baby boomers will claim benefits, which will heavily tax the system. Photo Credit: marshillonline

Other Countries Around the World Will Fail
<b>Other Countries Around the World Will Fail</b>

This might not directly impact how you live your life day to day, but man, it’s a drag. Forbes.com recently listed several countries that are on the precipice of disaster due to excessive debt and overleveraging. On their list: Latvia, Ukraine, Dubai (obviously) and Japan. Oh, and the United States is on there, too. Perhaps this is the decade to make your move to Rio. Photo Credit: mtsrs

American Debt Will Balloon in the Next Decade
<b>American Debt Will Balloon in the Next Decade</b>

According to CNN Money, the U.S. debt is expected to increase by $9 trillion by the end of the next decade. More than half of that increase will be a result of the interest Americans will have to pay on money we’ve borrowed to keep the country functioning. We can’t even visualize a billion dollars, let alone a trillion, but we know it’s bad news. Photo Credit: Kevin Krejci

Increasing Health Care Costs
<b>Increasing Health Care Costs</b>

Health care costs for the average American company are expected to increase by 9 percent next year, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers. Even if health care reform is passed soon, it will be unlikely to have much of an effect right away. To make matters worse, drug makers are raising prices out of fear over the effect health care reform could have on their business. Better stay healthy next decade, or it will cost you an arm and a leg. Photo Credit: JasonRogersFotographie

The End of Free Online Entertainment
<b>The End of Free Online Entertainment</b>

This might not seem dire compared to all the other points on this list, but when everything else in this country is spiraling out of control, you should at least be able to enjoy some soothing entertainment for free. Yet, as we recently reported, many online news services are moving quickly in the direction of charging for content. On top of that, Hulu, a popular site for watching TV shows and movies, is planning to charge starting in 2010. Photo Credit: hulu.com

The Tiger Woods Reality Show
<b>The Tiger Woods Reality Show</b>

You heard it here first: We predict that Tiger Woods, John Edwards and Mark Sanford will team up to film a new reality TV show called The Three Pariahs. It will be a mix of  Flava of Love II and the Real World, where these three recently divorced men compete for the Octomom’s hand in marriage. Photo Credit: Keith Allison

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