The Economic Forecast for 2012

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As evidenced by the Congressional debt panel's failure, MF Global's $600 million missing investor funds, and lagging employment numbers, the U.S. has a long way to go in terms of solving the economic problems that created the 2008 financial crisis. And there are plenty of potential pitfalls abroad — China's inflation rate is at 10 percent, and the euro zone's ongoing debt crisis. Yet, there are bright spots with many manufacturing, energy, and tech sector jobs growing.

Jeffrey Madrick is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and author of "Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970-Present." He says the economic outlook for the next year is bleak. But Pippa Malmgren disagrees. She is president and founder of Principalis Asset Management, and says there is a lot to be optimistic about in the new year.