Zombies, Asteroids, Solar flares, the eventual return of our Alien Overlords to reclaim their planet...
But even with all my belief in these scenarios, I am sane enough to recognize these scenarios as flights of fancy; plausible yet totally unrealistic fantasies for my mind to wander in while sitting in traffic.
But today I bring you a real Doomsday scenario...Today I bring you the collapse of the United States.
Anybody not burying their heads in the ground finds it hard pressed not to see what is going on around them.
America is looking a little bit wobbly.
Not on the brink of collapse...not yet anyway... but wobbly and unsure.
Political unrest, weak leadership, worthless money, double digit unemployment (15-17%, depending on who you ask), ever sinking home prices, and- worse of all- no hope in sight for an end to our free fall.
While the seemingly punch drunk administration would like us to believe that the nation's economy is slow but strong, respected economist feel that America's worst days are yet ahead of it.
"If a double dip does occur, (it) could occur within the next 12 months...My view is that the odds are around 40 per cent."
Those are the words of noted economist Nouriel Roubini to the Toronto press before entering a speaking engagement last week.
Earlier in the month, at an economic forum in Italy, Roubini also stated that "The US has run out of bullets...Any shock at this point can tip you back into recession."
And while it might be tempting for a people sick of being told the end is near to just ignore the warnings of some elitist egghead crying doom from atop his Ivory Tower (no doubt to sell books or something), this just might be the wrong guy to just brush off.
In 2008, Fortune magazine wrote: "In 2005 Roubini said home prices were riding a speculative wave that would soon sink the economy. Back then the professor was called a Cassandra. Now he's a sage". The New York Times wrote that he foresaw "homeowners defaulting on mortgages, trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities unraveling worldwide and the global financial system shuddering to a halt". In September 2006, he warned a skeptical IMF that: "The United States was likely to face a once-in-a-lifetime housing bust, an oil shock, sharply declining consumer confidence, and, ultimately, a deep recession". According to IMF economist Prakash Loungani, he was considered "a prophet" in 2007.
It gets worse...
It was easy to ignore Roubini's apocalyptic visions a few years ago; his dire warnings drowned out by the final moments of great party wrapping up.
But these days???
As hard as it is to ignore Roubini's allegations, the fact that not only is he not alone in his predictions but that his are actually the best case scenario in regards to the forecasts of another noted economist.
Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff, who warned as far back as the 1980s of the dangers of a public deficit, lent credence to such dark predictions in an International Monetary Fund publication last week.
In his writing, the professor paints a nightmare scenario between the United States and China, whom the United States owe $843 billion in US Treasury Bonds.
He states "A minor trade dispute between the United States and China could make some people think that other people are going to sell US treasury bonds," he wrote in the IMF's Finance & Development review.
"That belief, coupled with major concern about inflation, could lead to a sell-off of government bonds that causes the public to withdraw their bank deposits and buy durable goods."
Kotlikoff warned such a move would spark a run on banks and money market funds as well as insurance companies as policy holders’ cash in their surrender values.
"In a short period of time, the Federal Reserve would have to print trillions of dollars to cover its explicit and implicit guarantees. All that new money could produce strong inflation, perhaps hyperinflation," he said.
"There are other less apocalyptic, perhaps more plausible, but still quite unpleasant, scenarios that could result from multiple equilibria."
And just like that, the once "shining city on the hill" becomes the desolate wasteland of Mad Max.
The Cost of Empire
If history has taught us one thing it is that the sun sets on all empires.
And sadly, it appears to many that America may very well be basking in the twilight of its decline.
Last Friday, The International Monetary Fund warned the world that America's high levels of national debt and shaky financial sector threaten to derail not only the American efforts for an economic recovery but those of the world as a whole.
” The foreclosure backlog in US property markets is large and growing, in part due to the recent expiration of the home buyer's tax credit. When realized, this could further depress real estate prices."
This could lead to "disproportionate losses" for small and medium-sized banks, which could in turn "precipitate a loss of market confidence in the recovery," the IMF warned.
And it is not just the America hating foreigners who see the blood in the water...
65% of Americans polled in a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll last week said they believed that America was in decline.
And who could blame any of them...
With predictions of zero (or worse) economic growth for the nation during the second half of 2010 (if not the foreseeable future) and a growing number of "un" and "under" employed people starting to reach the end of their patience in the better tomorrow being sold by those in charge (not to mention the end of those oh so necessary benefits), might today's whispered cries of dissatisfaction turn to tomorrow's shouts for revolution and wholesale change?
Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, this will not be the last hoorah for this once mighty nation.
But for it not to be, a change (from top to bottom) needs to be implemented (a change, I might add, the current unh of corrupt cocksuckers currently representing us in Washington seem to lack the stones necessary to do it) to repair the structural and institutional issues (not that "cyclical market correction" nonsense these jackals running things and their willing accomplices in the media are so desperate to sell us on) that weigh down our efforts of recovery.
Bloated beurocrasies and iron gripped control (through intimidation, regulations, fees and fines) have never made a nation great...Let's hope Americans everywhere have finally noticed that.