Plenty of naysayers are forecasting doom and gloom for 2011, but the predictions for the new year are not all bad. In fact, some critics are seeing positive developments for the months ahead, from a booming economy to celebrity recoveries. Here, a look at the good things that might happen in 2011:
1. The economy bounces back
After two years of recession and gloom, 2011 could be the year the U.S. economy bounces back, says Ron Scherer in The Christian Science Monitor. "Even the less-optimistic economists are now estimating almost 3 percent growth," with some saying it could be as high as 4 percent. "That would be the best performance in a decade." Sure, it's "not a sprint." But a "faster pace" would be welcome news for the unemployed.
2. Both political parties benefit from the Washington stalemate
OK, says Randy Shaw in Beyond Chron, so the year's headlines will be filled with bad news about "extreme Republican measures" and attacks on President Obama's agenda. But this "serves both Obama's and Republican interests." Obama regains his stature among dissatisfied Democrats as "the bulwark against Republican extremism," while Republicans get to "energize their base without actually enacting measures that hurt their wealthy donors." Everybody wins.
3. The auto industry goes from strength to strength
After a year of recovery, says Alex Taylor III at CNN Money, the U.S. auto industry will grow even more in 2011. GM, Ford, and Chrysler can all expect "higher sales and better profits," while "European luxury car makers" will see "depleted showrooms" across the U.S. Meanwhile, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt — rival electric cars — will compete for "miles-per-charge bragging rights."
4. Europe remains stable
Despite the likelihood of continued "anti-austerity protests" on the streets of Europe in 2011, says Sean Maguire at Reuters, "violence will be contained, governments will not fall, and fiscal reforms will haltingly continue." Sure, it's not an ideal situation — but it beats a slide into mayhem.
5. America tackles its homeless problem
"I see a changed America that is seriously ending homelessness," says Joel John Roberts in The Huffington Post. How? By changing the No Child Left Behind program to a "housing enterprise" aimed at guaranteeing "every child and youth in America has a home." We will invest in new affordable housing, and American communities will reach out and help those who have fallen on hard times. I see a "country embracing a movement."
6. Apple will revolutionize TV
Get ready for the iTV, says Joe Flint in the Los Angeles Times. After conquering the handheld-device market, Apple will launch an offensive for "an even bigger piece of the home entertainment pie — the living room." Yes, it will be a television set "fueled by iTunes," with all of Apple's trademark gadgetry and design values. It will become "the biggest status symbol since the Trinitron."
7. Tiger Woods gets back in top form
The "dethroned" golfing superstar will make a career-topping comeback in 2011, says Will Leivenberg in Bleacher Report, after a year dogged by sex scandals and poor performance on the links. Expect Tiger to win "two major championship victories" and "reassert his dominance" over the coming year.
8. Jennifer Aniston finally finds love
The lovelorn Friends star might "finally find her longtime partner" in 2011, astrologist Terry Nazon tells Fox News. A wedding could occur in "December or early 2012," but it's unlikely to be a reunion with her ex-husband, Brad Pitt, who will stay with Angelina Jolie. But Aniston may end up emulating "her former husband's new leading lady" in adopting a child. "Maybe after March that could come up," says Nazon.