Europe will blowup once everyone realizes that the degree of "restructuring" required in Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain (PIIGS) is politically infeasible. Consequentially, public spending cuts and tax increases are imminent across the PIIGS, be they instituted by public policy or national defaults. Either way, economic depression is descending upon Southern Europe.
Protestors wearing "Guy Fawkes" masks in London
The US is also facing a blowup given that banks made a "seasonal" decision to hold off on new foreclosures until after the New Year. In 2012, the US will be confronted with the largest increase in new foreclosures since 2008.
Likewise, a budget blowup in California has been on tacit hold until after the holidays. Nevertheless, California revenues are trailing budget requirments by a significant margin. Moreover, Gov Jerry Brown appears determined to conduct "business as usual" in order to amplify the California budget crisis into a voter mandate for tax increases. Whatever happens, it's bad news for California where major cuts in government employment and/or tax increases will eventually force California into economic depression on a scale not seen on the West Coast since the Great Depression.
The combination of sharp increases in mortgage foreclosures and budget remedies in California means catastrophe along the US West Coast on a scale similar to what is about to unfold along the southern flank of Europe. Deflation and depression are already evident across America in home values, real wages, and the employment to population ratio.
The economic prospects for 2012 in the US and much of Europe are grim at best. Accredited investors are certainly in a "buy" window of opportunity at this point. However, much of America is in for hard times this coming year...