As we seek your input on the 2011 winners and losers candidates, you’ll note that we have few repeats from last year's bunch and only one who also made our inaugural list in 2009. That’s Fed Chairman BenBernanke, who continues to loom over the economy.
GOP Rep.John Boehner (now House Speaker), President Barack Obama, and the American taxpayer are back from 2010. Carol Bartz is back from 2009 — she lasted slightly longer at Yahoo than we expected.
Boehner is back because he’s played a leading role in the debate over the shape of government. He's been involved in battles over the deficit with the Democrats and Obama, whom we also include for that reason.
Organizations (Occupy Wall Street, NBA/NFL) made our list, as has a celebrity (Justin Bieber).
Some of these people and companies are also the stuff of CNBC's predictions for the year ahead.
As in past years, the difference between a winner and a loser can be in the eye of the beholder — or voter. It's a fine line.
You have until December 21 to vote on the candidates for 2011. We’ll bring you the results the next day. So click ahead to see all the candidates and to vote on them.
Bartz was blunt in her early days as CEO of Yahoo , and even more so when she was suddenly fired. Bartz became just the latest boss not to move the needle at the limping Internet company. She made a deal with Microsoft and restructured the organization, but the stock was flat during her two-plus-year tenure. The board might have done her a favor.
More than a few pundits expected QE2 to blow up on the Fed chairman, but it hasn’t yet. Nor has the Fed’s first round of unconventional easing, which ended in 2010. Unfortunately, the economy appears to have responded to neither dose of monetary stimulus. Despite all that, some are clamoring for a QE3.
At the same time, Bernanke for a moment became something of an election issue in the GOP presidential race, earning the wrath of one candidate and nary a word of support from the president who appointed him to a second term and is presumably prepared to blame him if it means winning re-election. (So Bernanke may not be back for a fourth consecutive year in 2012.)
Boehner has shown he's up to the task of leading the Republican Party and also shaping the political debate. His jousting skills are significant, and his ability to inject humor — and tears — makes him both tough and human.
At the same time, it’s hard not to see Boehner as a bit of an ideologue and a Washington insider, who is better at blocking than tackling. In the political version of ball control, you make little progress, protect the ball and hope your opponent makes a mistake you can pounce on.
O.K., so we could have picked Alec Baldwin or Lady Gaga, but we’re an international media organization and we wanted somebody young. Leave it to Bieber, then.
The Canadian teen is worth more than ever, but there’s nothing like a paternity suit (dropped) to make young girls cry and mothers cringe. Bieber took a DNA test to refute the charge but .... (It's a long story.) He’ll also take a trip to Washington for a holiday special with President Obama and take part in a New Year’s Eve extravaganza in New York's Times Square.
TheBank of America CEO has proven he's no Jamie Dimon, lacking both the charisma and the business acumen. Then again, he’s no Ken Lewis, either. Moynihan has been atop BAC during the rise and fall of its share price in the wake of the financial crisis. Though he has inherited the mortgage problems of Countrywide Financial — acquired under Lewis — it’s still a mess, and the robo-signing scandal erupted under his watch.
More recently, getting Warren Buffett to invest $5 billion in the company should be considered a good thing, not a bad one. Unlike his predecessor Lewis, Moynihan has managed to avoid becoming the face of the big, bad banking industry and largely kept his foot out of his month. The big question of 2012: Will Moynihan sell Merrill Lynch?
Merkel & Sarkozy
Angela Merkel & Nicholas Sarkozy
Pardon us for lumping together the leaders of Germany and France, but for the most part they’ve been joined at the hip in spearheading the preservation of the single currency and a united Europe.
That said, they are hardly in lockstep in approaching the issue, with Merkel leaning toward less and Sarkozy more. Together they have managed to pull off an odd “two steps forward, one step back” approach, averting catastrophe while prolonging the possibility of it.
NBA & NFL
NBA & NFL
This one is a twofer because both professional sports suffered player-management contract battles that affected play. The big difference is that the NFL managed to start its season on time while the NBA lost a dozen-plus regular-season games to a late start.
Thus, the choice may be who's the bigger loser than a strict winner/loser case. Of course, the NFL is more popular and profitable, but the idea of wealthy team owners and wealthy players fat on TV deals and exorbitant ticket prices fighting over money in the midst of a lousy economy may not strike some as a winning strategy. So which is the bigger loser?
The President long ago lost his Teflon exterior but still manages to cook at a high temperature without getting burned. Like Boehner, Obama has become a face of gridlock. His eloquence and grasp of the issues, as well as his political savvy, have been undercut by a steady unwillingness to compromise and an inability to lead a nation, rather than a party. But the president is still in the 2012 race.
Occupy Wall St.
Occupy Wall Street
What seemed like a quirky version of an Outward Bound program is now clearly a vocation for some of its troops. The group’s preoccupation with Wall Street, though powerful in the beginning, became as tired as a song with a repetitious ending. The group's December decision to occupy real homes took the message from the theoretical to the real, no doubt eliciting support from middle class Americans with something on the line. Occupy will need to start raising some serious money to keep the fight going.
Whither Mitt? A lot of people are asking that. The plain-vanilla candidate has yet to lead the GOP presidential polls. Though not the first choice, he may be the last and only choice for his divided party. The former governor and businessman may be the most moderate Republican presidential candidate since George H.W. Bush, who also got off to a slow start against a veteran congressional leader, Sen. Bob Dole.
The US Taxpayer
The Bush tax cuts could have expired and tens of millions of Americans would have paid higher taxes. The payroll tax cut was also a little sweetener for a dispirited electorate. Of course, taxpayers suffered through an ideological showdown over the debt ceiling and then a more meaningful one over a deficit reduction pact, whose absence has left them even more impoverished.
You would think there would be some sweet victory in watching the EU implode, having rejected membership in the single currency, but Britain has suffered enough on its own. Sovereign debt may no longer be an insurmountable mountain, but the austerity measures needed to tackle it have choked economic growth. The downturn of the financial and export sectors also have contributed to the U.K.’s doldrums.