Predictions 2011

CNBC's Winners & Losers of 2010 Poll

As we embark on our second annual Winners & losers poll, we want to be clear in saying that by most measures 2010 had more winners than losers, and that’s a good thing after our debut year in 2009.

The goal here, however, is not to present clear-cut winners or losers, but those candidates that present tough choices, that could go either way.

We have only one returning candidate from 2009—Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Our most notable addition is President Obama, who in 2009 arguably failed our central litmus test, but is ripe for debate this year.

Our most notable departure this year is Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

As with last year, we have companies, concepts and entities along with people for consideration.

We’ll give you a week to vote and then report back with results and rankings Dec. 8. Click ahead.

American Dream: Going, Going Gone

American Dream (Homeowner, Taxpayer, Worker)

Take your pick. Finding the upside might be a stretch. The downside, or losing end, is a litany of woes: unemployment, home foreclosures, debts and deficits, taxes, political dysfunction, endless wars.

On the bright side, however, is a wake-up call of sorts, as well as a big slice of humble pie, for a spendthrift, materialistic, super-sized obsessed society that has rediscovered proportion, austerity, humility and savings.

Ben Bernanke: Ease To Please

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke,
Fed Chairman

The Fed Chairman has successfully advanced his agenda, while gaining clear control of the central bank. Bernanke has become a combination of the Shell Answer Man and the U.S. Cavalry for those frustrated and spooked by the performance of the economy. Whether it is suffering fools on Capitol Hill or delivering QE II, Bernanke has been there when needed. But in going where no Fed boss has gone before, he is ripe for second-guessing and potential defeat. He could wind up the big loser.

John Boehner: No Means Yes

John Boehner,
Republican Majority Leader

Boehner and company trounced the Democrats in the midterm, largely by saying, “No” for two years. That is an impressive win, especially for a guy who still smokes cigarettes in public and who couldn’t deliver his home state (Ohio) in the 2008 presidential election.

Boehner is something of the Mickey Rourke character in “Diner”, a rough-edged leader surrounded by quasi geeks, who are smarter than him, but not terribly charismatic. (One or two of them, however, may challenge him for the leadership down the road.)

Why could Boehner be a loser?  Leading a large Republican majority in the House with a Democrat president soon in re-election mode may be more a case of death hug than gridlock. The coming 112th Congress could be a lost one.

California Governor: Dream On