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Slideshow: Apocalypse How? Dire ’12 Forecasts

By Ben Steverman - 2012-01-14T03:12:30Z

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Meredith Whitney

After correctly predicting Citigroup (C) would cut its dividend in 2008, Meredith Whitney, now chief executive officer of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group, told CBS's '60 Minutes' that municipalities would hit bond investors in 2011 with defaults totaling "hundreds of billions of dollars." Individual investors fled muni bond funds. Yet munis had a relatively good 2011, with defaults totaling $2.6 billion, according to Municipal Market Advisors. Whitney told Bloomberg Radio on Jan. 5 that she's still pessimistic: "Things are playing out in ways that I expected. I think that 2012 is worse than 2011, and 2013 could be worse than 2012."

(Left, Helena Kozlowski, widow of a retired Central Falls, Rhode Island, firefighter. The state-appointed receiver running the city asked retired police officers and firefighters to accept pension cuts to help avoid bankruptcy.)

Photograph by Stephan Savoia/AP