I hope I am wrong, but I see another bubble, and I see it popping within the next few years.
On the good side, the banks are a lot stricter about real estate loans.
It also appears the banks are stricter about the credit card loans, but I could be wrong. As one poster mentioned, a lot of the people who were destroyed in the last bubble are now seeing the baddies come off their CRs. I think I might have one left for another month or two, but I have vastly better credit now than I did a year ago.
There are three things I see as signs of impending disaster, in ascending order.
3. The subprime auto loans. Discussed in this thread quite a bit.
2. Student loans. This has been discussed quite a bit in a lot of threads. This will, at some point, cause MAJOR problems in the US economy, which will cause major problems in the world economy, but it isn't the biggie YET. A few reforms could alleviate the student loan problem, but the current federal government seems to be anti-reform (executive and both parties of congress)
And, the biggie --
The China Real Estate Bubble.
To give perspective, consider what happened with the Japan Real Estate Bubble in the 1980s. When that crashed, it took down a lot of urban US real estate with it. I had a co-op in NYC that lost 50% of its value a year after I bought it. Oil prices went down, and condos in Houston lost 70-80% of their value. Houses were not hit nearly as hard, nor was "flyover country" hit very hard.
Some big vacation areas were hit even harder. Honolulu went into a slump that lasted over a decade. (Interesting, Honolulu tourism industry is even MORE Japan oriented now than it was then, but the outer islands are more Mainland US oriented, and have seen more growth.)
Stock market crashed. The famous Wall Street Charging Bull was put up as a way to encourage the country, which was then in a nasty bear market.
The Japanese stock market crashed, and I am not sure it ever completely recovered. The US export market probably saved the Japanese economy from complete destruction. The Japan boom never took off again, which is probably better for the regular working Japanese.
This was due to a crash in a market in a country with about half the population of the US.
Consider what effect the real estate bubble in China is having.
Chinese real estate prices are skyrocketing.
While the Japan real estate bubble strongly effected places like NY and LA and especially Honolulu with strong Japanese investment, look at where the Chinese have invested:
Singapore, to the point where Singapore is the most expensive city in the world. There are even massive real estate developments catering exclusively to Chinese nationals looking to move their assets overseas in the parts of Malaysia close to Singapore.
West Coast North America, esp. Vancouver. LA and SD have shot up as well. The SF Bay Area has had a real estate bubble far bigger than the one in 2008, due to the combination of rich Chinese parking their assets overseas and the various tech (biotech and internet, esp.) sectors rising.
New York and suburbs. London. Paris. Toronto. All the big cities in Australia.
At this point, the Chinese see the bubble about to burst, so they are putting restrictions on Chinese taking their money out of the country. They are worried about a bust of the Renminbi (Yuan). I think the idea is, if they restrict taking RMB out of China, then that money will have to be invested in Chinese real estate, which should keep the bubble from popping for another year or two if lucky, and in the meantime will soften the bubbles outside of China, perhaps popping a few (the bubble of Chinese investments in the part of Malaysia near Singapore may have already popped.)
The Chinese restrictions on moving RMB out of the country could be enough to cause a real estate crash in the cities I've mentioned, or maybe not. When the China RE bubble bursts, accompanied by the RMB restrictions, that could set up a worldwide depression that would make the 2008 Great Recession look like Sunday in the park.
It will be interesting to see what the traffic in Debtorboards will be like if that happens, as in the ancient Chinese curse, "may you live in interesting times".