Here are my 2019 Predictions—my 20th set—by major category. Through 19 years, my record is 73.6% accuracy.
Prediction: Small business confidence will wane slightly, but still maintain record levels above the NFIB’s 45-year average.
Prediction: With research showing younger generations less entrepreneurial than Baby Boomers (Kauffman), millions of divesting business owners will have to be more creative than ever to maximize the value of their business.
Prediction: Stronger balance sheets and better financial management than any time in a half-century will help the small business sector weather a maturing expansion and contribute to a quicker recovery.
Prediction: For the 12th straight year, small businesses will continue to limit borrowed capital to fund growth. This is why higher interest rates, the kryptonite of Wall Street, is less of a Main Street threat.
Prediction: Unlike corporate America, small business appraisal of the TCJA tax bill of 2017 will fall in the tepid category of “a mixed bag.”
Prediction: First under assault from Obama’s NLRB, and now Democrats and the courts, the U.S. franchise industry will face its greatest challenge over the attempt to create a labor organizing nexus between the mothership franchisor and employees of the separately owned small business franchise. This is the sleeper issue for Main Street in 2019.
Prediction: Trump’s beneficial regulatory abatement of the past two years will succumb to the reality of having to negotiate deals with Congressional Democrats.
Prediction: Artificial intelligence (AI) leverage will become increasingly available from granular applications for small businesses, but they will be slow to adopt.
Prediction: The greatest fundamental economic growth headwind will continue to be a lack of qualified employees to help businesses seize new opportunities.
Prediction: The Federal Reserve will raise rates at least once, a sign of strong economic fundamentals and inflation concerns.
Prediction: For the first time in decades, wage increases—both organic and by government edict—will put pressure on inflation, causing the Fed to respond (see above, and Dec jobs report).
Prediction: The U.S. economy will average above 2.5% GDP in 2019. Perspective alert: We were proud of 3% when the economy was at $6 Trillion; 2019 GDP will be $21 Trillion.
Prediction: If there is a recession in 2019, it will be due more to a cascading of Wall Street’s toxic hysteria about the Fed, Brexit, trade wars, if Apple’s Tim Cook suffers a kidney stone or a possible attack by the planet Rhordan from the Andromeda Galaxy than from the underlying economic condition.
Prediction: U.S. stock markets achieved record levels, irrespective of economic fundamentals, and Mr. Gravity will lower them by the same metrics—whatever those are.
Prediction: The global safe-harbor of investing in U.S. assets will contribute to preventing a major stock market collapse, even if indexes descend into “bear” territory.
Prediction: Good news/bad news—a slowing global economy will hold crude oil in its deflationary trend, averaging under $55/bbl during 2019.
Prediction: China’s considerable internal challenges will help Trump accomplish significant trade deal progress if not completion.
Prediction: The U.S. will accrue unprecedented, multi-faceted benefits by becoming a net-exporter of energy products, from economic to monetary to trade to geopolitics.
Prediction: Sexy Digital Age offerings, known for speed, convenience, and capacity, are deficient in what has been innate in and essential to analog humans for 10,000 years: ethics and trust. This ethical dearth will increasingly be associated with rising anxiety levels and societal dysfunction.
Prediction: It will become increasingly apparent that when a global business, created and run by essentially marketplace juveniles, pops up in a few years with two-billion users, any product of such innovative genius, having been born in an ethical vacuum, will ultimately be judged as unnatural, vapid and possibly dangerous.
Prediction: For the first time, we’ll start hearing about sector job loss—certain classes of work—due to the application of blockchain-type technology.
Prediction: You’ll hear more about big tech platforms, Amazon and Facebook, for example, creating their own cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin, but not Bitcoin) for doing business within their ecosystem.
Long-term prediction: Corporate cryptocurrency will become the greatest long-term threat to the sovereignty of the modern state, for example, the United States, Great Britain, E.U., China, etc.
Prediction: China will leverage its Pacific-rim interests more aggressively, especially regarding Taiwan, in trade negotiations.
Prediction: Forget aircraft carriers, jet fighters and nuclear-tipped ICBMs—World War III, fought in cyberspace, is already underway, and the U.S. is losing. Badly.
Prediction: More than any generation in history, shifts caused by the 84 million Generation Y, aka Millennials (largest in U.S. history), will increasingly disrupt one of the main economic drivers, housing (rental and ownership).
Prediction: Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z (now K-12) will continue to disrupt the business models and resource allocation of public and private education, civic groups and religious organizations, especially Christian churches.
Prediction: Millennials significantly impacted 2016 midterm elections, but our next governments (federal, state, local) will be who this generation wants.
Prediction: President Trump will nominate one Supreme Court Justice in 2019, and the ensuing confirmation process will make Kavanaugh’s experience look like a kumbaya love-in.
Prediction: President Trump will be more of a deal-maker in 2019 than a Republican.
Prediction: President Trump will maintain his devotion to MAGA while cutting deals with the Democrats, even as they investigate him. Example: Trading DACA for border wall funding.
Prediction: At least one Republican will announce his challenge to President Trump in 2020.
Prediction: The Democrat presidential candidate leading in the polls in December will be among the more progressive, and likely under 55.
Prediction: Pelosi’s House will not impeach President Trump.
Prediction: The Senate and the FBI will follow up on an IG report on Hillary Clinton’s behavior, email practices, Clinton Foundation, etc., while Secretary of State. Neither she nor her husband will ever be held accountable.
Prediction: Mueller’s investigation will produce nothing politically damaging to President Trump.
Prediction: Due to his age (he’ll be 78 in 2024), and his ego (having survived grueling investigations, and likely more legacy class accomplishments behind him than in front), Donald Trump will declare victory and announce he will not run for re-election. This will happen late in 2019.
Prediction: In the January 7 NCAA Championship Game, Alabama will retain the title, going three-for-four (2106-19) against Clemson. It will be a game for the ages.
Write this on a rock ... I’ll be back in 360 days to recap my 20th set of predictions compared to what actually happened.
Jim Blasingame is the author of The 3rd Ingredient, the Journey of Analog Ethics into the World of Digital Fear and Greed.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of NASDAQ, Inc.