Jim Blasingame's 2018 Crystal Ball Predictions
Here are my 2018 predictions. My 18-year accuracy is 73%.
1. Remember this prediction I made in 2016? "Expect to hear more about blockchain technology, disconnected from Bitcoin." As a technology platform, blockchain stops being a novelty in 2018.
2. Multi-year prediction: Blockchain, and variations on the theme, will be the next Internet-class disruption, except it will be a much greater one. You've been warned.
3. Crypto-currency (Bitcoin is just one of many) is the money of the future, but the future isn't here yet. As long as there's high speculation in a currency - crypto or otherwise - it won't be a dependable, stable store of value (see Tulipomania).
4. You'll become increasingly aware of a new concept - digital ethics - as you discover that by using apps, games, social media, virtual/augmented reality, digital assistants, etc., you and your online behavior, are in fact, the product being sold.
5. One positive result of the above prediction will be your increased scrutiny of how Big Corporations employ digital leverage -artificial intelligence, Big Data, etc. - regarding manipulation, privacy and security.
6. Having shed almost all the anti-business policies - regulations, taxes, Obamacare - from the past administration, the U.S. economy will grow at over 3% GDP in 2018.
7. The NFIB Index will report continued small business growth and optimism for the second consecutive year.
8. Lower regulations and taxes will help small businesses achieve higher profitability, even in the face of this sector's perennial challenge: converting cost increases into higher prices.
9. Even with economic expansion, strong balance sheets will hold small business loan requests to a minimal increase - again.
10. The vacuum left by retreating legacy retailers from Main Street will result in a defining year for small retailers to use their "high-tech/high-touch special sauce" in defending against giant e-tailers, like Amazon.
11. Finding qualified employees will continue to be an impediment to growth for all businesses, and drive demand for artificial intelligence solutions, like self-driving trucks.
12. One relief value for the above prediction is older workers rejoining the workplace with newly-acquired 21st-century skills. Take another look at this group.
13. The number of small businesses for sale/sold in 2018 will increase, due to the convergence of a stronger economy and the aging of millions of Baby Boomer owners.
14. Disruptions to that great American franchise, homeownership, will be more in evidence due to a combination of new tax law elements and diverging shifts by Millennials and Baby Boomers.
15. One benefit of the new tax law: If an overdue and justified Wall Street correction happens, it won't be catastrophic.
16. Contrary to the hype, corporate America will not invest in the economy commensurate with the disproportionate tax cut they received.
17. Contrary to the hype, corporate America will not repatriate and invest offshore income commensurate with the disproportionate tax cut they received.
18. Corporate tax cuts will promote more industry consolidation, resulting in layoffs that dilute anticipated job creation at this level.
19. Wall Street will reinvent itself or become irrelevant in the face of increased digital trading, fewer IPOs, alternative capital sources like crowdfunding, crypto-currencies and the advent of blockchain relationships.
20. With inflation rising organically from a growing economy, the Fed will raise interest rates at least twice.
21. The continued status of the U.S. as an energy net exporter will significantly and positively influence the economy, geo-politics, the war on terrorism, even climate change.
22. The U.S. energy exporter status will offset price pressures from OPEC and Middle East tensions to hold crude oil's average below $60bbl for another year.
23. China's manipulation of its immature banking sector - like Japan 30 years ago - will be the greatest financial threat to the global economy.
24. President Trump and Congressional GOP will take another run at repealing and replacing whatever is left of Obamacare.
25. A stronger economy and lower regulations will increase the President's approval rating.
26. Trump will nominate one Supreme Court Justice in 2018.
27. We'll be more likely to experience a major cyber-attack than a physical terrorist event.
28. Trump will trade support of DACA for Democrat border wall votes. Trump will win this deal.
29. Democrats will be unsuccessful in making immigration a major 2018 campaign position.
30. Sanctuary cities and states will be the most dramatic challenge to President Trump's authority to-date. The Supreme Court will uphold the Constitution.
31. Unprecedented for a past president, Obama will aggressively campaign/agitate/finance Democrat candidates in the mid-terms.
32. For the first time in almost 30 years, the Clintons will see limited action in a campaign season.
33. There will be a showdown between the U.S. and North Korea - but not a war. China and Russia will become reluctant partners. The U.S. and the world will win.
34. If control of Congress changes hands in 2018 it will due to illness or scandal, not voters.
35. The 2018 College Football Championship: Bama in a squeaker for the ages.
Write this on a rock ... Join me on my 2018 theme: Finally, it's GREAT to be in business again. For the first time in a decade, we have the opportunity to enjoy a full year of economic growth.