Jim Blasingame reconciles his 2019 Predictions

Jim Blasingame

Allow me to reconcile my 2019 Predictions from a year ago – my 20th edition – with what happened. Up to now, I’m batting .733.

Small Business

Prediction: Small business confidence will again record levels above NFIB’s 45-year average.
Actual: NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism finishes well above the multi-decade average of 98 points: +1

Prediction: Millions of Baby Boomer business owners will be challenged in divesting to the next generation.
Actual: Research shows (Kaufman) and books have been written (“Boomer Bust”) about the unprecedented challenge of older owners selling to the next generations: +1

Prediction: Stronger financial conditions will help small businesses deal with economic headwinds.
Actual: The best indicator is how well the small business sector has weathered the global trade issues while supporting those strategies: +1

Prediction: For the 12th straight year, small businesses will eschew debt to fund growth.
Actual: NFIB Index reported small businesses continue using organic capital over bank loans: +1

Prediction: Small business appraisal of the 2017 TCJA tax bill will fall into the category of “a mixed bag.”
Actual: Tax cuts were welcomed, but they came with more complicated (read: expensive) tax compliance and an expiration date: +1

Prediction: The franchise industry will face continued challenges from attempts to connect local franchise employees to the franchisor.
Actual: California Supreme Court’s 2019 Dynamex ruling became a dangerous legal precedent for this troubling trend. Sadly: +1

Prediction: Trump’s regulatory reforms of the past two years will succumb to the reality of Congressional negotiations.
Actual: The all-encompassing impeachment process made reg reform difficult: +1

Prediction: Artificial intelligence (AI) will become increasingly available for small businesses, which will be slow to adopt.
Actual: Main Street AI tools continue to proliferate, but adoption exposes a small business deficiency: collecting customer information: +1, unfortunately.


Prediction: Lack of qualified employees will create an unprecedented economic headwind.
Actual: Part of the miss below is due to up to eight million unfilled jobs in the U.S., including 2 million in manufacturing: +1

Prediction: The U.S. economy will average above 2.5% GDP in 2019.
Actual: Q4 is unlikely to pull 2019 GDP above 2.35%. Soooo close: -1

Prediction: The Federal Reserve will raise rates at least once, a sign of a strong economy and inflation concerns.
Actual: The Fed cut rates THREE times. But their expanding balance sheet is an under-reported, 2008-type scenario: +1

Prediction: The global safe harbor of U.S. assets will contribute to preventing a major stock market correction.
Actual: Fed policies, the U.S economy, and King Dollar kept the party going: +1

Prediction: A slowing global economy will hold crude oil in a deflationary trend, averaging under $55/bbl.
Actual: The average was about $60. Didn’t account for Iran interference: -1

Prediction: China’s internal challenges will help Trump accomplish trade deal progress if not completion.
Actual: Can you say “Hong Kong” or “tariffs?” And the deal seems closer than ever: +1

Prediction: The U.S. will accrue unprecedented, multi-faceted benefits as an energy net-exporter.
Actual: This new leverage is foundational to our strong economy, trade leverage, and geopolitical clout: +1


Prediction: The ethical dearth in the tech industry will increasingly be associated with rising anxiety levels and societal dysfunction.
Actual: Big Tech practices and policies have never been under so much government and public scrutiny: +1

Prediction: For the first time, blockchain will be associated with job loss in some sectors.
Actual: Eventually, I’ll be right about this, but not in 2019: -1

Prediction: Amazon or Facebook will create their own cryptocurrency. 
Actual: In May 2019, Facebook and partners introduced the cryptocurrency Libra: +1

Long-term prediction: Corporate cryptocurrency will be the greatest threat to the sovereignty of countries.
Actual: This didn’t take long – the Libra caused all global central banks to scrutinize cryptocurrency proliferation: +1


Prediction: China will leverage its Pacific-rim interests more aggressively.
Actual: Two words – Hong Kong: +1

Prediction: World War III is being fought in cyberspace and the U.S. will be determined to be losing.
Actual: In asking many cyber-experts about this, all say this prediction is now a reality: +1


Prediction: The 84 million Gen Ys, aka Millennials (largest generation in U.S. history), will increasingly disrupt the rental vs ownership dynamic.
Actual: Follow single-family rental investment to see evidence of this shift causing disruption/opportunity on many levels: +1

Prediction: Younger generations will increasingly disrupt the allocation of and participation in education, civic groups, and religious organizations.
Actual: Research shows post-Baby Boomer generations congregate and assemble in ways that are disrupting legacy organizations: +1

Prediction: Millennials significantly impacted the 2016 midterm elections, but our next government leaders (federal, state, local) will be who this generation wants.
Actual: Segmentation of Millennials – often by gender – is increasingly relevant in 2020 polls: +1


Prediction: President Trump will nominate one Supreme Court Justice in 2019.
Actual: Justice Ginsberg may outlive Trump: -1

Prediction: Trump will be more of a deal-maker in 2019 than a Republican.
Actual: Name another president who would simultaneously hold China, the E.U., NATO, Iran, etc., to account for their behavior: +1

Prediction: Trump will maintain his devotion to MAGA even while being impeached.
Actual: Polls indicate his MAGA message continues to resonate, to the chagrin of the Dems: +1

Prediction: At least one Republican will announce a primary challenge to President Trump in 2020.
Actual: Still time – but not much: -1

Prediction: The poll-leading Democrat presidential candidate in December will be progressive and likely under 55.
Actual: I’m taking this one because 37-year-old Buttigieg is leading in Iowa: +1

Prediction: Pelosi’s House will not impeach President Trump.
Actual: Didn’t think she would make this political miscalculation: -1

Prediction: Mueller’s investigation will not damage Trump politically.
Actual: Nailed this one: +1

Prediction: In late 2019, Donald Trump will declare victory and announce he will not run for re-election. Actual: Underestimated the fun he’s having parrying with Pelosi: -1


Prediction: In the 2019 NCAA Championship Game, Alabama will defeat Clemson.
Actual: Damn!! Oughta take off two for this one: -1

Write this on a rock… My 20th set of predictions came in at 73% accurate, which, coincidentally, is my two-decade average. How’d you do?  Comments? jimb@jbsba.com

Jim Blasingame is the author of The 3rd Ingredient, the Journey of Analog Ethics into the World of Digital Fear and Greed.

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