Jim Blasingame's 2017 predictions reconciled

Jim Blasingame

1. The U.S. economy will expand at 3% GDP growth. Actual: 2.75% annual GDP. The last three quarters over 3% couldn't cover 1.2% in Q1.  -1

2. Eight years of record regulation growth will reverse in 2017. Actual: Trump's 2 for 1 regulatory order resulted in essentially no new regs in 2017 (CEI). +1

3. The NFIB Index will report small business optimism increasing for the first time in eight years. Actual: The Index set 44-year optimism records all year. +1

4. After eight years of deleveraging, small business profitability will increase.  Actual:  NFIB reports dramatic 2017 profits growth.  +1

5. For the first time in eight years, small business borrowing will increase.  Actual: Up, but only slightly (ICBA). +1

6. Business startup slide will reverse.  Actual:  Net new businesses were up, but only slightly (Kaufman). +1

7. Main Street retailers will benefit as retreating giants, like Sears and Macys, create a retail vacuum. Actual: All that, plus consumer confidence drove this shift (Wells Fargo). +1

8. Small business job creation will lag economic growth. Actual: Hiring was better, but did not track with GDP growth (NFIB).  +1.

9. The growing economy will not benefit those who lack 21st-century job skills. Actual: Businesses with unfilled jobs due to lack of qualified applicants grew again in 2017 (NFIB). +1

10. Small businesses will benefit from corporate America investing more in the Main Street economy.  Actual: See GDP growth for the last three quarters.  +1

11. The regulatory expense and short-term expectations will cause more growing businesses to "Stay private."  Actual:  IPO numbers haven't rebounded since 2014 (SEC). +1

12. Inflation will rise due to a growing economy - not Fed policy.  Actual: Inflation is up, but not enough to suit the Fed (Federal Reserve). +1

13. The Fed will raise interest rates at least twice in 2017. Actual: Three increases - this one was easy. Remember I was right in '14, '15 and '16 when it wasn't so easy. +1

14. Dow Jones will end year closer to 20,000 than 21,000.  Actual: Can you say, "Bubble"? Can you say "Mania"? Can you say, "Don't take investment advice from Blasingame"? -1

15. U.S. oil production will keep crude averaging below $60bbl. Actual: Averaged $55.04bbl.  +1

16. Although elected as a Republican, Trump is no party ideologue, and will prove equally frustrating for Republicans and Democrats. Actual: Remember, this was written before he took office.  +1

17. In getting rid of Obamacare, Trump will be frustrated by Democrats and Republicans. Actual: Again, written before he took office. +1

18. Obamacare repeal and replace will take longer than conservatives wish, possibly years. Actual:  Wish I'd missed this one. Alas... +1

19. Obamacare replacement will include market-based solutions (re: Enzi Bill, 2006), plus tax credits and no mandates.  Actual: The Enzi approach is almost exactly the model being used.  +1

20. Obamacare elements of guaranteed insurability and extended dependent coverage will be part of the replacement program. Actual: Both of these are in the proposals. +1

21. The smoothest issue Trump will have with Congressional GOP will be on tax reform.  Actual: They failed with healthcare, but will get tax reform.  +1

22. Democrats will play their perennial minimum-wage-increase card and Trump will trade it for something he wants. Actual: Didn't come up this year.  -1

23. President Trump will nominate two Supreme Court Justices in 2017. Actual: Only Gorsuch.  -1

24. Trump will manage Putin/Russia, but be greatly challenged by China.  Actual: Putin continues to run amuck.  -1

25. The most serious global economic threat will come from issues associated with China's government-controlled financial/banking system. Actual: This was a year early - standby. -1  

26. Trump will regard cyber-attacks as de facto acts of war. Actual: Cyber-security is in the National Defense Authorization. +1

27. By the end of 2017, very little, if any of the Mexican border "Wall" will have begun.  Actual: Mostly prototypes, so far. +1

28. Sanctuary cities will challenge President Trump.  Actual: Cities defeat Trump in court - for now. +1

29. The Trump administration will only deport undocumented criminals and stop refugee inflow. Actual:  Trump deportation lags Obama in both areas (Politico). +1

30. Criticism of U.S. financial support of the U.N. will grow. Actual: Hope springs eternal, if not accurately. -1

31. Italy will challenge the Euro Zone with its own threatened exit. Actual: Italy's rising populist, Northern League party threatened Brussels with its own Brexit (Politico). +1

32. In defense of his legacy, President Obama will not adopt the below-radar precedent of past presidents. Actual: Alas, another easy one. +1

33. Within two years, Barack Obama, and/or Hillary Clinton, will be proposed for a high-ranking U.N. position. Actual:  Just give it time.  Push, so far.

34. Senator Joe Manchin (D) from West Virginia, will become an (R). Actual:  My greatest surprise of the year.  -1

35. The Alabama defense will deliver the NCAA Division 1 title for The Tide, defeating Clemson in consecutive Championship Games.  Actual: My second greatest surprise of the year. -1

Write this on a rock ... My 2017 accuracy was 73.5% (25 of 34, one push), leaving my 18-year record unchanged at 73%. How'd you do?  Look for my 2018 predictions in three weeks.

Jim Blasingame is host of The Small Business Advocate Show and author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.

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