Here are my predictions for 2011.
Prediction: Small business optimism will improve in 2011, following recent record lows (based on 37 years of tracking by NFIB’s Dr. Bill Dunkelberg). This will result from less uncertainty about taxes, less anti-business rhetoric from Washington and an improving economy.
Prediction: For the first time since 2008, small businesses will report increased sales and profits for 2011.
Prediction: Small business recovery will not translate to significant job creation due to newly acquired aversion to adding permanent payroll expense, plus technologies that improve the conversion of capital to sales and profits.
Prediction: Stubborn structural unemployment will result in a national jobless rate above 8.5% at year-end.
Prediction: The U.S. economy will grow at a rate of over 3% GDP for 2011.
Prediction: As the global economy recovers, demand for commodities will rise, putting upward pressure on prices, especially petroleum. Budget – and/or hedge – accordingly.
Prediction: Global inflation will begin to manifest as an economic recovery headwind for markets and sovereign nations.
Prediction: The disconnection between what’s good for Wall Street and what’s good for the Main Street economy will become more evident than ever before.
Prediction: President Obama’s approval rating will improve by year-end - currently -2.3% (45.6% positive minus 47.9% negative).
Prediction: Congress’ performance approval with improve by year-end - currently -54.4% (19.6% positive, minus 74.0% negative).
Prediction: Vice President Joe Biden will announce his retirement from politics effective at the end of Obama’s first term.
Prediction: At once controversial and compelling, Newt Gingrich’s presidential candidacy will lead all Republican polls by year-end.
Prediction: A better power-broker than viable candidate, Sarah Palin will not run for president.
Prediction: As sunlight is shined on the financial and regulatory realities of “Obama-Care,” it will transmogrify from President Obama’s greatest policy accomplishment to a political albatross.
Prediction: Auburn will embarrass Oregon in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game on January 10.
We continue to live the Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”